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The only surprising thing about seeing a retro campaign shirt for Reagan/Bush in an outdoor supply store in 2017 is that a Democrat wasn’t equally represented in the store’s apparel selection. Where was the retro Clinton/Gore or Carter/Mondale poly-cotton, blended, tagless, light-weight, vintage-styled tee? I honestly do not mind seeing the shirt for sale, but it does strike me as odd that a business would not be mindful as to represent the political counterpart in shirt form so that potential non-Republican customers would be included. Immediately I’m informed about the political leanings of the store’s owner and I am far less likely to shop there again.

I ask my wife why? Why has the ghost of Reagan been romanticized so much? Was it just Reagan’s grandfatherly persona or his reassuring delivery? Will he not be remembered for his part in escalating the nuclear arms race with the USSR or for the Iran Contra Affair? Was it trickle down Reaganomics? Was it his war on labor and union busting that led no employer to feel any obligation to their employees?

True, Clinton and Carter have had legacy problems. President Obama will as well. Every president has and will, but I don’t romanticize those issues. Bill Clinton’s legacy is waning due to his post presidency persona, but the economic boom during his presidency was unparalleled. While Carter may still be remembered for his weak economic disposition, he was the only president to successfully negotiate peace between Israel and Egypt. His post-presidency will certainly be met with respect due to his tireless humanitarian work through Habitat for Humanity and The Carter Center.

Why are unions, to this day, viewed entirely as un-American entities? Thanks to unions we have a 40 hour work week, weekends and child labor laws. Of course unions can have problems, but what they truly have given us is collective bargaining.

As a middle school student, I remember my father was constantly worried about losing his factory job in textiles. He was never given a raise and always said the the only thing that “trickled down” was the piss from the politician’s legs. Crude, but relatable. A union would have benefitted the employees of his company.

Since the fall of unions, income equality has increased and the middle class has decreased. There is a direct correlation. Even Reagan was twice elected as the president of Hollywood’s largest acting union, The Screen Actor’s Guild. Reagan was a former actor who had played in no less than seven westerns. Maybe the love given to Reagan was for the swagger seen on the silver screen, like other populist candidates, they are relatable as personas and not real politicians.

The same week as the visit to the outfitter, I picked up a copy of the DC animated movie, Justice League: A New Frontier, from my local library. It’s a 2008 interpretation of Darwyn Cooke’s graphic novel of the same name. I had been revisiting the work of Cooke, as he died last year from cancer at age 53. I quickly reread the collected edition of his series and once again was in awe. The New Frontier, I had forgotten that the term had been used by newly elected president John F. Kennedy during his acceptance speech in 1960. The story in the comic series takes the viewer on an adventure over two decades and ends in 1960 with the formation of the Justice League on the last full-page panel. It’s symbolic and powerful.

Diving in a little deeper, I learned that in early comic history, the heroes lived in their own separate worlds. Stories did not intertwine. There wasn’t a shared universe that one might see today in many of the blockbuster hero films. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman live separately and never have the opportunity to exchange a glance, a quip, or to aide each other in the defeat of a villain. Each was emblematic of mythic story telling where the hero was fighting by themselves against the evils of the world, as seen in classic literature like Beowulf and Odysseus. Superman was the savior from another world. Batman had no Robin, and Wonder Woman was the single Amazonian who had left home. The single hero against all odds was even seen in modern storytelling like the Westerns that helped Reagan become a well known name.

During WWII, comics became increasingly popular, not only with children, but with servicemen. The men and women of our nation joined together to fight a common cause, Facism. It was not the journey of a solitary warrior and with that, the comic stories followed suit. To the amazement of readers, their favorite characters now inhabited the same universe. Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman all worked together. We’ve gone from the singularity of Beowulf to the collective efforts of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table to every reader’s delight.

Author Salman Rushdie is quoted as saying that he knew how great America was by the inclusiveness of the characters seen in the Justice League comics he read as a child. As long as you were good hearted, you could be a member of the Justice League, too.

Here is where it comes full circle. Former DC Comics writer and editor, Mike Friedrich, said:

“My [current] job is a labor organizer. I talk to people about how they can achieve more by working collectively than they can do as individuals. And I learned that by reading and writing the Justice League.”

It is my opinion that Reagan’s eventual legacy will be seen as mixed, and he will ultimately be remembered for quotes like, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” It evokes leadership. It evokes power. It also conjure the image of singularity and unilateral action, much like the cowboy characters that he portrayed. Little reverence is given to Mikhail Gorbachev’s role in the dismantling of the USSR by the general public. Reagan would not have been successful without his Soviet counterpart.

What the leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties need to do now is remind the American people that we can work together to avoid being trampled upon. We need to make sure that those fears are allayed so that the people of our country are not comforted by an authoritarian bully. Years from now I would rather not hear another country’s leader telling us to tear down the wall that we have built.

If you’ll watch this video, you’ll understand more about politics in America — and the South — than most people you know. Learn how the Republican Party was used to turn bigotry into a hatred of our own government.

Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County

Are you ready for the collapse of the Republican Party? The Republicans dominate Georgia politics — especially in a county like Pike County. Have you thought about what that means for Pike County (and Georgia) when the Republican Party falls apart? You do know it is falling apart don’t you? Don’t take my word for it. Watch this clip from Rachel Maddow.

If you believe in your conservative friends that have told you not to believe anything Rachel Maddow says, then take a look at this clip from Fareed Zakaria. I’ve encouraged you to listen to him in the past as a way to check our biases — to make sure we’re not just hearing what we want to hear. And he acknowledges this role in the beginning of this segment with this statement:

“I’ve sometimes been described as a centrist. And I freely admit to believing that neither side of the political spectrum has a monopoly on wisdom or virtue. 

But sometimes, reality points firmly in one direction. Watching the machinations in Washington over the past two weeks, it is now impossible to talk about how both political parties are to blame for the country’s gridlock.”

Watch the clip and listen as he squarely puts the blame for gridlock in Congress on the Republican Party.

The Republican Party is falling apart on issue after issue. The economy refuses to recover despite their insistence on taking care of the “job creators”. In short, the “job creators”… haven’t. They sit on piles of cash while Americans remain unemployed. Despite the end-of-the-civilized-world-as-we-know-it rhetoric Republicans use to describe the Affordable Care Act (it’s okay to call it Obamacare: I actually encourage it) more and more Americans that were without healthcare are getting signed up. As the Rachel Maddow segment showed, the issue of the debt ceiling which Republicans bayed at the moon about just 5 short months ago — remember, they shut down the government over it — just passed into law without a squeak. If it hadn’t been for Senator Crazy…I mean Cruz…ripping off their fig leaf, they could continue to bluster that it’s just the Democrats. But the truth is that the Republicans picked another losing position on another issue.

Just as they have picked a losing position on the immigration issue. And as the Fareed Zakaria clip from above points out, the only thing they are left with is obstructionism. If President Obama is for it, they are against it. And that is all they have to cling to because their Party is in the midst of a civil war.

The Democratic Party of Pike County is preparing for the future. We hope to do our part in helping Georgia “turn Blue”. We’re exploring ideas on how to make our government work for the citizens of Pike County: How to get the roads paved, educate our kids and build a sound economy for all. The Republican Party has proven it can break our government and leave the country gridlocked. We are looking forward to the opportunity to fix it and move forward. We would welcome your help and input. Come join us.

Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Georgia
February 18, 2014

With the demise of trivia night, Pike County Democrats have been searching for a new social time together. We’ve decided to have a “movie night”. The folks at “A Novel Experience” bookstore have kindly agreed to let us hold it at their store. We plan to hold one on the second Friday of every month.

We hope you’ll join us, this Friday — December 13th. The movie will start at about 7:30 PM. We plan to have a movie each month with a political theme to promote a discussion among the attendees. This month will be “All the President’s Men” — a movie about the Watergate scandal and President Nixon. We hope you’ll join us. We’ll supply popcorn and soft drinks.

We specifically picked Friday night hoping to attract some young people. As they all know, there’s “nothing to do” on Friday nights in Zebulon. Well, now there is. Come join us. We’ll have fun. And you can’t beat the price (free). Friday night at “A Novel Experience”, on the square in Zebulon. See you at 7:30.

Don Brown — Chairman
The Democratic Party of Pike County
December 10, 2013