A bridge to the past to move forward

This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.”

Such was a characteristic bloviation from the father of modern American political windbaggery, Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Nevertheless, he sure had his way with a quote – and with a policy pen.

As the American people struggled to crawl out of the Great Depression of the early 1930s – unconscionably engineered by the titans of international banking and finance – newly elected President Roosevelt argued that a federally controlled restructuring of the economy was necessary to increase the workforce and restimulate demand in manufacturing and other market sectors.

Enter Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” a giant wave of Neo-Socialist legislation that provided the famous three Rs – relief, reform and recovery – to the economy as well as the American people.

More than two dozen “alphabet agencies” were created, including the Social Security Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission – the only two surviving legacies of Roosevelt’s brief but fruitful fling with progressive thinking.

Yet, in retrospect, the program that captured the public’s imagination at the time was also, unsurprisingly, the one that helped them out the most.

The Works Progress Administration was authorized in 1935 to provide millions of jobs to unemployed Americans to build America’s infrastructure, from highways and bridges to libraries and airports.

The WPA funded and constructed the very arteries of American transportation and travel – a system that is literally crumbling under our feet today.

What we need, is a New New Deal – the re-establishment of a civilian corps of young and old to rebuild our nation, brick by brick.

We could start with the displaced labor pool that has been priced out by the decline of U.S. manufacturing and industry, and eventually train the two million-strong prison population to pay their debt to society side by side on the front lines.

But, as my friend and former Minneapolis mayoral candidate (Green Party) Farheen Hakeem told me, “It makes too much sense.”

And so, on we march, toward our own sad and premature rendezvous with destiny. It’s nothing but a Bad Deal, and we know it. Let’s first build a bridge to reality, and then we can work on the other ones.

Adri Mehra is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected].