My own heroes are revolutionaries, those who gave their lives, their fortunes, their sacred honor for a better world.
And it’s sometimes difficult to understand how those lights of our checkered history came to lose their friendships with one another and how different visions of how the Republic should be managed could bring such a wintry chill to their interactions. Washington and Jefferson did certainly not see eye to eye.
It’s no different today, as groups see a different vision of our future, but how reasonable are the views? It’s reasonable to assume that radical groups will produce a few more extreme radicals than the mean, and that it’s a logical progression from a Tea Party, seemingly based in the fervor of the early American Revolution, would produce those who would advocate for armed rebellion should the nation’s progress not go their way. It does not seem to pierce those thick skulls that virtually all citizens of the United States do not see things their way and that their loosely-organized group does not have the numbers or the will to revolt, nor any real purpose in doing so. There is not among them a Thomas Paine who can clarify their purpose or cajole them into a single worthy cause.
For it was Paine, later abandoned by those who owed him so much, who literally risked his life, fortune, and honor, who was so instrumental in focusing the revolutionary movement and who kept it alive while he was himself involved in the conflict.
In the Revolution, there was a single, common enemy. Today, a myriad social issues that are poorly understood by even those directly involved with them. Then, a common purpose understood because of a common threat; today plagues from every quarter.
Recent articles involving the Koch brothers’ involvement in the Tea Party should be a warning knell to the participants in that failing collection of middle-aged group of self-styled disenfranchised discontents. The robber barons extend their tentacles to the confused and make them their own while the real issues for which remedies could be found are ignored, such as the Koch brothers themselves. The Founders expressed concern that any person or group should ever be so wealthy as to exert control over the government.
In the past week, I’ve heard the word oligarchy bandied about freely – it’s such an obvious problem that, to use a worn cliché, it’s the 800-lb. gorilla in the room. It is obvious that we are manipulated by the very wealthy into economic policies and foreign entanglements that the mass of non-wealthy cannot resist, no matter their knowledge of the events. Noam Chomsky calls the influence of special interests a plurocracy, or a rule by special interest groups – those corporate lobbyists who infest the halls of power and sprinkle money like confetti wherever it will influence laws and decisions and elections.
Were there to be a revolution, upon whom would we prosecute the revolt? Those most advocating such treasonous acts would take down the Federal Government as if they were our enemy. But they are us. They are what binds us together. They would revise the Constitution to suit their outmoded beliefs. They would destroy the best of our nation while the über-rich laugh.
Would we stage a fiasco like the French Revolution where the rich are pulled from their homes and introduced to Madame Guillotine? Where does a capitalist society draw the line between rich and too rich? In spite of the blatherings of the Glen Becks of the world, we aren’t trying to create a socialist nation, nor do we wish to equalize all incomes.
It would seem that the most obvious way to fix the problems would be to address them one by one and fix what’s broken, but it’s a battle that might never be won because of all those conflicting interests. Unlike Republicans, Democrats can easily lose sight of a monomaniacal struggle for power and become lost in limitless fixes – something that they seem to do when in power. They go from a struggle for fairness to saving the tsetse flies and snail darters. Saving bits of our world may be a good idea, but we need to focus on education and enlightenment and the rest will follow.
Our biggest concern is war. We simply do not need it. It destroys our progress and saps our resources.
Then comes population. We were once nearing zero population growth in the U.S. but we lost sight of the goal, while the Mormons and the Catholics vie with each other to see which can produce the largest families. But we have to slow it somewhere – with fished-out oceans and tar-soaked arable land, if we don’t achieve a balance we will have massive starvation and disease.
Our politics must be given back to the people. Lobbyists and special interest groups are no way to run a country.
And our standards must be defined. It’s important to grasp the value of separation of church and state, of property, of corporation as servant rather than master, and of the notion that the very, very rich do not have the right to keep all the money, no matter how fairly they think they stole it.
Evolution, not revolution. Let’s head in a positive direction with our goals. Let’s understand that free markets are the invention of people who have a lot of money and want to get the rest of it away from the masses. Let’s put the policies of FDR back to work for us, as they worked for decades.