The Great Society. One Time A Great Notion. Some Day A Great Nation.

Frank Islam & Ed Crego
8 min readSep 17, 2020
Photo Credits: Noah de Boor, Alberto Giacometti, et al

“Would you tell me, please which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat

“I don’t much care where,” said Alice

“Then, it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.”

-Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Unlike Alice in Wonderland, many Americans, know where they want to go. They want to make America great.

The problem is that what constitutes greatness and the way to get there differs substantially depending on whether you are a member of the Trump Party (once known as the Republican Party) or the Democratic Party.

For the first group, the answer is to look and take America back to times when Whites ruled, segregation was the order of the day, and equality was an alien concept. For the second group, the answer is to look forward and envision an inclusive America with shared governance and equal opportunity for all.

The irony is that much of that forward-looking vision was first advanced over one-half century ago when President Lyndon Baines Johnson called for a Great Society. In a commencement speech at the University of Michigan on May 22, 1964, LBJ advised the graduates,

Your imagination, your initiative, and your indignation will determine whether we build a society where progress is the servant of our needs, or a society where old values and new visions are buried under unbridled growth. For in your time we have the opportunity to move not only toward the rich society and the powerful society, but upward to the Great Society.

The Great Society rests on abundance and liberty for all. It demands an end to poverty and racial injustice, to which we are totally committed in our time. But that is just the beginning.

Johnson was right. His speech was “Just the beginning.”

Action followed those words. In the mid-60’s, an ambitious legislative agenda was passed and numerous programs were implemented. The cornerstone was the War on Poverty, implemented through the Economic Opportunity Act and the Office of Economic Opportunity, which gave birth to the Job Corps and Community…

Frank Islam & Ed Crego

Frank Islam is an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. Ed Crego is a management consultant. Both are leaders of the 21st century citizenship movement.