America is at war.
When Bernie Sanders began his presidential campaign as a relatively unknown senator from rural Vermont, he outlined a platform of providing health care as a right, a commitment to higher education for our young people, a refusal to sweep aside issues of civil rights and injustice for an oppressed African-American community, and a determination to get big money out of our political process. From the outset, he took pains to tell us that he could not do this alone. He told us to expect that forces would align against such a cause. Consequently, he stressed that what we needed in this country was a political revolution. Well, it is here and it is not going away.
In the aftermath of yet another fraud besmirched primary, this time in New York, the Clinton campaign has issued a series of condescending petitions to the Sanders supporters, couched in vague threats of the possibility of a Trump or Cruz presidency, and have required of those supporters that it is time they get in line behind Secretary Clinton. What they have failed to grasp all along is that their candidate stands as the personification of all that this revolution is set to confront.
On the surface, this has every appearance of a class war, pitting the millionaire and billionaire classes against the middle and working classes. It is a revolution setting the haves against the have nots with the presumptive nominee imploring all of us to just have a slice of the corporate cake. But there is a deeper distinction. This revolution is really one of money vs. morality. Now, morality is always an issue in American elections. But this year, morality is not defined as the thou shalt nots of denying abortion rights or denying LGBT rights. Instead, it is the morality of thou shalt provide health care to all Americans, thou shalt pay workers a living wage, thou shalt pay women on an equal footing with men, thou shalt heal the divide between races in this country and treat all of us as equal under the law, and thou shalt provide a level playing field of opportunity for all of us. You can trim the fat with thou shalt not. Thou shalt is going to cost you.
Europeans love to refer to Americans as puritanical for our seeming obsession with righteousness and sexual morality. Yet, it is the clarity of our world view, born of that refusal to submit to a perceived injustice, that defines the American psyche. We each have our line in the sand and once crossed, the fight is on. That line has been crossed. This is our Revolution and we mean to have it out.
The Sanders campaign is an altogether humanitarian endeavor. It stresses the undeniable morality that it is a human right for all, regardless of economic status, to be provided with the best health care of which we are capable, that it is a civil right that none of us should live in fear of the police or of a government which would treat any group as natural resources for a privatized, corporate prison system, and that equality under the law should also mean an economic equality between men and women. Similarly, it finds a moral imperative in saying that if we are to lift people in this country from poverty, we must provide meaningful opportunities for education and a living wage. And it shouts that there is no moral defense for sending our young people to fight and die in a senseless war for what our opponent deems a “business opportunity.”
But Corporate America and Wall Street pull the strings of their store bought functionaries, who proclaim, “The cost! Think about the cost!”
Greedy, god-damned soulless bastards. How do you sleep? How do you balance the scales of children dying of lead poisoning in Flint, Michigan with something so ultimately unimportant as money? How do you console the husband or wife of a soldier lost to an IED in Iraq while congratulating yourself on the new business opportunity presented by a war ravaged nation? How do you justify your twenty million dollar salary when your employees require food stamps just to survive on the wages you pay? Our adversaries in this revolution are the Cynics of Oscar Wilde, the people who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
Our opponents try to paint this revolution as a seventeen year cicada, a noisy occurrence in an otherwise tranquil summer. It is not. For this revolution understands that it is as old as our country itself. The same people who stood up to the British Empire in 1776, who risked tearing the very country asunder in the Civil War in order to do what they knew to be right, and who landed on the beaches at Normandy to bring a new breath of freedom to a fallen Europe, are the people who today are grimly set to take back their government, their country and their children’s future.
And Money asks, “What if we gave you more money? What if we gave you enough money to make you forget how much you’ve been screwed and just look the other way?”
Not this time. The rallying cry of this revolution is not me, us. We know what we must do. If it is within our power to change this country at the ballot box, to cut out the cancer that has destroyed our economy and enslaved the middle and working classes from within, we will do so. If we have to take our country by force, we may find that we are prepared to do that as well.
The Clinton campaign and the DNC have gravely underestimated this Revolution. They have convinced themselves that we would never allow a loudmouthed, bigoted fear-mongering, ne’er-do-well game show host to assume the Presidency. Yes, we know who Trump is. We also recognize a corporate shill and a corrupt, venal, political panderer when we see one. Trump, for all his faults, is happy in his own skin. Somehow, to many of us, that is less distasteful than someone who would have us believe that she is what she is not.
Americans have a mottled history. We are not always the guys in the white hats. But we have enough examples of times when we got it right, to be able to define that quality and to know that we can do it. The Baby Boomers who today are in their fifties, sixties and seventies received that legacy from their parents, the greatest generation. And so it is that the Baby Boomers should well know just how lucky they were to be born when and where they were. They had the chance to grow up with this emerging industrial giant and to reap the benefits of being an American in an age when America dominated the entire world. The same can not be said for the young people today, facing a bleak future in a Wal-Mart driven economy.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that, “it is never the wrong time to do the right thing.” In our hearts, we all know what is the right thing. Some of us just don’t want to have to pay for it. Some of us don’t want to have to spend their money to help others in need. Some of us have chosen to put their own interests above those of our country, our children and the generations to come. And so some of us would cast our votes for a candidate whose policies and allegiances have fortified the walls of the Bastille, to keep the rabble separated from the explosive gunpowder within. You know who you are. You are cowards.
There is a strange parallel between the political climate today and the climate of 1776. In the first American Revolution, we rose up against the British and George III under the cry of “taxation without representation.” Think about that a minute. The colonies were being exploited for their resources and treasure by a wealthy elite who provided the colonials with no opportunity to represent themselves and their own interests in the legal halls of government. Today, Wall Street and Corporate America write the legislation which their lackeys in government pass into law, affording the wealthiest among us the opportunity to exploit the resources and economy of a middle and working class who are being systematically denied a voice in government through a rigged election process and corrupt campaign financing.
And the DNC and Clinton campaigns wonder why we choose not to attend the coronation. To us, she is just another George III.
As it did in 1776, so has this new American Revolution risen from the countryside and a mix of tradespeople, laborers, the newly adult and the philosophically mature but idealistic, thinkers all. We have drawn the line in the sand and those who would own us have crossed it. There is no going back. If the DNC and Clinton campaigns persist in their boldfaced rigging of this election, we will dismantle the Democratic party brick by golden brick. It is only fitting that we will convene once again in Philadelphia.
Vive la Revolution!