To those of us who cut our teeth on the protest movements of the 1960s, the Vietnam War was a dividing line. Now it is always Before Vietnam and After Vietnam. In those days there were two superpowers, and anyone who did not like what was happening at home could look to the other side for inspiration.

Unfortunately, the United States was siding with all the wrong people in the world — the apartheid regime in South Africa, colonial powers of Europe and a racist government in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). Those who wanted a better world could not get necessary support, so they thought the Soviets were their natural ally. And this kind of thinking was helpful in building the image of the Soviet system.

We had no idea how bankrupt the system was until it collapsed under its own weight. By then a lot of countries had fallen in love with the Soviet system. Many of its features, such as the five-year plan, socialism and workers’ collectives, were in vogue. Hoping for salvation, many countries were actually practicing them. When the Soviet system collapsed, it created a helpless situation all around and there was nothing to fall back on. Americans remained the only superpower standing. So every country had to adjust its relationship with the lonely superpower.

Ronald Reagan, the architect of the breakup of the Soviet system, was an unapologetic supporter of capitalism and democracy. In an unorthodox way, he challenged bureaucracy and involved more private contractors in performing public good. It nurtured a new mindset where making money by any means was OK. At the same time, he also had a deep feeling for those who needed help. Although Reagan and Clinton differed in solutions, their attitude toward the poor was the same. They wanted to help them and lift them upward. Their own background helped them. The conservative capitalism of the Bush era was the direct descendant of a mindset developed by Reagan and Clinton.

Over a period of 28 years — from the beginning of the Reagan presidency to the end of the George W. Bush administration — the government at any level was seen as an institution to help people. There was plenty of criticism of the bureaucracy, but it was respected as an institution. Barack Obama used bureaucracy to advance certain goals he thought were in the best interest of most people. Gun control, universal health care, and controlling pollution were some of the things that was supposed to help Americans. But many did not see it that way. Sen. Mitch McConnell made it clear that it was the Republicans’ job to make Obama a one-term president. When that did not happen, the level of anger rose higher and spread everywhere.

In 2016, while Hillary Clinton was running for president, Donald Trump was running to win the presidency. And he won with questionable help from outside. Because he did it then and got away with it, he could do it again. For that, he is being impeached. Regardless of what happens in the end, the country has to deal with some strange behavior that has taken root in the public arena. You can’t tell children not to lie, because the president does it all the time. Nepotism is no longer taboo, thanks to Jared and Ivanka in the White House. Religious groups whose job it is to keep the country’s morality upright are split in the middle over the behavior of the president. Providing help to those who need it in Puerto Rico or Haiti is meaningless. There is no place for sacrifice or altruism. Everything is transactional. There are many other devaluations of American values. Whether they are dangerous or sad, I do not know. But they are there and we have to deal with them, whether Trump stays or goes.

Anadi Naik writes from Frederick.

(29) comments

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
prg45fan

PREACH IT PHY! PREACH IT!

Comment deleted.
DickD

Would you show where he admits to being a Soviet COMMUNIST sympathizer? I ask because I went back and reread it and could not find what you charge him with.

DickD

There is plenty of evidence that Trump and those around him contacted Ukraine to put blame on Biden for corruption. The evidence shows records, testimony and corroborative evidence. Yet, Republicans parrot Trump, hoping he will help them get re-elected. What is more likely to happen is the evidence will be so clear that many of them will not get re-elected, even though they win their primaries. It is the cost of being closely linked to Trump, a known Mafia gangster.

jsklinelga

DickD

That is exactly what people who supported Trump wanted. Drain the swamp. How is that a crime. The amazing thing is is your twist of words. Typical. Put blame om Biden? Biden's ethics are questionable enough for blame. Just as Trump said in the call..

awteam2000

Trump seems to be a “swamp magnet”. Everyone around him is corrupt and wanna be thugs, includes his family.

DickD

And you should read the book; "Running Against the Devil: A Plot to Save America from Trump--And Democrats from Themselve"s by Rick Wilson The longtime Republican strategist and #1 New York Times best selling author of Everything Trump Touches Dies is back with a guidebook for beating Trump's tricks, traps, and Twitter feed in 2020. 

johnrooney

It appears that Mr. Naik may be in a time/politic warp! My guess is that he was also a big supporter of George McGovern and Jimmy Carter, and misses those great days of sitting in gas lines to buy $2 worth of gasoline on either an even or odd day!

threecents

And I'm guessing you supported the cigarette manufacturer CEOs who testified in 1994 that nicotine is not addictive.

Obadiah Plainsmen

However bad you think it is in America you still have the freedom to make a choice. You can vote and if you think that the voting is "rigged" then you can leave. To the country suspected for influencing the election may be your preferred relocation spot.

Piedmontgardener

This is a strange, but interesting LTE for the close. Yes, we've come dangerously close to a society that is completely transactional. Trump is but a symptom of that mindset. And thanks to the misuse of propaganda tools in a similar transactional manner government by and for the people has become something to denigration as a "bureaucracy" or its new term "deep state".

Comment deleted.
jsklinelga

fnpzwack

"You are not qualified to speak on American values, Anadi." I find that statement potentially problematic. Curious what would give you more rights to speak on American values? But that being said his logic, conjectures and assertions seem to be a bit out in left field. It can be argued that President Trump has done more for the poor than the President's named. You know: Feed a man a fish, feed him for a day. Give a man the opportunity to work and buy a fishing pole, have money for a licence. have money for a car to drive to the fishing spot and you have helped feed him day in and day out.

prg45fan

Quite obvious that the writer has such a bad case of TDS that delusion has gotten a firm grip on the head. Trump has broken a lot of people.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Engage ideas. This forum is for the exchange of ideas, insights and experiences, not personal attacks. Ad hominem criticisms are not allowed. Focus on ideas instead.
TURN OFF CAPS LOCK.
Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
No trolls. Off-topic comments and comments that bait others are not allowed.
No spamming. This is not the place to sell miracle cures.
Say it once. No repeat or repetitive posts, please.
Help us. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.