Bring Back the American Dream

Keep moving forward; get better organized; defeat the forces of war, fascism, racism, and corruption. Elizabeth defined the financial challenge against Wall St. corruption; Bernie transformed “socialist” from a swearword to a compliment: this is impressive progress. Fill the Supreme Court vacancy; win the Senate; overturn Citizens United: bring back the American Dream.

A shift of fundamental potential has occurred in the so very middle-of-the-road, conventionally-minded American public: the most popular politician in America is a socialist. If the voting public permanently shifts from supporting elitist politicians short on vision, focused on self, and eager to look tough by using violence toward supporting politicians who put society first, i.e., who work for the common good (rather than the welfare of billionaires), then the efforts of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders will put the U.S. back on its historical path toward democracy. Having the first U.S. female president may, along the way, not be a bad thing…as long as progressives pull her into the future rather than her pulling the U.S. back into its traditional sins of elite financial and environmental abuses, domestic police brutality, and international aggression.

To understand the tipping point at which U.S. society now stands does not require a detailed analysis of the long Western war to control Mideast oil at the expense of local Muslim societies, the endless financial corruption of Wall St. as it transfers the wealth of the U.S. middle class into the pockets of the 0.1%, the short-sighted exploitation of the environment for corporate enrichment, the brutal police repression of the urban poor, the rejection by the rich of the principle of universal health care, or the implacable elite hostility to public financing of truly democratic elections: all these particular policies are really just logical elements of an overall strategy for government of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich.

Progressives need to take not just the long view but a broad view. The long-term progressive vision of fundamental reform rather than crowd-seducing band-aids is the core of genuine progress. A stable, productive society, as any progressive knows, requires economic security for all via the spreading of the available resources. The U.S. is lucky: it has plenty of money; the current economic malaise results not from the nation being impoverished but from the intentional misallocation of resources out of the productive working and middle class into the hands of the idle and frequently misbehaving rich. Be it Goldman Sachs prostitutes or the scandal of Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, it is the corruption of the billionaires that puts American workers on the dole. More, all progressives understand that civil liberties rest on democracy, democracy rests on free elections, and free elections depend on having an educated citizenry empowered by “one person, one vote.” The elite, in contrast, clearly recognizes that its own cherished freedom to be as irresponsible as it desires rests on a cowed, uneducated, poorly paid electorate that votes on the basis of emotions formed by the carefully biased nonsense of the TV evening news plus “one dollar, one vote.” Real control, when needed by the elite, comes in two forms that constitute two sides of the same repressive coin: war against foreign reform movements (such as many of the factions of “politically active Islam”) that challenge Western manipulation of global oil supplies and police brutality against domestic popular democratic activism, whether by black urban poor or white college kids (e.g., Occupy Wall St.).

But taking the long view–promoting a pro-society political agendaenough. In addition to the impressive progressive ability to define a socially responsible long view, progressives must also take the broad view: the Occupy Wall St. struggle, the struggle of local government employees (police, teachers, firemen) to protect their contracts in Wisconsin, the struggle of blacks for police protection rather than repression are in fact each components of one struggle. Only the solid unification of these disparate groups is likely to enable the gathering of sufficient momentum for real reform. The progressive movement needs to turn itself into “a house united.” Hillary’s victory would represent a milestone for sexual equality, and her early championing of health care reform gives her, conservative as she has become, another link to the American reform movement, so the potential for her to play a useful supporting role exists, although it is no longer easy to imagine her leading the way. She should be encouraged to join up, and Senator Warren is the obvious bridge.

By the same token, a mansion divided against itself cannot stand; international aggression, aggression against the poor, controlled elections all go together in a bundle of rules designed to control society for the benefit of the elite. It is critically important that progressives understand the tight linkages between anti-democratic pressures within the U.S. and the repressive nature, even under Obama, of a U.S. foreign policy that remains addicted to force as the solution despite the counterproductive results of pouring gasoline on the fires of developing world politics.

A generation ago these words would have sounded hopelessly naive; a decade ago, even more so. But now–as the result of the shocks of 9/11, the poisoning of the Gulf of Mexico by Big Oil, the scam of Citizen’s United, the great leap backwards of the U.S. economy after the 2008 recession and bailout of the billionaires, and the long series of military outcomes undermining long-term U.S. national security in an endless war against Muslim societies—the U.S. voting public has managed to bestir itself enough to put the breath of life back into the American Dream of that other bundle of rules designed to control…well…the forces of repression: elections based on voting not money, the fair sharing of resources, a foreign policy of accommodation rather than dominance, civil liberties, and quality education for all. No victory has yet been achieved, but at least a future in which the common good defines the standard against which to measure our behavior and our leaders’ behavior now appears before us not just as an idealistic daydream but a genuine possibility.

So keep moving forward; get better organized; defeat the forces of war, fascism, racism, and corruption. Elizabeth defined the financial challenge against Wall St. corruption; Bernie transformed “socialist” from a swearword to a compliment: this is impressive progress. Fill the Supreme Court vacancy; win the Senate; overturn Citizens United: bring back the American Dream.

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