Keep working for change, friends. People know that our country has a lot of problems and that the cliche political answers and typical quick fixes of the major parties haven’t worked.
In the 1880s and 1890s, a prairie wildfire swept through American politics. The generation of pioneers that had taken the risk to head out west and take advantage of Abe Lincoln’s Homestead Act, where our government literally gave away free land to any poor and working class people, had successfully battled terrible weather and intense loneliness. They had worked their butts off to become farmers and ranchers, and made a good life for themselves. But when railroad barons, Wall Street bankers, and oil monopolists began to squeeze them and make it tougher and tougher to make a living farming and ranching, they rose up and started organizing a populist movement that changed American politics and policies. States like the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma rebelled against pro-big business politicians, and much of what they demanded- breaking up the big corporate trusts, tougher financial regulations, easier credit, Social Security, a minimum wage, an 8 hour work day and no child labor, women’s suffrage, stronger labor unions- eventually became incorporated in the reforms of the Progressive era of the early 1900s and the New Deal of the 1930s.
There are many alternatives to our current form of capitalism. The Libertarian Left is one very important theory of social and economic organization. If you find yourself dissatisfied with mainstream politics and the major political parties, you owe it to yourself to investigate different ways of viewing the world.
As for myself, in particular, I have no hard-core allegiance to any particular theory. At this point, I think we simply need more people to start to investigate the alternatives. While many of the average middle-class citizens are cynical of mainstream politics, they nonetheless either end up getting caught up in conventional political debate or just check out of the process all together. What seems critical to me, at this point, is to bring to people’s attention the many alternative ways of viewing social and economic organization. With all of the intelligent ideas out there, with all of the challenges to capitalism, I believe with my whole heart that things really and truly don’t have to be the way they are. A better world is more possible and feasible than most of us can dare to believe.
One of my own (many) gripes against capitalism is that it breeds huge mutant monopoly companies who eat their families. When big industries are deregulated, the powerful tend to use their power to squash competition, or merge with other powerful companies. They then use this new strength to squeeze out even more competition until they remain, alone, at the top of the heap. (Think about the old days when princes would murder their brothers and any other familial rival…Hey, at least they were honest.)
This sad capitalistic story keeps replaying itself in American, and if you want, you can make a bag of popcorn and watch it unfold, as mega-bucks mutant freak corporation Comcast grows bigger and bigger….But be warned, watching it unfold may require shelling out big bucks to Comcast for an internet bundle plan.
“Birth control should be an important topic to those of us who consider ourselves pro-life because the most effective way to curb the abortion rate in this country is to make birth control more affordable and accessible…”
“….those who oppose coverage of birth control based on their religious or pro-life convictions must take into consideration the fact that lack of coverage may actually lead to more abortions. And we must remember that shrugging off birth control as something people should be able to easily pay for on their own betrays some of our own economic privilege in this conversation…”
I recently saw a chart that indicated that the most searched Google questions during the State of the Union address was in regards to the minimum wage. It was overwhelming. Clearly there is interest in the subject. A question popped into my head: what would I do if I had only two choices — keep the status quo as it is or raise the minimum wage to $50 an hour? Without a doubt, I would take the second choice and jack the minimum wage way up. I suppose that’s a fairly controversial opinion.
“Philosophy? Philosophy? I am a Christian and a Democrat, that is all.” – FDR, from Freedom from Fear by David Kennedy, the current history text with which I am having a stimulating fling
Yet after a decade on the books, President George W. Bush’s most hyped domestic accomplishment has become a symbol to many of federal overreach and Congress’ inability to fix something that’s clearly flawed.
This is a good, short article on evangelical activism for the coming election. Although I am passionate and informed in my political beliefs, I am starting to become convinced that backing politicians, movements, or political ideologies is a very bad move for churches. Read more
“If you are a white American today and [say]…’I go to church every week’…the probabilities are quite high that you are Republican. And if you…are white and you say, ‘No, I never go to religious services…I don’t have a religious identity,’ the chances are much higher than predicted that you would be a Democrat.” Read more
A few excerpts from a TIME article: A New Way to Fight Mexico’s Vicious Cartels: Legalizing Marijuana Read more
I finished a biography on Ronald Reagan last fall. It was interesting to read because there is much mythology surrounding the Gipper. He was certainly a staunchly conservative ideologue, as those on the Right assert. However, he also compromised a good deal, when it came to actual policy. Read more
Like many of you, my fellow Americans, my knowledge of the Islamic worldview and the history of the Middle East is shameful, at least in comparison with my knowledge of Western civilization. There is as much intrigue in the Middle East as there has ever been: protests, violence, and calls for democracy; continued conflict between Israel and her neighbors; a history of European and U.S. exploitation to grapple with; terrorist organizations and political protection for them; and a good deal of oil still to be sucked up and distributed around the globe. The West vs. East question continues to define our times, with consequences that will outlive us. Read more