In February 2011 there will be a giant celebration of the 100th birthday of Ronald Reagan. You might not think of that as anything important even if you understand the detrimental affect he had on progressivism in this country. After all, he was president and there are people who even mark the birthday of such obscure presidents as Calvin Coolidge (ironically, one of Reagan's heroes). Do not disregard this event because it is slated to have dire consequences promoting the cause of unbridled cronyism for the wealthy, unregulated financial institutions, opposition to meaningful healthcare reform and an attack on the well being of the lower and middle class.
Listen to the Republicans running for office now. John McCain proudly announces that he wraps himself in the cloak of Reagan conservatism and the conservatives, Tea Partiers and those ready to vote against their own interests cheer. My recent Op Ed article, "Ronald Reagan- An American Myth" states the case that all the ills we suffer today originated with the "great communicator". There is no doubt and William Keinknecht presents a much more detailed and compelling case in his book, "The Man Who Sold The World".
The celebration will be a continuation of the Tea Party rhetoric but now, each time they mention that the government is out to take away your liberty, they will quote Reagan: "Government is not the solution, government is the problem." The cheers will be deafening and the faithful will leave fortified in the knowledge that their cause would be blessed by Ronald. Just picture Sara Palin shrieking in her high-pitched voice most reminiscent of fingernails on a black board. She is the modern day Reagan: no knowledge, just mouth and an assigned cheerleader. Have no doubt that the event will be a reinforcement of the anti-government call to action.
And what are we progressives doing about it? Basically, we are doing nothing. We listen to the news, watch TV, see a congressman spit on, hear lies over and over and start fearing actual gun touting idiots. Say what you want but the Tea Party is heard and, more importantly, has the attention of the media. It is not just them but it is also Republican officials who don't join in but refuse to repudiate the angry threats.
Progressives do nothing and so, by default, it seems that they agree. There are no effective rallies and I don't mean rallies for candidates. The Tea Party represents the extreme of the Republican Party. We need the extreme of the Democratic Party, the true liberals, taking their case to the people. We need rallies that point out that insurance companies will continue to rape you until we have a single payer system or at least a public option. We need to explain in angry tones that the banks and Wall Street are still garnering large profits right out of your pockets. We need to loudly and clearly state that the Fair Tax proposal is the most unfair tax ever suggested.
I believe that we are more intelligent and more intellectual than the people on our right. That is not a reason to feel that rallies and anger are beneath us. We need to get out there and mix it up. We need to bring back all those people who have been voting against their own interests for years. Will someone please step forward? It is not enough to espouse your cause on MSNBC. Everyone listening already agrees with you. Start an organization with a snappy title like "The Peoples Party."
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