Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

By Steve Hansen

Look forward to make U.S. better


June 28, 2017

It will never be 1962 again, but there are some highly placed people who want it to return or have never left that year.

Our current president, Donald Trump, wants to return manufacturing jobs to the U.S., return Cuba to its Communist enemy status and rebuild the military to Cold War levels.

Just like things were in 1962.

Even the president cannot reverse globalization and automation, the two forces that have had the worst effects on U.S. manufacturing jobs, which made the U.S a great place to live in 1962.

We should keep looking for ways to restore wealth to our working population, but attempting to turn back the clock, even to a year as great as 1962, won’t do it.

In the 55 years since then, Cuba has excelled at nothing better than illustrating communism’s utter failure. Cuba and communism are no longer the threats they used to be.

President Barack Obama’s easing of relations with Cuba as its only dictator Fidel Castro stepped down was designed to open the door to change, but Trump won’t have it. That wasn’t the way it was in 1962.

That brings us Vladimir Putin, the leader of communist Cuba’s sponsor, Russia. Putin has done more to steer Russia back to Soviet times than any leader since Nikita Khrushchev, who dominated the Soviet Union in 1962.

Putin, however, is not obligated to hide dictatorial instincts and corruption behind phony communism, as his predecessors were. He leads a corrupt dictatorship because he can, but it works to his advantage to dredge up Soviet-era scare stories to control his people.

The arms race of 1962 with the Soviets is also over. Only Putin’s rhetoric has kept up.

We can continue to ease up on the grossly bloated cost of maintaining a Cold War military.

To Kim Jong-Un, the dangerously adolescent leader of communist North Korea, it has never stopped being 1962. He stages the same huge military parades that his father and grandfather produced.

The missiles, probably his father’s and grandfather’s, glide by in all their shopworn glory and the soldiers, wearing uniforms that were outdated in 1962, still goose-step like it’s 1939.

Meanwhile, his country stays mired timelessly in abject poverty.

The final throwback I’ll mention is Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In 1962, marijuana was a narcotic on a par with heroin in the popular mind.

To Jeff Sessions, it still is, despite marijuana’s legalization in some form in 26 states.

And what do you do with those who consume marijuana? Sessions’ solution is to toss ’em in the slammer and throw away the key.

That approach will succeed, as it always has, only in packing more minor offenders into sardine-can prisons, where they will learn, more than anything, how to get better at crime.

As great as 1962 was, it will never come back, but in our country we should still work to make 2022, five years from now and 70 years after 1962, even better.

To do that, however, we have to look forward, not back.

Steve Hansen writes about our life and times from his perspective of a retired Tucumcari journalist. Contact him at: [email protected]


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