The New American Revolution
Time for the Majority to Speak Out
Welcome to "Culture Wars II" . . . or is it III or IV, or ? ? ?
It's hard to know, unless one is a historian, how many times in the 235 years of U.S. history the pendulum of political/social discourse has swung hard to the right - but it's not difficult at all to realize that that's how the nation's clock is ticking these past two years.
There are examples all around us. To mention just a few . . .
1) The assassination of Dr. George Tiller and subsequent hate posters/threats/ harassments of other medical doctors who dare to consider offering health care to women in critical need.
2) Arizona laws that target anyone who doesn't look like a 'real American' and cut off funding for surgical transplants for those who need them.
3) Right-wing fringe candidates who pop up all over the country with little ability to speak coherently who offer few concrete and constructive ideas or display any real willingness to work together with people who think differently than they do in order to find real solutions to real problems.
4) Governors (three so far) who have refused federal funds to build high-speed rail lines in their states, claiming that we can't afford such unnecessary 'luxuries' while at the same time supporting giant tax cuts for the wealthiest 1/2 of one percent of Americans.
5) Legislators determined to cut 100% of federal funding for the arts, PBS and NPR under the guise of balancing budgets, but in reality are out to gut what they consider 'liberal' biased media.
6) Right-wingers who make fun of reporters attacked and/or sexually assaulted while on assignment in near-Eastern countries covering the recent (and on-going) popular uprisings.
7) The governors of Wisconsin and Ohio and Indiana who sought to outlaw union activities like collective bargaining while calling peaceful protestors "thugs" and trying to pit them against millions of 'true American citizens' (their words) who work and allegedly support such draconian economic policies that are supposedly intended to balance state budgets, but would do so on the backs of middle-class workers who are slandered with charges of laziness.
8) The barrage of insults against President and Michelle Obama by "birthers" and others that come in a variety of ways, but are intent on one purpose: to take down the first African-American president in the history of our country. Though they deny it, it's obvious that these tactics are the result of racism.
I doubt most of those who support any of the above measures really know and understand U.S. history, are acquainted with the lasting treasures of art, music and world literature, speak another language or have stayed/lived in a foreign country that in any real way exposed them to how people in other countries really live or think.
I also suspect that those in Congress who decry so-called 'Obama-care' wouldn't consider for a moment giving up their own federally funded health care or later receiving the social security payments they have made over the years. Most of them haven't talked to middle-class citizens (the few that still exist in any real sense) in order to learn how they are coping with the effects of the Great Recession, out-sourced jobs, mortgage hassles and similar personal crises that bedevil many of us at the present time.
Meanwhile, the protestors in Egypt who succeeded in removing Mubarak from office and continue to support real reform and real democracy actually mobilized one day after their largest 'win' in order to clean up the streets and Tahrir Square. They are excellent examples of what decent people can accomplish when they collectively put their minds, hearts and bodies to work in support of causes that are just.
I'm in the process of reading the memoir of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first woman President of Liberia, a country I've visited and come to know and treasure. Here's what she has to say about the power of the citizenry:
"The public can make a difference if it is willing to take a position and stand up for a cause in which it believes. Against a united and committed public, even the harshest of governments cannot stand, . . . ." [This Child Will Be Great, Harper Perennial, New York: 2009, p. 131.]
What we are witnessing in these United States may be the beginning of a popular uprising, not the sort that Tea Party members or right-winger extremists like Glen Beck scream about, but a genuine peaceful, populist revolt that seeks to reclaim tried-and-tested values like decency, insight, solid education and the forward-looking vision it will take to engage the future in ways that uplift all groups of people in our country.
That's a revolution I for one welcome, and I encourage you to stand with me and all the others in our land who are heartsick over the 'dumbing down' of what is best in this country, and the revisionist views on everything from the Constitution to the Civil War and slavery, economic policy, the funding of political campaigns and so much more.
It's time for the vast majority of U.S. citizens to become vocal and get involved in ways that champion what is true and good and decent about our country, rather than sit idly by and let fringe groups distort and debase our nation.