I rarely go to the movies (the last movie I actually took myself to see was Inside Out), but I really, really need to see LBJ, the new dramatic biography about Lyndon Baines Johnson. Johnson was the 36th president of the United States and served from 1965 to 1969. I remember his presidency but was just a child so don’t remember too many details from that time.
Johnson (“LBJ”) is one of those presidents people always forget about. If anything, he’s remembered more for sending thousands of young men to their deaths in Vietnam via the draft. That hasn’t given him a great reputation compared with other past presidents.
But Johnson, a Texas Democrat, also did a lot of good things and cared about his fellow Americans, regardless of income, class or race. He was involved in early environmentalism and gun control efforts. He started Head Start, Medicaid and the Food Stamp program, all part of his far-reaching “Great Society” (much different in spirit than today’s War on the Poor). He wanted to pass single payer healthcare. He was a supporter of the Civil Rights movement, working toward more racial equality and passed the Voting Rights Act bill.
It’s timely that LBJ’s contributions are being given the credit they’re due and someone finally made a movie about this man’s life and why America was so much more economically liberal than it is today (Bernie Sanders only seems so left-wing today because we’ve moved so far to the right; even Nixon would seem like a progressive today). I think the egalitarian and progressive values Johnson held haven’t been held in very high regard since the 1970s, with even the Democratic Party moving ever farther to the right, but I think the tide is slowly starting to turn back.
I actually remember this commercial. I was around the same age as this little girl when it was first aired.
I think most Americans, even some Republicans, are tiring of the anti-poor, pull yourself up by your bootstraps rhetoric and the “solution” of trickle down economics, which has never worked and never will work for the majority of Americans. Many people are realizing we began to go down a very dark path when Reagan was elected and unregulated capitalism and the trend toward blaming the most vulnerable instead of helping them became the norm. It’s been this way for forty years now, and we’ve finally hit rock bottom with Trump. Now we can see where we went wrong, and maybe someone like LBJ is needed again (but who will also keep us from fighting immoral wars). So I’m glad a movie was made about him and his memory is finally being honored.
I’ll write a review of the movie after I see it.
I could be wrong but I’ve been under the impression that LBJ wasn’t that progressive but a powerful grass roots movement propelled him to pass a lot of really good laws. I think Bernie is progressive on domestic issues. In foreign policy, he needs improvement but if he had better positions internationally, he probably wouldn’t stand a chance. I’m looking forward to see 50 Shades Healed. I won’t be able to afford it until I get my Social Security. Imagine not being able to afford a movie! Damn this economy!
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LBJ wasn’t considered progressive when he served, but compared to today, he’s probably on par with Bernie. I agree with you that Bernie’s positions on foreign policy aren’t that great, but I don’t think that’s something he makes a priority. I think domestic and economic issues concern him more than foreign policy.
I think LBJ’s reputation would be far better if he had not fallen into the “Domino Theory” trap and the military’s refusal to recognize that the war was unwinnable. Sadly, our military leadership still has not learned either how to win or how to tell the politicians not to get into that kind of war. I’ll look forward to your review of the movie.
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Ooh, a new documentary? I didn’t know they’d made one about him. If it’s near me, I’ve got something to see this weekend. Thanks for the heads up–I haven’t read the textbook-length multi-volume biographies of the man, but I always wanted to know more about him beyond Dallas and Vietnam.
I’ll have to be on the lookout for it. Thanks again for the heads up.
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