The Great society has been using programs that have enhanced the implementation of domestic policies in countries across the world. One leader who has used the programs is President Johnson. He used his first state of union message to call for people to forge on and fight against poverty, and to form a great nation that would put an end to racial barriers and divisions. He was determined to use the great society policy to enact domestic programs that would improve education, provide affordable medical care access to everyone, and eliminate poverty. He passed two major civil-rights acts (1964-1965), the economic and education acts respectively. However, the economic and political expenses of the intensification of the Vietnam War, as well as, the costs of these programs soon became a handful and surpassed Johnson’s domestic initiative. As much as the Great Society initiatives made a major contribution to the safeguarding of civil rights and the development of social programs, the anti-poverty program continued to be progressively unsuccessful and wasteful. Critics and the masses complained that a lot of money was being poured out to these programs and very little value and progress was seen as a result. Instead, the country faced several challenges, such as recording big losses. This is evident in some texts for the course such as ‘pruit-igoe’ and ‘can’t stop won’t stop’. Some of the contributions brought about by these failures in the texts of the course are discussed below.
President Johnson came up with enhancements and developments, which include better Medicare and environmental protection laws that guarded the people with low income. All these programs and major improvements needed money and the funding was not available. The government was spending trillions of dollars with very few results to show from these programs, which had failed to work effectively for the people and the nation. According to Pruitt-Igoe’s film, the residents of these public buildings put up by the government were victims of gentrification. During the 70s, the government’s efforts to pursue economic developments in the suburbs drove away the white middle class people. The population declined by half since the middle class white families moved with their businesses to the suburbs where federal policies were favorable for them and their businesses’ economic development. This led to decrease in tax money from the city dwellers and many of the remaining residents became desperate and resorted to crimes. Economic development projects were done even at the expense of poorer families. The rate of inflation began to edge up after 1965, and most of these programs were ineffective, spending taxpayer’s money with little or nothing at all to show for their display of good intentions. Besides, according to ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ article, the 1960s was a period when the great society underwent changes. For instance, in America, politics was lurching to catch up with the changes that were already felt in the culture. This article also articulates that as the 60s drew into the 70s, the well of faith and idealism that had sustained the movements against the forces of rationalization and violence drained, and many dreams of the Blacks who were integrationists and nationalists were burned. This was a change in the great society that occurred in the 60s and 70s.
The ‘Can’t Stop Won’t Stop’ article adds that, just before the 60S, the great society also faced major hurdles, such as mass movements. The movements took place in several countries worldwide. For instance, in the year 1953, the Bronx had an artificial trench that cut through it. From this trench, the future of Bronx was observable. It was from the South Bronx that catastrophes, such as massive proportions and violence began. This later led to the global mass movements that were witnessed across the world during the 60s. These mass movements stimulated the poor economic growth of countries.
Most of the people left behind to accommodate these buildings could not maintain them and a high percentage belonged to the African-American group. According to Pruitt-Igoe, after the end of the world war two in 1970, there was segregation of the poor families from the rich. The black community that made up the large population of poor people was discriminated even more based on poverty and their skin color. The black communities were therefore forced to beg from the middle class white families, who were cruel towards them and this was a hostile environment. This led to aggressive behaviors by the black people who involved themselves in drugs and crime due to the frustrations from the failed housing project and the kind of discrimination and segregation they faced. The end of the war was also facilitated by the various cultures of people, such as the Jamaicans. They were known as Rasftafarians and they believed in God and praised him in a number of ways. Their culture spread across the world in the 70s, making it a strong factor behind the abolition of mass movements and aggressive behaviors among humankind.
The failure of some of these programs influenced the lives of many Americans who were affected by them in a traumatic way. They got into drug abuse and criminal activities just to console themselves. This replaced the war against poverty by the great society programs and instead the government started to focus on how to fight drug abuse. The government believed in the policy of warehousing and confinement as the best way to prevent these crimes instead of rehabilitation. The prisons on the other hand were in a very bad state and the correctional officers mistreated the inmates. They were beaten up and others shot while inside the correctional facilities. In 1960, they formed a movement that fought for the rights of these prisoners and advocated for them to join and form labor unions that would assist them in supporting their families while in prison.
In the Malcolm X text, we are told that the members of the society underwent a number of challenges that were setbacks to peaceful coexistence of the great society. For instance, the society had prisoners until 1964 when a group of Black Muslim prisoners went to court arguing that prison officials denied them their rights to worship. The denial of such rights clearly indicates how the society faced hurdles.
In conclusion, there were many struggles, especially among leaders, such as President Johnson who tried his best to bring change to the nation through these programs but could not succeed in every aspect in eliminating all the problems faced by the people during his term in office. From the 70s all through to the 90s up to current times, the effect of the failures are still being felt and although the government has learnt from past experiences, major adjustments have to be made among the various people in the society. Poverty on the other hand is still a major hindrance to the growth of the economy as the people living below poverty level keep rising day in day out. However, these programs brought a new dimension in which current and future leaders should deal with problems facing our nation in a more critical and wise way that will offer long lasting solutions to the nation and the people.