Henry Wallace Could Have Been Speaking of the Koch Brothers

HenryWallace-MAINMany Americans have never  heard of Henry Wallace.  But he deserves to be remembered.  He was like Jefferson in that he respected the agrarian way of life and had faith in the power and destiny of the common man.

He was Secretary of Agriculture in the  darkest days of the Great  Depression. Few at the time  knew more about the science and art of agriculture..

Roosevelt picked him to run with him  for a third term.  It wasn’t a popular choice.  Big Business and Big Banks found Wallace’s socialism as odious as that of Roosevelt,  whom they called a ‘traitor to his class’.

Wallace was, in one historian’s words, an “unreconstructed liberal reformer and a New Dealer”.  Which meant he supported programs like Social Security, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, the Federal Housing Authority, the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Works Progress Administration.  The latter two created public jobs for millions of unemployed people left adrift after the 1929 Stock Market Crash.

FDR didn’t live to see the offspring of the New Deal.  When Wallace died in November of 1965, our social safety net had expanded to include Medicare and Medicaid. And President Johnson signed into law on August 6, 1965 the Voting Rights Act.  On his deathbed, Wallace must have felt that his life’s work had not been in vain.

But today the legacies of the New Deal and the Great Society are under attack.  The  gap between the rich and the poor has never been wider.   Economic Royalists are again pursuing absolute power to the detriment of our democracy. Corporations are people and money speech. Voting is being suppressed.  And walls, concrete and abstract,  are being raised to keep out immigrants.  What FDR said in 1936 is becoming all too true today:

 “For too many of us the political equality we once had won was meaningless in the face of economic inequality. A small group had concentrated into their own hands an almost complete control over other people’s property, other people’s money, other people’s labor – other people’s lives. For too many of us life was no longer free; liberty no longer real; men could no longer follow the pursuit of happiness.”

Henry Wallace saw this coming.  Before it’s  too late, I earnestly  hope that  We the People  will listen  to what he had to say.



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  • Did he have any use for Joe Kennedy, who basically was the only one who cleaned up during the Depression? Apparently Wallace outlived JFK.

    Also, I don't see anyone moving to repeal Social Security and Medicare in the past 35 or so years. Clinton did repeal AFDC.

  • Hmmm. So this is the day if the week that Progressives are worried about the Constitution. Sometimes the ends justify the means in this gin joint and sometimes they don't.

    I'm sure the Koch brothers are selfish capitalists, but I do find it disturbing how often I find them the only power brokers championing some of the issues I care about.

    In similar news, it appears the Aids virus has been leading to new cancer cures, give it a Google.

  • In reply to 4zen:

    Googling it, it isn't as simple as "some leukemia patient was injected with AIDS" but somehow the immune system got reinforced T cells. this description is certainly beyond me.

    However, the connection did strike me, as I knew someone who was an oncologist and became the leading AIDS doctor in SF in the 1980s. There are also various theories on treating cancer, from beefing up the immune system to starving the blood flow to the tumor.

  • Thank you, AW, for a thoughtful and eloquent post.

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