Tuesday, June 07, 2005

the mugging of the American Dream

> Bill Moyers is right on the money on this one!!!
> Literally!!!
> 'The mugging of the American dream'
> Washington is a divided city -- not between north
> and south as in
> Lincoln's time, but between those who can buy all
> the government they
> want and those who can't even afford a seat in the
> bleachers.
> By Bill Moyers, AlterNet
> <http://www.alternet.org/story/22163/>
> Editor's Note: This is an edited transcript of Bill
> Moyer's speech,
> delivered June 3 at the Take Back America conference
> in Washington, D.C.
> Thirty-five years ago, almost to the day, I set out
> on a three-month
> trip of over 10,000 miles to write a book called
> Listening to America. I
> completed the book, but I never finished the trip,
> was never able to
> stay off the road, couldn't stop listening. My
> worldview has been a
> work-in-progress, molded by the stories I've heard
> from the people I've
> met. And I want to tell you about some of those
> people. They reveal
> what's at stake.
> I began with two families in Milwaukee. The
> breadwinners in both
> households lost their jobs in that great wave of
> downsizing in 1991, as
> corporations began moving jobs out of the city and
> then out of the
> country. In a series of documentaries over the next
> decade, my wife and
> partner Judith Davidson Moyers and our colleagues
> chronicled their
> efforts to cope with the wrenching changes in their
> lives and to find a
> place for themselves in the new global order.
> I grew up with people like these. They're the kind
> of people my mother
> would have called the salt of the earth. Takes one
> to know one. They
> love their children, care about their neighborhoods,
> go to church every
> Sunday, and work hard all week. But like millions of
> Americans, these
> two families in Milwaukee were playing by the rules
> and losing. By the
> end of the decade, they were running harder, but
> slipping behind, and
> the gap between them and prosperous America had
> reached Grand Canyon
> proportions.
> I want to show you a very brief excerpt from that
> first documentary. It
> aired in January of 1992 with the title Minimum
> Wages: The New Economy.
> You'll see the father of one family as he looks for
> work after losing
> his machinist job at the big manufacturer, Briggs &
> Stanton. You'll meet
> his wife in their kitchen, as they make a desperate
> call to the bank
> that is threatening to foreclose on their home after
> failing to meet
> their mortgage payments. During our filming, the
> fathers in both
> families became seriously ill. One was hospitalized
> for two months,
> leaving the family $30,000 in debt. You'll hear the
> second family talk
> about what it's like when both parents lose their
> job, depriving them of
> health insurance and putting their kids' education
> up for grabs.
> Incidentally, Claudelle, one of the children in the
> Stanley family, went
> on to join the Navy, and he was in the Pentagon on
> 9/11. He escaped
> unharmed, but as usual, he had taken the route of
> the military to try to
> help the family grope with their financial situation
> and to get himself
> ahead as well. Seeing those people again, I was
> reminded of what turns
> their personal trauma into a political travesty.
> They are deeply
> patriotic. They love this country, but they no
> longer believe that they
> matter to the people who run this country.
> When our film opens in 1992, they are watching the
> inauguration of Bill
> Clinton on television. By the end of the decade,
> when the final film of
> the series aired under the title "Surviving the Good
> Times," they were
> paying little attention to politics. They simply
> didn't believe their
> concerns would ever be addressed by the governing
> elites. And remember,
> this was under the Clinton administration. They're
> not cynical, they're
> too deeply religious to have any capacity for
> cynicism. But they know
> the system is rigged against them and so do we.
> You know the story. For now, a relatively small
> fraction of American
> households have been garnering an extreme
> concentration of wealth and
> income, as large economic and financial institutions
> obtain
> unprecedented power over our daily lives. In 1960,
> in terms of wealth --
> the gap in terms of wealth between the top 20
> percent and the bottom 20
> percent was 30-fold. Four decades later, it is more
> than 75-fold. Now
> such concentrations of wealth would be far less of
> an issue if everyone
> were benefiting proportionately. But that's not the
> case and statistics
> tell the story. I know statistics can cause the eyes
> to glaze over, but
> as one of my mentors once reminded me, it is the
> mark of a truly
> educated man or woman to be deeply moved by
> statistics. Now, this is an
> educated audience with a few exceptions and I want
> to see if these
> statistics move you.
> While we've witnessed several periods of immense
> growth in recent
> decades, the average real income of the bottom 90
> percent of American
> taxpayers -- that's a mass of people -- fell by 7
> percent between 1973
> and 2000. During 2004 and the first couple of months
> of this year, wages
> failed to keep pace with inflation for the first
> time since the 1990
> recession. They were up somewhat in April, but it
> still means that
> working Americans effectively took an across the
> board pay cut at a time
> when the economy grew by a healthy 4 percent and
> corporate profits hit
> record high, as companies got more productivity out
> of workers while
> keeping pay raises down.
> Believe it or not, the United States now ranks the
> highest among the
> highly developed countries in each of the seven
> measures of inequality
> tracked by the index. While we enjoy the
> second-highest GDP in the
> world, excluding tiny Luxembourg, we rank dead-last
> among the 20
> most-developed countries in fighting poverty, and
> we're off the chart in
> terms of the number of Americans living on half the
> median income or less.
> And consider the prognosis -- on the eve of George
> W. Bush's second
> inauguration, The Economist -- not exactly a Marxist
> rag -- produced a
> sobering analysis of what is happening to the old
> notion that any
> American can get to the top. With income inequality
> not seen since the
> first Gilded Age -- and this is the editors of The
> Economist speaking,
> not a radical on PBS like me -- with "an education
> system increasingly
> stratified with fewer resources than those of their
> richer
> contemporaries and great universities increasingly
> reinforcing rather
> than reducing these educational inequalities," with
> corporate employees
> finding it harder "to start at the bottom and rise
> up the company
> hierarchy by den of hard work and self-improvement,"
> with the yawning
> gap between incomes at the top and the bottom, the
> editors of The
> Economist -- all friends of business and advocates
> of capitalism and
> free markets -- concluded that the United States
> "risks calcifying into
> a European-style class-based society."
> Let me run that by you again. The United States
> risks calcifying into a
> European-style class-based society. Or worse -- the
> Wall Street Journal
> is no Marxist sheet either, although its editorial
> page can be just as
> dogmatic as old Stalinist. The Journal's reporters,
> however, are among
> the best in the country. They are devoted to getting
> as close as
> possible to the verifiable truth and describing what
> they find with the
> varnish off. Two weeks ago, a front page leader in
> the Wall Street
> Journal concluded, "As the gap between rich and poor
> has widened since
> 1970, the odds that a child born in poverty will
> climb to wealth or that
> a rich child will fall into the middle class remains
> stuck despite the
> widespread belief that the United States remains a
> more mobile society
> than Europe, economists and sociologists say that in
> recent decades, the
> typical child starting out in poverty in continental
> Europe or in Canada
> has had a better chance at prosperity."
> That knocks the American dream flat on its back. But
> it should put fire
> in our bellies, because what's at stake is nothing
> less than the meaning
> of what it means to be an American. [Applause.] A
> few weeks ago, my
> friend and colleague, Charlie Rose, put a question
> to the new president
> of CNN, Jonathan Klein. He asked, could there ever
> be a successful,
> progressive version of Fox News Channel? Klein
> didn't think so. He said,
> Fox appeals to "mostly angry white men," while
> liberals, you know, they
> don't get too worked up about anything. [Chuckles.]
> Well, let's see if
> this is something to get worked up about.
> Under a headline stretching six columns across the
> page, the New York
> Times reported last year that tuition in the city's
> elite private
> schools -- kindergarten as well as high schools --
> would hit $26,000 for
> the coming school year. On the same page, under a
> two-column headline,
> the Times reported on a school in nearby Mount
> Vernon, just across the
> city line, with a student body that is 97 percent
> black. It is the
> poorest school in town. Nine out of 10 children
> qualify for free
> lunches. One out of 10 lives in a homeless shelter.
> During Black History Month that February, a sixth
> grader who wanted to
> write a report on the poet Langston Hughes could not
> find a single book
> about Hughes in the library -- not one. There's only
> one book in the
> library about Frederick Douglass, none on Rosa
> Parks, Josephine Baker,
> Leontyne Price, or other pathbreakers like them in
> the modern era.
> Except for a couple of Newberry Award books bought
> by the librarian with
> her own money, the books are largely from the 1950s
> and 1960s when all
> the students were white. A child's primer on work
> begins with a
> youngster learning how to be a telegraph delivery
> boy. There's a 1967
> book about telephones with the instruction, "When
> you phone, you usually
> dial the number, but on some new phones, you can
> push buttons." There's
> no card catalog in this library and the newest
> encyclopedia dates from
> 1991 with two volumes missing. Something to get
> worked up about.
> How about this? Caroline Paine's face and gums are
> distorted because the
> Medicare/Medicaid-financed dentures don't fit. Her
> appearance has caused
> her to be continuously turned down for jobs.
> Caroline Paine is one of
> the people in David Shipler's recent book The
> Working Poor: Invisible in
> America. She was born poor. Although she once owned
> her home and earned
> a two-year college degree, Caroline Paine has
> bounced from one
> poverty-wage job to another all her life; equipped
> with the will to move
> up, but lacking the resources to deal with such
> unexpected and
> overlapping problems as a mentally handicapped
> daughter, a broken
> marriage and a sudden layoff that forced her to sell
> her few assets,
> pull up her roots and move on.
> In the house of the poor, Shipler writes, the walls
> are thin and fragile
> and troubles seep into one another. If you believe
> the Declaration of
> Independence means what it says that all of us are
> endowed by the
> creator with a love of life, a longing for liberty,
> a passion for
> happiness, and that Caroline Paine is included in
> that embrace, this is
> something to get worked up about.
> Or this, courtesy of the journalist Mark Shields. It
> seems workers in
> the American territory of the northern Mariana
> Islands were being forced
> to labor under sweatshop conditions, producing
> garments for Tommy
> Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, GAP and Liz Claiborne. The
> garments were then
> shipped tariff-free and quota-free to the American
> market where they
> were entitled to display the coveted Made in the
> U.S.A. label. When
> Senator Frank Murkowski heard that these people were
> being paid barely
> half the US minimum hourly wage and were forced to
> live behind barbed
> wire in squalid shacks without plumbing while
> working 12 hours a day,
> often seven days a week, with none of the legal
> protections US workers
> are guaranteed, he became enraged. He got the Senate
> to pass a bill
> unanimously that would extend the protection of our
> laws to the
> territory of the northern Marianas.
> But then the notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff moved
> into action -- with
> an S.O.S. to his good friend Tom DeLay. The records
> show they met at
> least two dozen times. DeLay traveled to the
> Marianas with his family
> and staff on a scholarship provided by Abramoff's
> clients, where they
> played golf and went snorkeling not far -- you're
> not going to believe
> this -- not far from the sweatshops.
> Was DeLay offended by what he saw? To the contrary,
> he told the
> Washington Post that the sweatshops were a perfect
> petri dish of
> capitalism. ABC News recorded him praising
> Abramoff's clients by saying,
> "You are a shining light for what is happening to
> the Republican party
> and you represent everything that is good about what
> we are trying to do
> in America and leading the world in the free market
> system."
> And Tom DeLay, the right-wing radicals' revisionist
> reincarnation of St.
> Francis of Assisi; Tom DeLay, the Majority Leader of
> the House of
> Representatives of the United States of America
> killed the bill.
> If that doesn't get your dander up, maybe this will.
> As you heard this week, the minimum wage hasn't been
> raised since 1997.
> After the Republicans recently defeated an effort to
> increase it, Rick
> Wilson wrote for commondreams.org of the poverty
> level. Meanwhile, the
> base salary of the members of Congress who voted
> down the wage increase
> is $162,100. That single mom would have to work
> about 31,476 hours to
> earn what those members of Congress get in a year.
> And remember the
> minimum wage she is earning is actually worth less
> than it was 40 years ago.
> It wasn't supposed to be this way. America was not
> meant to be a country
> where the winner takes all. Through a system of
> checks and balances, we
> were going to maintain a decent equilibrium in how
> democracy works. If
> you don't believe me, I'll bring you my copy of the
> Federalist papers.
> Because equitable access to public resources is the
> lifeblood of any
> democracy, America made primary schooling free to
> all. Because everyone
> deserves a second chance, debtors -- especially the
> relatively poor --
> were protected by state laws against their rich
> creditors. Charters to
> establish corporations were open to most, if not
> all, white comers,
> rather than held for elites. Government encouraged
> Americans to own
> their own piece of land and even supported
> squatters' rights. That old
> hope for equal access to opportunity became a
> reality for millions,
> including yours truly.
> Ruby and Henry Moyers were knocked down and almost
> out when the system
> imploded into the Great Depression. They worked hard
> all their lives,
> but they were always poor. My father's last paycheck
> before he retired
> was $96 and change after taxes. We couldn't afford
> books at home, except
> for the Bible, but the public library in Marshall,
> Texas gave me a card
> when I was eight years old. I went to good public
> schools. My brother
> made it to college on the G.I. bill. And in my
> freshman year, I
> hitchhiked to college along public highways,
> stopping to rest in public
> parks. Like millions of us, I was an heir to what
> used to be called the
> commonwealth, the notion of America as a shared
> project. It's in our
> DNA. You know -- we the people, in order to create a
> more perfect union?
> You think about this at the Lincoln Memorial. Like
> you, I've been there
> many times over the years. Back in 1954, when I was
> a summer employee in
> the Senate, I took the same hike every Sunday.
> Starting at the Capitol,
> I headed for the Washington Monument, briskly
> climbed its 898 stairs,
> came down almost as briskly -- remember I was only
> 20 then -- veered
> over to the Jefferson Memorial, and then doubled
> back to the Mall, down
> past the reflecting pool to where Lincoln gazes
> perpetually over the
> city, a city that because of him is the capital of
> the United States of
> America, and just the Northern States of America.
> When you go there nowadays, the temple of democracy
> where Lincoln broods
> seems as deeply steeped in melancholy as it was
> during the McCarthy
> Reign of Terror, the grief of Vietnam, or the crimes
> of Watergate. You
> stand there silently contemplating the words that
> gave voice to
> Lincoln's fierce determination to save the Union,
> his resolve that
> government of, by, and for the people shall not
> perish from the Earth.
> And then you turn, and you look out -- as he does --
> on a city where
> those words are daily mocked.
> This is no longer Lincoln's city and those people
> from all walks of
> life, making their way up those steps to pay their
> respect to this
> martyr for the Union, it's not their city either.
> This is an occupied
> town, a company town -- a wholly owned subsidiary of
> the powerful and
> privileged who have hired the influence industry to
> run it for them.
> It's impossible to know how many lobbyists there are
> in this town, so
> poorly are the records deliberately kept. But the
> Center for Public
> Integrity found their ranks include 240 former
> members of Congress and
> heads of federal agencies and over 2,000 senior
> officials who passed
> through the revolving door at warp speed. Lobbyists
> now spend $3 billion
> a year buying influence and access for their clients
> and, according to
> the New York Times, over the last six years, spent
> more than twice the
> amount spent by candidates for federal office.
> So, once again, this is a divided city -- not
> between north and south as
> in Lincoln's time, but between those who can buy all
> the government they
> want and those -- like the folks in Milwaukee -- who
> can't even afford a
> seat in the bleachers.
> So it is that huge financial institutions like MBNA,
> the credit card
> giant that is the biggest contributor to the
> president's two campaigns
> in the White House, prevail in getting Congress and
> George W. Bush to
> curtail personal bankruptcies, making it harder for
> those families in
> Milwaukee to get a fresh start and a second chance.
> So it is that
> Wal-Mart, with the third-largest political action
> committee in the
> country and pharmaceutical giants with more
> lobbyists in town than there
> are members of Congress join with gun manufacturers
> and asbestos makers
> and the White House to restrict the right of
> aggrieved citizens to take
> corporations to court for malfeasance.
> So it is that even as Exxon-Mobil accumulates more
> than $1 billion a
> month from escalating oil prices -- more than $1
> billion a month after
> allocating for dividends, share repurchases, and
> capital spending -- the
> oil and gas industry wrings huge tax breaks from a
> public already
> squeezed hard by high prices at the gas pumps.
> And so it is that on Sunday before George W. Bush's
> second inauguration,
> Nick Confessore, writing in the New York Times
> Magazine, describes how
> the president's first round of tax cuts has brought
> the United States
> tax code closer to a system under which income from
> savings and
> investments would not be taxed at all and revenues
> from public services
> would be raised exclusively from taxes on working
> men and women. And one
> of the most fervent right-wing class warriors in
> Washington is quoted as
> predicting no capital gains tax, no dividends tax,
> no estate tax, no tax
> on interest. One of the president's enduring
> legacies will be to have
> replaced estate taxes on the wealthy with a sweat
> tax on their gravediggers.
> You see these things, as a journalist, and then you
> read the report by
> the American Political Science Association, which
> says that increasing
> inequalities threaten the American ideal of equal
> citizenship and that
> progress toward real democracy may have stalled in
> this country and even
> reversed. You read in the same report that a quarter
> of all whites in
> this country have no financial assets. Then you read
> on and learn that
> the median white household has 62 percent more
> income and 12 times as
> much wealth as the median black household and that
> 61 percent of
> African-Americans in this country and half of all
> Latinos have no
> financial assets at all.
> Then you open Jared Diamond's new book on how
> societies choose to
> succeed or fail to find a description of an America
> where elites cocoon
> themselves in gated communities, guarded by private
> security guards, and
> filled with people who drink bottled water, depend
> on private pensions,
> and send their children to private schools.
> Gradually, they lose the
> motivation "to support the police force, the
> municipal water supply,
> Social Security, and public schools." Any society
> where the elite
> insulate themselves from the consequence of their
> action, Diamond
> writes, contains a built-in blueprint for failure.
> You read all this and you realize this is what
> you've been seeing with
> your own eyes. You're seeing the mugging of the
> American dream right in
> front of your face. Go with me. Go with me now to a
> small town in
> Pennsylvania. Two years ago for my weekly PBS
> series, NOW with Bill
> Moyers, we spent time there listening to regular
> people talk about
> what's happening in their lives. You'll see on
> camera my introduction to
> the report in the studio. But then you'll be
> eavesdropping on the hidden
> conversation of America, the conversation that the
> ruling powers of this
> country want to stay hidden. Take a look.
> [Video Segment]
> One of our sons says that coincidence is God's way
> of remaining
> anonymous and a young woman came up to me and said,
> Mr. Moyers, I'm from
> Tamaqua. What a coincidence. Patty Borger, come up
> here a minute. I want
> to ask you something. Come up here. I want to ask
> you -- now, we just
> met, I've never met you, didn't know you were going
> to be here -- do you
> think that was a fair -- that was a small excerpt
> from a long
> documentary, but do you think that was a fair
> depiction, what you saw of
> Tamaqua?
> Patty Borger: It is absolutely the depiction of
> Tamaqua, as I shared
> with some of the people that I had dinner with last
> evening. It is that
> and then some.
> Moyers: Thank you, because I want to tell you
> something, thank you very
> much.
> Borger: Thank you.
> I want to tell you something. When that broadcast
> aired, Kenneth
> Tomlinson was watching. Now some of you know that
> Kenneth Tomlinson is
> the chairman of the Corporation for Public
> Broadcasting. He's Karl
> Rove's ally and the right wing's point man on
> keeping tabs on public
> broadcasting. And I'm not making this up -- you've
> heard that he and I
> have been involved in a little dispute of late. I
> didn't know until I
> read it in the Washington Post a few days ago, but
> Mr. Tomlinson himself
> told a reporter that when that broadcast aired, he
> was watching and it
> was too much for him. Reaching into that well-worn
> book of mindless
> right wing clich&#233;s, he called it liberal
> journalism and he
> decided, "right then and there" to bring some
> balance to the public TV
> and radio airwaves. In other words, to counter what
> real people were
> saying about their lives.
> So, what did he do? Well, apparently the sainted Tom
> DeLay was too busy
> snorkeling with lobbyist to take on his own PBS show
> informing the folks
> in Tamaqua that they are the petri dish of
> capitalism. But Mr. Tomlinson
> found kindred spirits at the right-wing editorial
> board of the Wall
> Street Journal, where the "animal spirits of
> business are routinely
> celebrated with nary a negative note about the
> casualties of their
> voracious appetites." So now on public television,
> every week you can
> get an alternative view of reality to life in
> Tamaqua.
> Here's the point. The last thing ideologues want is
> reporting about the
> facts on the ground. Facts on the ground subvert the
> party line. That's
> why if you live where right-wing radio and media
> monopolies dominate the
> airwaves, you're told 100 different ways why
> unregulated markets work
> better than democracy. That's a lie, of course, but
> because you're never
> the other side of the story, it works. Here was
> straightforward
> reporting about people who were in pain for reasons
> not of their own
> making and it was more than a right-wing apparatchik
> could take, because
> too much of the truth might set those people in
> Tamaqua free, might take
> them to the voting booths or even to the streets,
> shouting we're mad as
> hell and we're not going to take it anymore.
> I pause here to call on that old journalistic
> warhorse, Hal Crowther,
> who was a staple at Time and Newsweek and the
> Buffalo News, before going
> his own way with his independent column. Just this
> week, he writes that,
> "The first thing every reporter was taught, back
> when reporters were
> taught things, is that the best way to find the
> truth is to follow the
> money. If the media still hunted with live
> ammunition, Enron,
> Halliburton, and the energy industry's pornographic
> profits would be
> enough to force this oil-soaked, shake-beholden
> government to resign in
> disgrace."
> Remember -- and he goes on to thunder, "worse still
> than handouts to the
> wealthy is the reprehensible new legislation that
> blocks working
> Americans from climbing the hill where the money
> flows."
> Laws, like boulders, roll downhill to crush the
> scrambling underclass,
> the estimated 80 million Americans unable to pay
> their bills. Think
> about what it means to limit personal bankruptcies,
> inhibit class-action
> suits against toxic employers, protect chemical
> polluters from liability
> lawsuits, and cap settlements in personal injury
> cases. It means trying
> to eliminate what little protection of ordinary
> citizens retain against
> corporate leviathans that cheat, exploit, injure,
> empoison them, trap
> them in hopeless jobs, renege on their health care
> and default on their
> pensions. It means stripping leverage from the
> people who have no
> leverage to spare.
> Now, we did that kind of reporting on NOW with Bill
> Moyers and David
> Brancaccio is still doing that kind of reporting.
> Hal Crowther hunts
> with live ammunition. But if Kenneth Tomlinson and
> Karl Rove have their
> way, journalists on public broadcasting will be
> shooting with blanks.
> Let me tell you finally about those people in that
> little town. They
> don't want to get rich. They just want a decent
> paying job They want
> Social Security to be there in their old age for
> their own sake, and so
> their kids won't be burdened with their care. They
> want a simple,
> comprehensive health care system. They want their
> livelihoods and the
> vitality of their communities taken into account, as
> political and
> corporate elites measure profits, economic growth,
> and the GDP.
> And they want the political system cleaned up so the
> playing field is
> more level and their voices are not wholly drowned
> out by the deep
> pockets predators here in Washington DC. These are
> not radical views.
> They're not even liberal views. They're just plain
> American values and
> any reporter who spends any time in the field can
> discover that. You
> just have to get out of the Washington and New York
> studios, throw away
> the talking points sent to you by the Republican
> National Committee,
> stop yakking and start listening, leave the winners
> to their wine and
> buy the losers a beer, and you'll find that the
> actual experience of
> regular people is the missing link in a nation wired
> for everything but
> the truth. And let me tell you, these plain American
> values, the truth
> from an America that is barely holding on, scares
> the hell out of the
> powers that be.
> I'm going to skip over the heart of my speech.
> [Campaign for America's
> Future executive co-director] asked me to talk about
> the past and how
> progressives have always put themselves in front of
> a juggernaut of
> wealth and privilege that is always threatening,
> from the end of the
> civil war through the 1920s, always threatening to
> roll over the last
> vestiges of democracy in this country. And I had a
> wonderful section on
> that, which I'll get Bob to publish on his
> website.tompaine.com.
> But I want to say, they're back, my friends. They're
> back in full force
> with a lock on all the three branches of government
> and most of the
> media and their goal is to take America back -- back
> to their private
> garden of Eden in the first Gilded Age, when the
> strong took what they
> wanted and the weak suffer what they want. Look no
> further than today's
> news. Donaldson is out at the SEC. He was trying too
> hard to look out
> for the interests of shareholders in the public, so
> the president's big
> donors, the captains of industry and finance who
> manipulated the first
> Gilded Age cashed in their IOU's and Donaldson is
> out, replaced by a
> right-wing Congressman who takes a dim view of
> shareholder suits and
> supports eliminating the estate tax, the dividend
> tax, and other taxes
> on the idle rich. Once again, they've sold the
> chicken coop to the fox.
> So what do you do? What do you do? Well,
> progressives have to be like
> the Irishman who was walking down the street and saw
> a brawl and said,
> is this a private fight or can anybody get in it?
> Well, you've got to go
> home and jump in. You've got to tell the truth about
> the other side.
> You've got to fight the corruption of the system.
> But don't stop with
> reporting how bad they are. It's not enough to say
> how bad they are.
> Show us a new vision of globalization with a
> conscience. Stand up for
> working and middle-class people and those in the
> middle and those who
> can't stand alone. Don't be cowed, intimidated, or
> frightened. You may
> be on the losing side of the moment, but you're on
> the right side and
> winning side of history.
> And I remind you, history could come tomorrow. Have
> some fun while you
> fight. Americans are more likely to join the party
> that enjoys a party.
> Come to think of it, go out there and argue that
> working people should
> have more time off from the endless hours of tedious
> work that devours
> the soul and the long commutes that devastate
> families and community.
> And one last bit of advice, don't forget your
> homework. I'm giving you
> some summer reading as it used to be said. My book
> next week comes out,
> as Bob says. But, more important than my book, I
> want you to read this
> book. It comes out in late July. It's called Thomas
> Paine and the
> Promise of America, by a historian at the University
> of Wisconsin named
> Harvey J. Kaye.
> Thomas Paine was the journalist of the American
> revolution who called
> forth the better angels of our nature, who imbued us
> with our democratic
> impulse, and articulated our American identity with
> exceptional purpose
> and promise. It was Tom Paine who argued that
> America would afford an
> asylum for mankind, provide a model to the world,
> and support the global
> advance of republican democracy. This is tonic for
> flagging spirits
> facing great odds, for it is Thomas Paine who
> insists that it is too
> soon to write the history of the revolution. You,
> you, you, and you, and
> you, and you, and you Patty, and you, you're going
> to write the history
> of the revolution, and that is what's at stake.
> &#169; 2005 Independent Media Institute.

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