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If You Succumb to Cynicism, The Regressives Win it All

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This is for those of you who consider yourself to be progressive but have given up on politics because it seems rotten to the core. You may prefer Obama to Romney but don't think there's a huge difference between the two, so you may not even vote.

Your cynicism is understandable. But cynicism is a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you succumb to it, the regressives who want to take this nation back to the 19th century win it all.

The Koch brothers, Karl Rove, the rabid Republican right, CEOs and Wall Street titans who want to entrench their privileges and tax advantages -- all of them would like nothing better than for every progressive in America to throw in the towel. 

Then America is entirely theirs.

The alternative to cynicism is to become more involved in politics. Help create a progressive force in this nation that grows into a movement that can't be stopped.

We almost had it last year in the Occupy movement. We had the arguments and the energy. What we lacked was organization and discipline.

I've spent years in Washington and I know nothing good happens there unless good people outside Washington are organized and mobilized to put pressure on Washington to make it happen.

This isn't new. In the election of 1936, a constituent approached FDR with a list of things she wanted him to do if reelected. "Ma'am," he said, "I'd like to do all those things. But if I'm reelected, you must make me."

We must make them.

I suggest a two-step plan...

Step one: Vote for Barack Obama for President and vote for every Democratic senator and representative in Congress. Get off your ass and make sure your friends and relatives do the same.

Step two: Starting Election Day, regardless of who's elected, commit at least three hours every week to political organizing and mobilizing. Connect with other progressives in your city and state. Help find and recruit new progressive candidates to run against Republicans in swing states, and against conservative Democrats. Support the members of the progressive caucus in Congress. Raise money. Raise a ruckus.

Make it our goal to reverse Citizens United, even if it takes a constitutional amendment. And have public financing of elections (including requiring the media to provide free political advertising as part of their commitment to public service).

Also break up the biggest banks and resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act.

Put a 2 percent surtax on wealth in excess of $3 million. And a one-tenth of 1 percent transaction tax on every financial transaction. And restore top tax rates to what they were before Ronald Reagan became president.

Use half this revenue to pay down the national debt and half to make sure every American has a world-class education.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at
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Come down out of your ivory tower Mr. Reich, come ... by David Glenn Cox on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 4:22:40 PM
David, thanks for the post.  I am not enamore... by Bayard Waterbury on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 6:32:51 PM
Romney /Obama are figureheads for the money party... by David Glenn Cox on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 6:13:46 AM
all do respect, Your above post makes absolutely n... by Kevin Tully on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 11:16:11 PM
I'm talking about a political class which is total... by David Glenn Cox on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 6:25:22 AM
Granted Robert Reich is a chirpy bluebird in a gil... by James Hadstate on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 7:12:23 AM
Has been spent learning how to grow enough food to... by Faith Carr on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 4:49:50 PM
What does the mob have to do with the vote done ri... by BFalcon on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 11:16:22 PM
The ideas he is putting forward is a bunch of crap... by Tony Orlando on Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 at 1:59:07 AM
Although I would love to feel like a vote for Rock... by Bayard Waterbury on Thursday, Oct 25, 2012 at 6:29:40 PM
I coiuld rsmble abojt it for a very long time ... by Mark Sashine on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 7:47:38 AM
"America is not a true Democratic Republic as Thom... by E. J. N. on Friday, Oct 26, 2012 at 9:42:51 PM
reply to David Glenn Cox:   Hey man, it's a... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 at 6:49:23 AM
reply to Faith Carr:   Thanks!   Ned... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 at 7:03:58 AM
One thing I would like to point out about guys lik... by Ned Lud on Saturday, Oct 27, 2012 at 7:24:45 AM