Why is it in terms of progressive reform the country is going backwards?
Last time I checked, citizens were by very sizable majorities for practically all of the things progressive activists actively promote.
I’ve cited these statistics repeatedly but they’re worth looking at again:
75% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.
63% of Americans want a federal minimum wage of $15.00 per hour.
75% of voters want fair trade agreements protecting jobs, workers, the environment.
76% of voters want a cut back on military spending.
76% of voters want the U.S. completely out of Afghanistan.
79% of voters want no reductions in Social Security, 70% support expanding it.
79% of voters want no reductions in Medicare.
80% of voters oppose the “Citizens United” U.S. Supreme Court decision.
68% of voters think taxes on the wealthy should be increased.
71% of voters support massive infrastructure renewal.
65% of voters want laws to combat climate change.
62% of voters want tuition free public colleges and universities.
74% of American voters are for ending oil industry subsidies.
We could probably add a few more to the list but this offers us the necessary perspective.
A great deal of energy and time by dedicated activists continues to be devoted to these and many other worthy causes: protecting a woman’s right to choose; respecting human rights, especially those of immigrants and vilified minorities like Muslims; protecting the quality of air and water, stopping the wanton destruction of the environment; reining in abuses in the workplace; reducing police violence; on and on, all initiatives reflecting the best values and instincts of people who believe America is for all Americans, not just a privileged few.
Yet, all of these are constantly under assault.
This should come as no shock. There has always been a tiny aristocratic elite in our nation which views itself — not hard-working everyday citizens — as the true engine of our wealth and greatness as a country. Reacting to both the reforms of the 1930s under FDR, and the hard-won gains in civil and human rights in the 1960s and 1970s, these elitists set about reversing these populist measures with a comprehensive, long-range strategy of taking over the governing institutions at all levels and in every branch of government, then subsequently imposing their own selfish, self-serving agenda on the rest of us.
What we see now is their spectacular success. The Republicans — who most thoroughly and with ideological purity represent the interests of this ruling elite, though over the past two-and-a-half decades or more, the Democrats have been scrambling to align themselves with the ruling class, abandoning their traditional base of union workers and other citizens of the lower and middle classes — now have the White House, both houses of Congress, a majority of the state legislatures. Even the majority of state governors are Republicans.
They have kicked our progressive asses good!
The reaction by our end of the political spectrum to this highly organized assault on the system of government, which we progressives and the majority of everyday people believe is supposed to serve the interests of all citizens, has been short-sighted and fragmented.
The end product of decades of what we failed to properly assess and address is what I call Whack A Mole activism.
Just like the amusement center Whack A Mole game — though we hardly find it amusing — we are constantly challenged to whack at one crisis, while others are poised to quickly follow. There’s always another crisis popping up somewhere else.
We haven’t even finished fighting in Afghanistan or Iraq, but now we have to fight another war in Syria. While we’re fueling the crisis in Syria, we start another one in the Ukraine. As if these weren’t enough, we’re getting ready to fight Russia, China, North Korea.
We stop the Keystone XL, but five more pipelines get backroom approval. We get ready to challenge them, the Arctic gets opened up again for more drilling. More offshore rigs start popping up everywhere. Leases are being handed out like Halloween candy to explore for gas in our National Parks. Our heads are spinning.
We see school lunch programs cut. Funding for the arts. Then women’s health centers get put on the chopping block. Before the paint on our protest signs dries for those, the police kill a bunch of unarmed black folks because . . . well, they’re black. What other reason do the police need these days?
Even a crisis that we think we whacked, gets new life and pops up again a short time later. Think about Net Neutrality. Think about the modest, completely inadequate and symbolic victories on behalf of fighting climate change with the timid and compromised gestures of the Obama administration, wiped out with the swipe of a pen by Trump. Look at banking and Wall Street regulations. Consumer protections. One step forward, four steps back.
The crises keep coming faster and faster and just keep piling up.
Let’s get real here. There’s no way we can win. Just like the slot machines in Las Vegas, this game is rigged. The house will always win. Who owns the house? They do!
They keep us scrambling. They keep us divided. They keep us distracted, in a constant state of panic, disoriented and exhausted by the sheer number of crises being created, we’re never able to mount a unified, comprehensive, coherent counterattack.
Whether you credit the ruling elite with the ingenuity to have intentionally crafted this constant state of frenzy and chaos, or whether it has just been a convenient and effective but purely chance by-product of their original program, the upshot is the same. We are being systematically crippled in our attempt to stop the juggernaut of regressive change.
What’s pathetic about all of this, beyond our continuing failure to make much difference and the clear prospects that we will only lose more of these battles as time goes on, is that there apparently is still this naive, completely clueless belief that by just appealing to those now in power, by just pointing out the virtues of our reasonable demands, by highlighting the goodness and justice and fairness and decency of our causes — yes by golly — they will actually listen to our heart-felt pleas, come around, and do the right thing!
Maybe we watched too many Disney movies growing up, eh?
Let’s not kid ourselves any longer. There is a class of ultra-wealthy people, a tiny elite minority who despise us, disdain democracy, believe themselves extraordinary, superior, and above the rules and considerations which apply to the rest of us slobbering inferiors. You can look at this psychologically, anthropologically, historically, sociologically, however you choose to analyze this phenomenon. The reality is that it has been a factor in recorded history as long as there has been recorded history.
A fundamental principle in an egalitarian democracy is that such inevitable aristocratic forces be kept in check. Look around. We have failed. Those aristocratic, authoritarian, elitist instincts which are always part of the DNA of a certain class of such patricians, are completely out of control in contemporary America. The commons is being plundered or acquired and hoarded, the “general welfare” is being ignored — even mocked — the notion of the American Dream has become a punch line for a comedy routine that’s played out on the stage of a country in a suicidal tailspin, a nation unraveling and apparently determined to now promote everything it once stood against: grotesque wealth inequality, plutocratic pillage, grotesque and anti-democratic militarism, foreign entanglements and imperial conquest, perpetual war, destruction of citizen privacy and constitutional protection.
Of course, if we point any of this out, or especially if we gather the courage to fight “them” and their self-serving agenda, we’ll be accused of being troublemakers, insurrectionists, anarchists, communists, traitors.
But never ever forget . . .
Regular folks like you and I did not and are not starting a class war. The simple truth is, we’re the victims of an ongoing class war started a long long time ago, a class war which just becomes more fierce and destructive with each passing day and each passed piece of legislation by our corrupt Congress. Make no mistake about it. We are in a war! It’s a battle for survival. The ruling class do not care if we live or die. Unpleasant as this may sound, these are the facts on the ground.
Sometimes I’m accused of being extreme. Excuse me? The rich and powerful have stolen our country, destroyed our democracy, are now putting the finishing touches on a new incarnation of feudalism, and I should be deferential and gracious, warm and amicable?
I should give a pass to the Koch brothers? Sure, they have families and friends, probably go to church every Sunday and sing All Hail the Power of Jesus’s Name, or another lovely hymn praising the God that so blessed them with gold bumpers on their new Rolls Royce. So what? Their psychopathic level of greed and diabolical destruction of the environment is incompatible with democracy, with common decency, with the values of our nation, and with the survival of the human race. THEY ARE THE ENEMY! Period!
As the enemy, they are not to be respected, trusted, certainly not hailed as exemplars of our way of life. They’re just like demented children beating an anthill with a baseball bat. We are the ants.
If as I say it’s true that we’re being played by the ruling class . . .
How then do we stop playing the Whack A Mole activism game?
There’s only one solution: We unplug it, take it out back, then take a sledgehammer to it.
We destroy the machine!
How does this translate to the struggle of everyday citizens to take back control of their country from an abusive and ruthless ruling class?
There’s a lot of room for interpretation here and history is replete with examples.
The obvious and most decisive way of “destroying the machine” is a bloody revolution.
Perhaps I am naive but I’m hoping we can avoid that. Considering both the enormous fire power of the federal authorities and the mind-numbing number of privately-owned guns, a revolution in the U.S. would be an unprecedented bloodbath.
Destroying the machine in my view is destroying the mechanism by which the ruling class now exclusively impose their will on our republic. That mechanism is “owning” those who we allegedly democratically elect as our legislators. The Achilles heel of that ownership are those owned. We stopped the ownership of our governing officials by replacing the owned with the unowned.
Almost everyone now sitting in Congress is directly responsible for or complicit with the control of our legislative bodies by the ruling class. They benefit from it. They go along with it. They are not going to change it.
Therefore we must change them. Either we change their behavior — a dubious prospect at this stage from what we’ve seen — or we “change” the them who hold those positions. We “unelect” those now in office and elect honest, accountable, responsive representatives to replace them.
That is why I’m calling for regime change in Congress in 2018. This to me is the positive, non-violent path to cutting deep into the system and excising the poison of corruption.
We must look at replacing at least 400 of the current sitting members in the House of Representatives, and the 33 senators up for election in 2018. This is certainly a drastic proposal. But sometimes you need to completely clean house and start from scratch.
Should we take them out back and take sledgehammers to them?
There are probably many in this country who are so frustrated and angry — or will be when they finally realize the level of corruption of our current elected officials — they might opt for such violent reprisals.
I myself say the most important thing is to get these criminals out of office before they do any more damage to the country. If you press me for how we should handle long histories of such political criminality, of abuse of public trust and the mockery they’ve made of our system of government, I will say that I can see a special tribunal being set up — along the lines of the Nuremberg war crimes trials — and our current congressmen being indicted. We could call it the American Crimes Against Democracy Court of Reconciliation.
Maybe there would be a new arcade game along those lines to help fund the proceedings.
The Whack A Politico activist game!
In my next two articles, I will get into the specifics of implementing my candidate contract strategy toward dramatic regime change in Congress via the 2018 election.
We can continue playing a pointless game toward a fruitless ending.
Or we can unite and change the game itself.
That’s the choice in 2018.