Wednesday, March 05, 2014

A voice in the wilderness: Alan Grayson

I like Congressman Alan Grayson who represents the 9th district of Florida and I follow him on Twitter. The quote above is interesting to me because I think it is emblematic of how far to the right the entire political debate has been pushed over the last thirty years. Grayson’s statement seems to me like a level headed, common sense truism that is really beyond debate, but when this kind of idea is thrown out into the media lion’s den it is immediately attacked like a raw steak. Socialism! Redistribution of wealth! An attack on individual initiative! A vote for the welfare state!

Characterizations of what America should stand for like Grayson’s were mainstream during my youth in the 60s and early 70s, but today they’re considered radical and outside “acceptable” political debate. It sounds Pollyannaish and at the same time dangerous to the pundit class in America. We’re too grown up to take this kind of liberal gibberish seriously.

The reality is, of course, that America is in decline precisely because our corporate overlords and their media lackeys have rejected the ideals of Franklin Roosevelt, JFK, Eugene McCarthy, Paul Wellstone, Elizabeth Warren and Alan Grayson. Equality is now a code word for socialism. Justice is putting whistleblowers in jail. Poverty is individual failure and has nothing to do with our institutional biases toward the rich or racism.

The ideals embodied in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are no longer taken seriously and are instead twisted and contorted to support the elites and suppress the 99%. When the Supreme Court decides that corporations are people, you know we are in serious trouble. Alan Grayson is a voice in the wilderness, like liberal and progressive politicians before him, but he certainly deserves a wider audience.

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