Last year as I rode the train from NYC along the Jersey coast to visit my father, I wrote an article about the reasons for candidate Trump’s populist rise to the top.
Looking out the window at abandoned, decaying factories and industrial parks, I started to understand the strength and appeal of Donald Trump’s message of “Let’s make America great again.”
Well, as I travel along the same route a year later to visit dad on his birthday, the only change in the landscape has been the political landscape in Washington where Candidate Trump is now President Trump, who successfully rode that populist wave all the way to the White House.
If I was a gambling man, it seems a sure bet that this view of scarred landscape will pretty much look the same next year. President Trump is not going to bring back these long-lost factories. The American Dream slowly faded for so many hard-working Americans just like the views from this train slowly faded from industrial strength to abandoned forgotten ruins.
During the same time period, the wealthy 1 percent enjoyed enormous growth in wealth and power. As working Americans wages declined, as funding for public education declined, as the state of our infrastructure declined, as our faith in the American Dream declined, the wealthy 1 percent reaped in riches beyond imagination. President Trump’s proposed tax cuts and priorities of destroying the Affordable Care Act demonstrate that his concerns are more about the needs of the greedy 1 percent than those of hard-working American families. Let’s see how long the honeymoon will last between President Trump and the millions of Americans he promised to lift up to greatness once again.
Throwing a few morsels on the plates of middle class workers while the greedy 1 percent continue to grab vast amounts of wealth will not make this country great again. Nothing short of a total redistribution of wealth can achieve such a lofty goal.
A strong middle class made this country great; and only by improving the lives, the wages, the dreams and the wealth of our middle class will America be great again. Perhaps President Trump will become a traitor to his privileged class just as FDR was labeled when he embraced the New Deal policies that saved our nation at the beginning of his Presidency. President Roosevelt understood that, without a thriving, secure middle class, the privileged class would not exist much longer.
President Trump might transform himself from Defender of the 1 percent to a modern-day Robin Hood, perhaps then the view from the train might be of new construction where abandoned decaying factories long littered the landscape.
New industrial parks, new schools, new affordable housing units, new communities where hard working Americans can support their families and once again believe in the dream. Real wage growth for American workers so that someone does not have to work two or more jobs just to put food on the table and a roof over head. Our society cannot continue to add to the wealth of billionaires while denying so many the opportunity of a decent job, of decent healthcare, of decent education.
Speaking of changing landscapes, this past week back in Wilton Manors saw some surprise changes. Nine applicants ran for three seats on our important Planning and Zoning Board. Positions are voted on by our City Commissioners; and at the meeting this past week, their voting showed very little common ground.
The big surprise of the evening was that long-time resident and member of the P&Z Board, Ruthanne Stadnik did not make the final cut. Her seat went to Tim Theisen, whose qualifications and long-time interest in the quality of life here in the Island City will make him a great addition to that board.
Along with Tim, fellow Westsider Bob Cassidy won re-appointment. Residents of our city have two very strong, knowledgeable and professional voices with these two appointments. Also winning re-appointment was the current Chair, Nick Berry, who has served on P&Z for many years.
Newcomer candidate Ciatta Thompson, demonstrated a young, fresh, educated voice. Hopefully we will continue to see more of Ciatta’s involvement with our city. Many thanks to Ruthanne for her many years of service, along with her husband, Skip, who currently serves on the Community Affairs Advisory Board.
People who serve our great city, who work to make our community a better place for all, and who have dedicated many years of service is what makes us a stronger and better community and what makes life in Wilton Manors just better here!