Summary: Posts on the FM website almost always provide either bad news or painful recommendations. Today’s post describes one of the few bursts of sunlight through the clouds darkening America. Two journalists have stumbled upon the first step to reforming America. Should they be heard — should we take them seriously — great things might result. The ball rests in your hands Pass it one.
“Liberty means responsibility. That is why most men dread it.”
—George Bernard Shaw, “Man and Superman” (1903)
- When does it become our fault?
- We should care. But we don’t, not really.
- For More Information
Taking responsibility for America
is the first step to reforming America.
(1) A good Leftist asks “When does it become our fault?”
Charles Pierce of Esquire asks “When does it become our fault?”
… Those people who voted against the UAW in Chattanooga did not do so under actual guns.
Nobody was waiting outside the building to beat them up or burn them in their tents. Hell, the damn company was on their side — or, at least, studiously (and honestly) neutral. And still they could get ginned up in their fear enough not to vote for their own economic self-interest, because they allowed people who they know — or ought to know — would sell their jobs to Vietnam for three cents on the dollar to convince them that the UAW was a threat to their livelihoods. At some point, blaming it all on the conjurings of political consultants isn’t a sufficient answer any more.
When does it become our fault?
I don’t work there. I don’t presume to speak for anyone who does, but what happened in Chattanooga is a nice microcosm of what happens in hundreds of other places, and in dozens of other elections. It’s time to stop using fear and ignorance and apathy as excuses for why things do not change. We do not have the worst Congress in the history of the republic by accident. Nobody smuggled them into the Capitol in the dead of night. We have the worst Congress in the history of the republic because too many Democratic voters were too lazy to stop it, and because too many Republicans believe too much crazy bullshit and, worse for us all, they act on it, which makes the Democratic lassitude even less forgivable.
When does it become our fault?
I’m sorry, but this was a bluff in Tennessee, albeit a powerful one. If the vote had gone the other way, does anyone really believe the legislature actually was going to knuckle VW? And, if the legislature did that, to the detriment of the Tennessee economy and the workers dependent thereon, wouldn’t that be a reason to vote those idiots out at the very next opportunity? Shouldn’t the nonsense peddled by Corker rebound against him in the next election? And, if the whole thing was about the specter of “Detroit” — with all the cultural freight that can be placed upon it by an experienced race-baiter like Corker — then the people who jump at shadows should be blamed for having done so.
I am tired of a country run on automatic pilot. Things happen in a democracy because we either make them happen, or because we allow them to happen. There is no third alternative. Ultimately, it is always our fault.
Yes, it is always our fault. In a Republic the citizens have the right of self-government, accompanied by responsibility for the results. That we so seldom hear these words shows the nature of our problem. It’s not on our national “to do” lists.
(2) A good conservative says that we don’t care
One of the annoying things about believing in free will and individual responsibility is the difficulty of finding somebody to blame your problems on. And when you do find somebody, it’s remarkable how often his picture turns up on your driver’s license.
— P J O’Rourke, Rolling Stone, 30 November 1989
“Waiting For Huey“, Rod Dreher (Senior Editor), The American Conservative, 19 February 2014 — Excerpt:
“All of this is supposed to be merry, high-jinksy, unpretentious, wickedly self-spoofing. But it seems more self-exposing, doesn’t it? And all of it feels so decadent.
“No one wants to be the earnest outsider now, no one wants to play the sober steward, no one wants to be the grind, the guy carrying around a cross of dignity. No one wants to be accused of being staid. No one wants to say, ”This isn’t good for the country, and it isn’t good for our profession.’
“And it is all about the behavior of our elites, our upper classes, which we define now in a practical sense as those who are successful, affluent and powerful. This group not only includes but is almost limited to our political class, Wall Street, and the media, from Hollywood to the news divisions.
“They’re all kind of running America. They all seem increasingly decadent. What are the implications of this, do you think?
“They’re making their videos, holding their parties and having a ball. OK. But imagine you’re a Citizen at Home just grinding through — trying to do it all, the job, the parenthood, the mowing the lawn and paying the taxes. No glamour, all responsibility and effort. And you see these little clips on the Net where the wealthy sing about how great taxpayer bailouts are and you feel like . . . they’re laughing at you.
“What happens to a nation whose elites laugh at its citizens? …”
That’s nice rhetoric; I ask the same questions. Unfortunately, the answer I get is: nothing much. We don’t care. Should we care? Of course we should care. But we don’t, not really.
Those elites get away with it because we either don’t know what to do about them, or can’t muster the political focus and will to do anything at all about them. After the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, we couldn’t even get a proper Pecora Commission. Then again, Pecora got to be Pecora because the American public of the 1930s demanded it.
Us? Not so much.
For More Information
(a) Reference pages about American politics:
- Posts about politics in America
- How can we stop the quiet coup now in progress?
- Posts about reforming America
(b) Steps to fixing America:
- Fixing American: taking responsibility is the first step
- Five steps to fixing America
- A third try: The First Step to reforming America — Organizing
- The second step to reforming America — Building a big organization
- The third step to reforming America, with music
- How to recruit people to the cause of reforming America
- Swear allegiance to the truth as a step to reforming America, 24 November 2013
(c) Operational issues in the project to reform America:
- How to stage effective protests in the 21st century, 21 April 2009
- The bad news about reforming America: time is our enemy, 27 June 2013
- Why the 1% is winning, and we are not, 26 July 2013
- How can we arouse a passion to reform America in the hearts of our neighbors?, 20 December 2013
- Is grassroots organizing a snare or magic bullet for the reform of America?, 26 December 2013
- Should we risk using anger to arouse America?, 16 January 2014
(d) Other posts about reforming America:
- Fixing America: the choices are elections, revolt, or passivity, 18 August 2008
- The project to reform America: a matter for science or a matter of will?, 16 March 2010
- Can we reignite the spirit of America?, 14 September 2010
- Should we despair, giving up on America?, 5 May 2012
- We are alone in the defense of the Republic, 5 July 2012
- Thoreau reminds us about one of the few tools we have to control the government, 24 June 2013
- Understand our problem before you prescribe a cure for America. We’ve gone mad., 17 September 2013
- In “Network”, Howard Beale asks us to get mad and do something. He’s still waiting., 19 October 2013
- The missing but essential key to building a better America, 21 November 2013 — Clear sight about our condition
- Today you can take the first step to reforming America, 6 February 2014
(e) Posts about using music as a tool to revitalize America:
- A great artist died today. We can gain inspiration from his words., 26 June 2009 — About the Man in the Mirror
- The New America needs a new national anthem! Here’s my nomination., 24 November 2012
- Listen to hear the state of America (and its cure) explained in song, 8 February 2013
- The third step to reforming America, with music, 3 September 2013