Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jim Hightower's Right

At Alternet today Jim Hightower has a fantastic article about populism. I heard him speak a few years ago at the teacher's union convention, bought his book Thieves In High Places and consider it to be the best book on politics on the market today. I've received his journal since on e-mail and he is one of the few writers and speakers out there worth reading and listening to. Karl Rove cut his back stabbing, slandering and dirty trick campaigning teeth against Jim Hightower on an election in Texas years ago. He knows about what he speaks and has experienced it first hand.

Here are a few great quotes for the article, but it's best read in total:

As I've rambled through life, I've observed that the true political spectrum in our society does not range from right to left, but from top to bottom. This is how America's economic and political systems really shake out, with each of us located somewhere up or down that spectrum, mostly down. Right to left is political theory; top to bottom is the reality we actually experience in our lives every day--and the vast majority of Americans know that they're not even within shouting distance of the moneyed powers that rule from the top of both systems, whether those elites call themselves conservatives or liberals.

For me, the "ism" that best encompasses and addresses this reality is populism. What is it? Essentially, it's the continuation of America's democratic revolution. It encompasses and extends the creation of a government that is us. Instead of a "trickle down" approach to public policy, populism is solidly grounded in a "percolate up" philosophy that springs directly from America's founding principle of the Common Good.

You can shout yourself red-faced at Congress critters you don't like and demand a government so small it'd fit in the back room of Billy Bob's Bait Shop & Sushi Stand--but you won't be touching the corporate and financial powers behind the throne. In fact, weak government is the political wet dream of corporate chieftains, which is why they're so ecstatic to have the Tea Party out front for them. But the real issue isn't small government; it's good government. (Can I get an amen from Gulf Coast fishing families on that!?)

The disdain that the power elites have for the rest of us is glaringly and gallingly apparent:

  • Wall Street billionaires crash our economy but are bailed out at our expense to continue their banksterism against us.
  • We're told to accept a "jobless recovery" and to sit still for a "new normal" of perpetually low wages, continuing losses of American jobs, and steady erosion of union and consumer power.
  • We're presented with two flagrant examples of murderous corporate greed--first at Massey Energy's deadly coal mine, then at BP's deadly offshore oil well--yet no corporate executive has even been arrested.

We have a populist majority in America right now. Look at nearly any poll or talk with people at the local Chat & Chew Cafe, and you'll find--contrary to teabag hype, the contrived "wisdom" of major media outlets, and the political weenieness of too many Democratic "leaders"--that most folks are already with us on practically all of the big issues related to the corporatization of America (jobs, Wall Street, pollution, money in politics, a green economy, health care, media, unions, affordable housing, pensions, K-Street lobbyists, local businesses, infrastructure investment, progressive taxation, you name it).

Moreover, there is huge support for our fundamental populist values (economic fairness, social justice, and equal opportunity for ALL) and for our guiding principle of the Common Good. People believe in these ideals and hold them deep in their hearts, even though our corporate rulers don't want them discussed, much less implemented.

I say to my two loyal followers and the five or six regular readers of the Captain, read this article in full for it not only defines what we need politically, but has given me hope that it is possible. For so long I have felt crushed by the futility of changing things that are happening that maybe the American People are going to wake up and do more than vote for change and be horribly disappointed.


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

We got the Hightower column today in the Tulsa World. I loved it.

The tparty guys are being shafted and they don't even know it. He's right, its all about the up and down, not left and right.

P M Prescott said...

Yogi, so glad your paper will print something like this, ours only want to run columns by Cal Thomas and I stopped getting it for that reason.