First, this is about the saddest must-read that I ever read. Thanks to my friend Michael for having brought it to my attention. Things have to change. We hear the voices of those clamoring for democracy on the streets of the Mideast and we admire their courage. We overlook the real imperative that we should be out on the streets ourselves, with peaceful demands to save the tatters of our own democracy.
Is it not ironic that -- at least until the past couple of days -- those who have been getting noisy on the streets, believing that they are clamoring for the restoration of the American middle and working classes, have become instead unwitting tools in the hands of profiteering interests who cynically promote their exploitation? Is it not ironic that those who loudly claim, in Congress, to speak in the name of "the people" are acting, instead, for the benefit of those same profiteers? What in the name of sanity has happened to our sense of the common good? What, in this "Christian" country, has happened to those supposedly Christian values of mercy, love of one's neighbor, compassion...?
But now there's Wisconsin. I have been watching news reports from that state, where those whose pocketbooks have been targeted to ante up for the deficit, state workers, are finally in full revolt. Their new Republican governor, having doled out huge tax benefits to business, is now trying to essentially dun the middle class to pay for his munificence. The handful of remaining Democrats in the Wisconsin government have fled to other states, to deprive their Republican opponents of the quorum they need for passage of the proposed union-busting measure to deprive state workers of bargaining rights. And those affected have been out on the streets in masses for the past three days, in a peaceful protest that emulates the events in Egypt and elsewhere in the Mideast. Amazing that we are now beginning to take lessons from countries long dominated by autocracy, in a fledgling attempt to undermine the oligarchy at home.
I have no idea who or where "Mark" is -- the writer of the letter to which I link, above. It may be that, as he suggests, he is no longer with us. His cri de coeur should, by rights, be required daily reading for every Congressman and Senator, as well as for every American voter; it should also be a spark equivalent to the one that set the unemployed Tunisian Mohammed Bouazizi on fire in an act of self-immolation, and led to the turmoil we see today throughout the Mideast as the underprivileged rise to demand their rights and dignity as human beings.
If we want to see democracy take root throughout the world, we should first see to it that it works "for the people" here at home. Complacency ill becomes us.