One Response to Lead by Example in Public Engagement

  1. Rick Wood says:

    I can be impertinent too!

    Here is an online comment I just wrote in a debate about what kind of government we should have—what we should fight for:

    We will always have government, but when you look at a government of and for the plutocrats and compare it to one of and for the middle class, there are big differences. We see it manifested in the political battle between the Republicans, which has become the party of plutocracy, and the Democrats, which, almost by default, has become the party of the middle class. We have no place else to turn.

    What got me thinking about this is [a commenter’s] negative reference to the War on Poverty. The plutocrats want us to believe that the Democrats are the party of the poor. It’s part of their playbook. It may be true today only because the Republicans certainly aren’t the party of the poor. But the Democrats aren’t really either. The War on Poverty was a largely misguided experiment from the 1960s. Interesting history, but only a vestige today.

    A government of and for the middle class cares about the poor because the middle class is closer to being poor than the plutocrats. The middle class is at greater risk of becoming poor, especially as the plutocrats take over. We want to avoid becoming poor more than we want to raise people out of chronic poverty, though we want to create an avenue for that too, out of compassion and empathy (characteristics the plutocrats lack, or suppress).

    So what are the “details” of a government of and for the middle class that the plutocrats want to “dispense with” (as I put it [in an earlier comment])?

    A while back was working on a list. I’ve added to it and you may wish to as well:

    • Consumer protection (especially, now, financial)

    • Universal, affordable health care

    • Public education (including higher education as a benefit to the middle class and a long-term economic stimulus)

    • Environmental and public health protection

    • Minimum social safety net

    • Public spaces (e.g., national parks)

    • Military for jobs as well as defense (all times); providing additional jobs in times of great need (especially for infrastructure investments)

    • Cultural norm that places greater respect on motivation and ability than social class or any inherited influence

    And it’s paid for mostly by a progressive tax system (graduated income tax and taxes on property, including a robust estate tax).

    If you don’t believe the Republicans have become the party of plutocracy, serving a very small minority of very rich people in this country, cut through all the wedge issues and look at their positions on these issues, especially how we pay for government.

    Preserving and enhancing the position of the plutocrats is the “prime directive” of plutocracy. Looking at the government we are losing and the growing disparity between the rich and the middle class, I would say the plutocrats are winning.

    American exceptionalism is not inevitable, it’s only more possible here than anywhere else; we have to fight for it.

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