By: Peter Marcus  | 

Reagan’s America: Is it Really What We Want? (Vol. 50, Issue 2)

I bet many of you are going to vote for Ronald Reagan. And why not? According to the latest polls, a majority of college age Americans are going to vote for Reagan. Some of these people polled even said they were planning to register under the Republican party. The reason for all this Reagan-Republican enthusiasm is very simple: Ronald Reagan. Most of us like the President. He somehow represents a grandfather image that we all identify with; a man that is strong, caring, and believes that our future is very bright. 

There are two things I would like you to do before you go out and vote this November 6th. One, remember that when you vote for Ronald Reagan you are also voting for the Republican party; the party of Jesse Helms and Jerry Falwell (not exactly my idea of a grandfather image). And two, remember that when you look at Ronald Reagan the, ‘‘nice guy’’, you must also take a look at Ronald Reagan “the politician.” If you can do this you might see, as others have, what another Reagan presidency might mean to our country’s future.

Here is the picture of America that the Republican party, Jesse Helms, Jerry Falwell, and Ronald Reagan would like to see: an America that you and I have to live in. It is an America where young school children pray in public schools. It is an America where politicians must affirm their faith in Jesus and be against anything that goes against the Moral Majority’s narrowly confined definition of what is moral. 

Picture an America where the wall that separates church and state no longer exists. Picture an America where Supreme Court Justices must pass religious moral tests written by Jerry Falwell; where private decisions, once protected by our constitution, are no longer made by the individual, but legislated by the state. Where a woman who is raped must ask permission from legislators or judges before she can have an abortion. And most disturbing, picture an America where minority groups, and that includes the Jewish community, will find themselves discriminated against because they are different. (You say it can’t happen. Read about the new censorship laws being supported in many cities across the country; the Moral Majority’s influence in the White House; and the racist tactics used by Senator Jesse Helms in his campaign against Governor Jim Hunt (the only thing Helms has not done is accuse Jim Hunt’s mother of being Jewish.).

This election goes far beyond the issues that concern our economy: the massive deficit that must be dealt with; the unfair budget cuts that hurt the elderly and poor in our society; the unfair tax cuts that benefited the rich and allowed thousands of multi-million dollar corporations from paying any taxes. It goes beyond our crumbling relationship with the Soviet Union; the President's flippant remarks about nuclear war; the development of nuclear arms in space; and our role in Central America: assasinations, mining of ports and breaking international law.

What this election will decide is the direction of our society. Before you vote on November sixth, please ask yourself one question: what kind of America do I want for myself and my children? Then read the goals of the Republican and Democratic parties as put forth in their platforms.

For the future of our country and our role in it as Jewish Americans the only choice is Walter Mondale. We have always identified with the goals of the Democratic party. It is our responsibility to our kids to make sure that the Democratic party is kept strong. Remember, we are the next generations of Democrats. We must not be taken in with Ronald Reagan the “nice guy”, but remember that Reagan is also Reagan “‘the politician” a politican whose brand of politics is very dangerous to us all.