LBJ's Great Society: 40 Years Later
1964 was a very busy year for Lyndon Johnson. First he rammed through Congress the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, giving him war powers in Vietnam. Next he signed into Law the now famous or infamous, depending on ones political slant, Civil Rights Act. He called this ambitious undertaking his "Guns and Butter" program. The first part of this equation to go sour was the war effort. Johnson treated the war like a political problem that he could solve by twisting the arms of Ho and Giap the same way he had got things done in the Senate for so many years. When this strategy failed to produce results he next tried to micro-manage the war from the Oval Office as if it were a giant chess game with our troops as the pawns. He went so far as to select bombing targets and to turn missions on and off like a switch with a carrot-on-a-stick approach to entice Ho to the peace table. Meanwhile on the home front, with his Great Society and War on Poverty programs, he was socially engineering our country into a welfare state while funding a military adventure overseas. When asked by a reporter if it was fiscally prudent to fund a war effort and his social programs at the same time he replied, "Heck yeah man, we're rich".
When Cronkite abandoned him on National TV, as he strolled through the ancient city of Hue with his battle helmet and somber intonations that we were mired in a quagmire and that it was time to seek peace, (code word for surrender), with honor, Johnson folded up like a wet tissue, tucked his tail between his legs, and slinked off back to his ranch in Texas.
As bad as his failure in Vietnam proved to be, the results of his Great Society Programs were far more insidious, deadly and injurious to our Nation's psyche. The mammoth social welfare entitlement programs that streamed out of Washington did more damage to the fabric of our society than any number of Vietnams could have done. The irony is, that the segment of our society that it meant to help, was the one that was most grievously harmed. Of all those who fell victim to the welfare mentality, none suffered more than the black communities.
In the fifties, although blacks were still struggling for equal oppertunities and were on the low end of the economic ladder, the black family was for the most part strong and stable. Two parent families were the rule, not the exception. They attended church together, had strong moral values, and did not comprise a majority of the prison population. Compare that to the present state of the black community after 40 years of Liberal Socialism. Our prisons are disproportionably black, unwed mothers and single parent families are the rule, black youths without a strong male role model other than rap stars and basketball players, roam the streets and are drawn into a culture of drugs and crime.
The following statistics are provided by Star Parker's Coalition of Urban Renewal, (CURE).
*60 percent of black children grow up in fatherless homes.
*800,000 black men are in jail or prison.
*70 percent of black babies are born to unwed mothers.
*Over 300,000 black babies are aborted annually.
*50 percent of new AIDS cases are in the black community.
*Almost half of young black men in America's cities are neither working nor in school. What we have here is a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.
What was the message of the social programs that came out of LBJ's Great Society? One of the most devestating to the family was that if an unwed woman became pregnant, moved out of the home of her parents, did not name or know who the father was, then Big Daddy in Washington would provide for all her essential needs. Ergo she no longer needed a husband or the support of her family. In fact, the more children she had out of wedlock, the more money she would receive from the government. This program was the death knell for many families, especially in the black community. Unfortunately many black men saw this as the best of all possible worlds. They could father as many children as they wanted, from multiple women, without ever having to accept the responsibility of fatherhood. Many women rejected marriage in favor of a boyfriend who could slip in the back door and not jeopardize her government check. In this dysfunctional culture why would education be important? Why seek an education only to have to compete for a good job in the market place when they could just hang around the neighborhood and have all of life's amenities? In fact studying and getting good grades, for many blacks, became a social stigma. They were called "Uncle Toms" and accused of trying to act "white". Many blacks who had the potential to succeed gave in to this pressure and opted for failure. After all they had the perfect excuse. Did not the NAACP and race hustlers like Jesse Jackson tell them that it was not their fault? That they were just innocent "victims" of white racism?
This is the legacy of LBJ's Great Society.....compassion