Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Midterm Elections 2010:
Time of Reckoning, Not Mourning
By Ben Tanosborn
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, October 6, 2010
With less than a month left, it’s beginning to look as this midterm
election will have less to do with which of the two parties is at fault for
the state of the nation, or which party offers a better plan to come out of
this economic mess… and everything to do with just one thing: voters’ anger.
And that never augurs well for those who presently hold the country’s
political power, no matter the length of time they’ve been holding the
And as the campaign enters its last leg, it was bound
to happen! A group of grass-roots conservatives has reenacted the
classic television ad which helped Ronald Reagan get reelected in1984:
“Morning in America.” By adding a vowel (u) to that title, “Mourning in
America,” this group, Citizens for the Republic hopes to conjure a
mirror-image of this nation which will aid Republicans capture majorities in
both houses of Congress.
It all started less than a generation ago
as Americans in their political un-wisdom decided to cast Ronald Reagan in
his greatest acting role: that of president of the United States; a pivotal
moment that would change the social and economic status of most Americans…
for the worse.
That was the beginning of a period, the Reagan era,
in which “Greed is good” became de facto the banner for America (1980s); a
period of idolatry for the capitalist ethic and reckless uber-patriotism,
something which continued on with two Republican father-son presidents, the
Bushes; and a Republican-lite make-believe Democrat, Bill Clinton. Now we
scratch our heads and ask each other, incredulously, just where we went
As the country underwent a slow, painful recuperation from
one of those recurring and necessary – we are told – capitalist recessions
(1980-1982), Reagan’s first term was about to expire. And it was
during the 1984 presidential campaign that the president’s political
marketers came up with a television commercial gem that won accolades in
advertising and political circles: a true classic that we refer to as
“Morning in America.” [Its original title: “Prouder, Stronger, Better.”]
Morning in America… I still remember the soothing voice of the narrator
– and creator – Hal Riney saying, “it’s morning again in America.
Today more men and women will go to work than ever before in our country’s
history. With interest rates at about half the record highs of 1980,
nearly 2,000 families today will buy new homes, more than at any time in the
past four years. This afternoon 6,500 young men and women will be
married, and with inflation at less than half of what it was just four years
ago, they can look forward with confidence to the future. It’s morning
again in America, and under the leadership of President Reagan, our country
is prouder and stronger and better. Why would we ever want to return
to where we were less than four short years ago?” That message calmly
delivered, while images of Americans merrily going to work were seen on the
In contrast, the message in 2010 is pessimistic
and derogatory as the narrator states, “There is mourning in America.
Under the leadership of President Obama, our country is fading and weaker
and worse off. His policies were a grand experiment, policies that
failed. This November, let’s choose a smaller, more caring government,
one that remembers us.” And, of course, the blame is quantified by the
number of men and women without the opportunity to go to work (15 million);
or foreclosures by nightfall (2,900 a day), or the burden placed on children
born and their share of the big runaway national debt ($30,000 each).
Morning in America was a façade that in 1984 represented sunny unrealities
of America taking credit and pride where not necessarily due, such as
victory in the 1984 Olympics, where major competition was absent – Soviet
Union, Eastern Europe, Cuba – or for the Soviet Union starting to crumble.
It was the start of a material culture being thrust upon us with economic
lies and masked deceit. Even Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”
song was clamored by the Conservative Right in exalted star-spangled
imagery, while anti-war and social criticism lyrics of what was happening in
the nation were bypassed. It’s the chorus that counts… Born in the
USA! And, with that poisoned mentality, much of America accepted
Reagan, Reaganomics and the economic spoliation by the rich.
Nothing like turning the tables, do some political prestidigitation
– lying by not stating the entire truth – so that Reagan is remembered as a
hero, while Obama becomes the goat du jour. But the truth, the real
truth as to where we are, and how we came to be here is one that should make
Ronald Reagan a villain – to 80 percent of the population, not the elite or
sub-elite – and reserve judgment on a yet unproven quantity: our president
and promiser of change, Barack Obama.
Today is not so much a day of
mourning, but rather a day of reckoning… acknowledging how the ideological
Extreme Right has been instrumental in destroying the American way of life,
which at one time – prior to Reagan’s implementation of voodoo economics,
and the unchecked globalization which was beginning to take place – had been
for the most part a reality… and not just a dream.