Tragically, for the third time in our nation’s history, patriots who believe in the ideals of July 4, 1776 have to defend America against those who don’t...
And might I add another item to your list of things our fellow citizens not just want but need (whether they know it or not). We have to end the powers of corporate personhood or not much general welfare promoting will be going on and since the fossil fuel oligarchs continue to get their way, securing the blessings of liberty for our posterity is looking less likely all the time. The We the People Amendment must pass and we have to elect competent progressives that choose to meet their Constitutional purpose with best practice-based solutions. Happy Fourth!
The next most telling nine words are ….”pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”. Thanks for demanding that we look.
I appreciate this piece and it's spot on, especially on the Reagan years. But I think something we need to accept is the Founders created a republic, not at all a democracy. They wanted rich white men to be able to vote for THEIR betters, that is richer men than them (largely determined by property, including human chattel as most of them were enslavers, rather than some notion of value of liquid wealth). In other words, the government created in 1787 was just another oligarchy, one where they could better reign in the King, though Hamilton absolutely tried to thwart efforts to control the king. Washington and Adams, both fans of this form of oligarchy verging on monarchy, absolutely tried to silence dissent. Washington is the only President in history to march at the head of an army--to do what? To put an end to political dissenters. Adams crafted and signed a law explicitly outlawing talking bad about him. Jefferson was different but not in much of a better way though both early parties gave good and bad things to the American political system today.
But the bad thing our Founders gave us was a love for oligarchy. They also gave us a lot of empty propaganda that they weren't just a breakaway empire modeled after a British system they were mad at for forcing them to pay taxes on their war of expansion (called the French Indian War). THAT quickly morphed into early truly democratic efforts, even as early as the 1790s. Some say Jackson really accelerated this but that's unlikely, more likely he fed into it, then changed the laws to neuter that giving more power to a broader group of white men, but limiting power that many non white men had in the early republic. In other words, he was just another oligarch happy bastard but he did pay a lot of lip service to democracy as opposed to republican thinking. Again, people took that and eventually ran with it leading to fundamental differences in the party system that rose up in 1856, not just between parties but even within them.
At ANY RATE, lol, it's perhaps a byproduct of forces in the Civil War, where we first see any sort of true national identity and values (even though they were often contradictory) that, if you stare hard enough, you'll find modern American ideals of freedom, the purpose of government (to provide for the general welfare of the people) and equality.
But within a generation those ideals were pushed to the bottom by men (and women) who took advantage of those new truly modern values, exploited new voters, established the modern values of corporations being people and created a new oligarchy, quickly discarding the new citizens. The notions of equality under the law, freedoms, an active government interested in general welfare poke their head up during the crisis of the Depression, then for fighting Nazism, and eventually combating communism.
That all started after my grandma, who I'll call to wish happy birthday tomorrow, was born.
America was built on a paradox, as Heather Cox Richardson puts it. Freedom loving oligarchs who needed unfreedom (chattel slavery and rigid class hierarchy) to secure their idea of freedom. But the pure form of their ideas of freedom, ideas us on the Left can and should value, still drive us today.
I guess what I'm saying is let's be real, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton (and Madison and Jefferson) had more in common with today's Republican Party than just their racism. They were oligarchs and some of them even monarchists (Hamilton certainly).
We won't find the country we need in the past. We'll find it by fighting for what we know is good for each other and good for the planet and that has never been found in oligarchy and inequality.
From above: DeSantis instead claimed the reporter asking the question was trying to “smear me as if I had something to do with it.”
How convenient. A smear. The fact that these Nazis were holding placards of his face next to swastikas at their rally is, apparently, totally unrelated. He may not have organized it but he and his campaign should ponder this question: what about him and his platform makes Nazis believe they are both on the same team? It's not coincidental.
As always, Thom is spot on. Though it sounds simplistic, this country has proven one thing, “He who has the gold, makes the rules”. When Reagan was elected, I said to anyone who would listen, this is the end of our democracy & everyone I knew thought I was nuts. Unfortunately, those of us who saw what was coming, are very unhappy to find we were right.
Your commitment to comprehensive clarity gives us a motive and basis to ACT! Thank You!
Biden announced on Monday his intention to appoint,"Elliot Abrams" to the United States advisory commission on public diplomacy. The day before the 4th of July! Failing to charge the bigwig GOP insurrectionists, the autocrat wannabees and now this should tell you whose side Biden is on! He is trying to get a GOP fascist elected if nothing else. Abrams made a mess out of South and Central America with right wing death squads and had to be pardoned by Bush sr. The traitors are deeply entrenched. We keep waiting for Biden to do the right thing pertaining to the insurrectionists. Hopefully another Democrat will run against Biden. Any Democrat. If I am wrong, please correct me.
Thom, I agree with you and Thomas Paine’s way of thinking. Let’s really be the change we want to see. Thank you Thom and Thomas too for forward thinking we desperately need right here and now.
Nader’s legacy is his spoiler third party run that cost Gore the presidency and gave us all GWB.
I remember when Ralph Nader had a voice! Not anymore; it seems we are not heard. No Naders out there. The Conversation had a good piece on the motives behind the Declaration of Independence; they were fighting the oligarchs of Britain. Patrick Henry had a great messaging with the right motives behind it. Now, we have sick people like Timothy McVeigh, Proud Boys, Oath Keepers with the same message but such twisted, sick motives. ‘Ralph! Where are you now?’
Yes again we must have a "Super Majority" at the end of this next election cycle!
Thom. I’ve been reading a lot of Bying-Chul Han and his critical theory take on neoliberalism. It’s excellent but does not offer dialectical counter currents, and is not culturally specific, so I’m now reading your books I am getting clearer on the democratic and oligarchic impulses throughout our history. That the original Constitution and BoR focused on the novel idea of expanding property rights, the upsurge of greater focus on civil rights is only a CW and post CW moment, the democratic impulse has held predominant sway only for certain moments - the proto industrial Northeast, facets of Reconstruction, the pre WWII New Deal, the post war ascendency of democracy, being countered in the Regan era which was not overtly or completely anti democratic, but began morphing into that during the mid 90s and 00s. The current conditions are distinctive with neoliberal formations and technologies while the oligarchical impulse is a resurfaced current, itself moving to push into outright tyranny (global networks are in part causative here). The specifics of this piece are spot on, and I do think it hinges on 2024 elections: if the Dems can get the trifecta and in the Senate somehow get two more seats, then the reforms needed will have the conditions needed. Thank you.
I just checked Wikipedia's entry on Robert Gould Shaw,. the editors who compiled the page, have a different opinion, but as a former editor of WP, I know who things work. There is a cadre of editors, who are long time and well known to each other, and they will revert comment that disagrees with their POV.
I've tried to edit Reagans and his trreason, I even posted reliable secondary sources, but there is at least one if not more gatekeepers (editors have a watch list, so they can monitor changes to pages of which they are interested. My edit was reverted, If an edit is reverted, you can revert the revert, but there is a limit, and at least you have to wait three days (where it slides into the memory hole), however if you revert a revert that has been reverted, You commit the crime of starting a revert war, which you are bound to loose, because too many editors are old timers, they even attend WP conferences and meet and have drinks.
I did the same to Nixon, I posted his treason, again using a reliable secondary source, and that too was revorted a Nixonian hall monitor.
Thus I often link a comment to a WP article, I do so for clarity's sake, as people want more info, or just want to know what I am talking about. Despite that I know enough to take WP with a grain of salt, and used my own independent knowledge (i've been a history buff, since childhood to evaluate WP articles, among the jewels are piles of crap. don't take WP as gospel. I know that students, even college students do.
I could not agree more!
It's tricky comparing the world and men of 1776 to ours. Listening to PBS NewsHour today gave me some insight from historian Jim Grossman. To paraphrase, he explained what they did wasn't all one thing or the other---nothing was cut and dry. When referencing them we should also try to UNDERSTAND them. Glad we can look to Thom for some help with that.
I have to say something about my own revolution in the sixties and well into the seventies. It was a wonderful/horrible time! Some seem confused about where the "hippies" and activists landed. At least 30 percent of the Boomers are some of the nutbags and confused people we are dealing with now. SSDD! That was a rough "turning", but we started amazing movements---women's rights, civil rights, voters' rights, gay rights, workers rights, and environmental issues.
I did not leave my values behind when I bought a car and kept working my ass off. In fact, I brought those values into my workplace and everywhere I have been. Some do not seem to UNDERSTAND us either. Put me in the proud Boomer column.
RE: “Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered…” - Thomas Paine
Tyranny is not yet upon us, but right-wing authoritarian oligarchs - like the plantation owners of the Civil War, the bankers of the attempted coup in 1933, and the MAGA terrorists of the 1/6/2021 attempted coup - are trying again to end our form of democracy.
These right-wing authoritarians are not just from the executive boards of corporations, there are also the pulpits of evangelical/fundamentalist churches:
"Over the last 40 years or so, Americans have been involved in a religious/political struggle that has divided the nation. The struggle has impacted American government, culture, the economy, and international relations. It has divided the American people, almost evenly between so-called secularist, who favor government based on the Declaration of Independence, The United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and evangelical/fundamentalist Protestant, Catholic Christians, many of whom seem to prefer a government based on the principles and dictates of the Bible."