Saturday, January 08, 2011

Pop History Moment: LBJ Declares "War on Poverty"

You see, this is what Presidents did in the olden days, kids... They declared a War on Poverty, rather than on the poor, like certain redneck throwbacks I could mention but won't whose father was also President.

PhotobucketIn his State of the Union address on this day in 1964, US President Lyndon Baines Johnson continued to further the agenda set by his predecessor John F. Kennedy, using his substantial powers as a bully for good, rather than declaring an illegal war in a foreign country based on a lie and some specious intelligence... Er, uh... Ha ha ha...

A n y w a y... Instead of that other war, which has become his legacy, LBJ wanted the War on Poverty to continue the work set in motion by the New Deal of another of his great predecessors, Franklin Delano Roosevelt in that other great State of the Union address of January 1941, the Four Freedoms, to which LBJ had been witness as a Representative of Texas' 10th District.

'Because it is right, because it is wise, and because, for the first time in our history, it is possible to conquer poverty...' he intoned, introducing legislation creating the Office of Economic Opportunity, which intervened during a boom economy to give everyone a share of the wealth, not just those who were already wealthy. Nearly 45 years later, it remains to be seen in a War on Poverty can, in fact, be won; but the nobility of the thing was in the attempt, in the desire to make it so, which gave the War on Poverty a moral victory at least.
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5 comments:

Seumas Gagne said...

Hear hear.

Seumas Gagne said...

Hear hear.

michael sean morris said...

There there...

Wynn Bexton said...

Right on, Bro'

michael sean morris said...

I'm not a huge fan of LBJ's but he had his good side, and that's the difference between now and then. Today a villain is a villain all the way through in every aspect of their lives, but then it was possible to like a guy who was a bit of a prick.

Plus, LBJ used his prickiness to a good end, often; without him I doubt much of this progressive legislation would have been passed.

LBJ was so progressive he more or less forced Nixon to do the same; most environmental legislation in the US was passed by the Nixon Administration - further proof that it was then possible to occasionally admire a real prick, since Nixon made LBJ look like a nun.