I consider myself reasonably well informed, and at least somewhat aware of how the world is going, which of course is not too great. But the one book I am gradually digesting makes it feel as if my eyes were closed tight and are now popping out of my head.
You may well have read it, or any number of countless reviews of it, but I would like to toss out just one quote, that I would say is representative of the whole book. I used to think that what America has become in the past three decades is something different from what it was while I was growing up, but I am learning daily that the roots of what we now see are deep, strong, intimately connected, and well-tended by a small handful of people.
The following quote is from Howard Zinn's amazing work, "A Real People's History of the United States." The speaker is Mary Ellen Lease, a great orator from the Populist Party, Topeka Kansas, 1890:
"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street, and for Wall Street" Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags". the politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children" starve to death every year in the U.S. and over 100,000 shop girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for bread".
"There are thirty men in the United States whose aggregate wealth is over one and one-half billion dollars. There are half a million looking for work". We want money, land and transportation. We want the abolition of the National Banks, and want the power to make loans direct from government. We want the accursed foreclosure system wiped out". We will stand by our homes and stay by our firesides by force if necessary, and we will not pay our debts to the loan-shark companies until the Government pays its debts to us."
(If I have "over-quoted," I can only plead that I am trying to get others to read this book, one we all should have studied in high school history, though the first copyright wasn't until 1980.) The late Howard Zinn did an astounding job of researching facts, quotes, events, personalities, statistics, and more--often if not usually from hard-to-find sources--and then tying those elements into a coherent historical tome, that is almost as readable as a fast-paced novel.
The country we live in is not the one you thought, unless you are a historian or already read this extraordinary work. The one quote above is representative of things you'll find on every page. The methods of control over our ideas and attitudes have only been refined through the ages, and now enhanced with the mainstream media. Check this book out, and I imagine there isn't much going on politically that you won't see in a different light, rooted solidly and soundly in eternal class warfare.
For more general info on this book and some of the impact it has had, I recommend a look at the write-up on it in Wikipedia.