The rich and powerful didn't "give" the rest of us fair living conditions, fair wages, fair working hours, safe workplaces, child labor laws, health care benefits, pensions, Social Security, uncontaminated food, clean air, clean water and other basic human rights.
Those rights and privileges had to demanded and fought for. Progressive leaders like Republican President Theodore Roosevelt, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and thousands of other courageous American citizens struggled hard for many years, and some even died, to obtain those rights.
The rich and powerful despised and resented Republican President Teddy Roosevelt's promise of a "Square Deal" for all Americans. They fought tooth and nail to defeat Democratic President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's promise of a "New Deal" to all Americans. Not many of us today are aware that a group of the wealthiest industrialists of his day even hatched a plot to assassinate FDR, but they failed.
In one of FDR's campaign speeches--available on YouTube--he strongly and courageously pronounced to the rich and powerful "I welcome your hatred!" Nothing could sway him from his goal of gaining jobs and improved working conditions for all Americans.
Since Republican President Ronald Reagan came to power there has been a fierce effort by the rich and powerful, supported mostly by the Republican Party, to undo, reduce and eliminate many of the rights and privileges that middle and lower class American citizens gained through labor unions, the Square Deal, the New Deal, Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty and other Progressive efforts.
As I speak, millions of hard-working Americans are losing their jobs, their fair wages, their rights and even their homes. The Middle class is disappearing and many, if not most, of us are becoming "the working poor."
And the rich and powerful are still trying to convince Americans that if we give them even more tax cuts that we too will benefit, that they will "share the wealth" with the rest of us by creating more jobs and improved wellbeing for all.
In other words, they are still trying to sell us Reagan's "Trickle-down" economic theory--which,
under all of its fancy words--says simply that if you pile more food on the plates of the rich and powerful then more food crumbs will fall under the table for the rest of us, the mice.
At the same time that they are trying to seduce us with these promises, the rich and powerful continue to demonize and condemn liberal and Progressive politicians and citizens who are truly fighting for worker's rights--labeling them "Communists," "Socialiists," and even "Fascists."
Let me provide just one glaring example of what those at the top don't want us to have--the right to affordable health care. The very same kind of health care that is provided to all of our elected officials. But they criticize and condemn it as "Socialized Medicine" if the rest of us want it, and claim that it's "too expensive" to allow average Americans to have it.
They prefer to leave health care in the hands of wealthy insurance and pharmaceutical companies who charge healthy Americans too much for health care while they deny benefits to those who have "pre-existing conditions,"--the ones who need care the most, but would reduce their outrageous profits. My wife and I have been denied health care coverage ourselves, because one of us had a stroke 14 years ago, and the other one of us has high blood pressure.
In closing, let me say that it is high time for another strong Progressive Movement in our country, for the sake of ourselves, our families and our grandchildren. A growing number of Americans have already begun this movement to take back America for all Americans, not just the chosen few at the top.
I invite all of you to join us, before even more of our rights and benefits are lost.