In the 19th century and earlier, America was called "democratic" while enslaving millions of Blacks, robbing Native peoples of their land and resources, and exterminating them in what perhaps was the world's greatest ever genocide.
In the 20th century, unions formed, organized, grew, and gave workers a seat at the table. It was all for naught. Past gains were lost. Unions today are a shadow of their former selves. They're corrupted, weak, and ineffective. Rank and file issues are marginalized.
Most workers are "overworked, underpaid, unemployed," or underemployed. Earlier civil rights gains are entirely lost. Conditions now are worse than decades ago.
Privilege alone matters. Ordinary people are left out. The nation is becoming Third-Worldized. America the beautiful exists for wealth and power interests only.
"As we continue to rob and kill abroad, and millions of workers fight poverty at home, we also continue to see ourselves as the world's leading democracy."
"Enough of that: we must get to work now to create and maintain a substantial people's movement and take the U.S. toward becoming a genuine democracy."
"That can only be done if millions of us make political actions part of our existence."
It happened successfully in earlier struggles. Challenging authority works with enough commitment. Gains won were lost because energy generated waned.
It's up to people power to create a society worth living in. It's their responsibility to keep it. Otherwise, expect much worse ahead.
Dowd discussed how anti-war activism helped end the Vietnam war.
"The movement was created at a meeting of 18 representatives of political organizations of both the left and the middle. In our strong years, we had more than 200 participating organizations (unions, health care and women's organizations, peace and religious groups, etc.)."
Later during the 1970s, energy waned. Years earlier, however, participating organizations bonded with many "non-war social actions." Hundreds of thousands participated nationwide.
Today, that and more is needed. "We may or may not win, but surely it's better to lose while fighting than while kneeling."
Domestic and geopolitical criminality today are more worrisome now than earlier. Activism against militarism is vital. Other key issues must be addressed.
Most important is "replac(ing) today's heavily corrupted Congress with one that" serves everyone equitably, not just corporate favorites and super-rich elites.