The War on the American Dream: are you on the side of enabling corporate greed or are you on the side of defending the American Dream for working families?
Obama comes out swinging:
Now the Republicans, you know, when I talked about this earlier in the week, they said, well, this is class warfare. You know what? If asking a billionaire to pay their fair share of taxes, to pay the same tax rate as plumber or teacher is class warfare, then you know what? I’m a warrior for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for the middle class. I’m happy to fight for working people, ‘cause the only warfare I’ve seen is the battle that’s been waged against the middle class over the last 10, 15 years.” – President Barack Obama, September 22, 2011.
DailyKos published a post chronicling how the war against the American Dream has been a relatively silent one until now:
The war against the middle class has been a relatively silent one until now. For decades, certain corporate interests and their influence peddlers in Washington (both lobbyists and politicians alike) have orchestrated a stealth ambush targeted at the core of American society.
President Obama’s new aggressive tone and his pledge to be a “warrior for the middle class” reflect a changed dynamic. Politicians are finally realizing that true populism yields better policy and better political results. Whether they take to the bully pulpit for more votes or for real action, at the very least, they’ve decided to step on to the battlefield.
The conflict between a segment of our society that desires to hoard our nation’s wealth at the expense of the majority and a majority that seeks to breathe life again into the American Dream will not reach a conclusion in a single election cycle. No single president or single session of Congress can undue the injuries sustained by the middle class over the last decades.
But realizing that we’re in a battle is a positive first step.
…or as Professor of Linguistics George Lakoff has put it more eloquently:
To realize the Dream, we must end the Nightmare.
We must turn back the Right’s assault on public and higher education and meet our traditional commitment to education. Our children are tomorrow’s public. The future of democracy depends upon them.
We must rebuild our public infrastructure, a fancy term for the necessities we share: roads, bridges, dams, parks, fair grounds, water mains, sewers, and the power grid; public agencies that monitor disease, weather and food safety. Government that works for all of us can and should create jobs that serve us all by rebuilding our shared necessities.
We must come together publicly to mutually ensure the health of all America. Health is not a private matter. It is public one.
We must protect the prior earnings of American workers set aside in Social Security or private pensions. They have been earned through hard work and discipline. Taking these earnings away is theft, despite the Right’s use of the word “entitlements.”
A public of unequal voices is not a democratic public. We need a progressive tax system through which all Americans pay their fair share and a business ethics that fairly rewards those whose work creates productivity and profit.
We must put the American individual above abstract corporate entities. We must end “corporate personhood,” which gives transnational corporations a greater voice than individuals in our public deliberations.
We must end the move to “privatize” institutions through which we meet our shared responsibilities. When the public is removed, the private sphere takes over, charging more, and often creating unaccountable monopolies that bilk the public. Privatization of the public typically means that most citizens just pay more, often a lot more.
Discrimination of all kinds must be overcome. Public life depends upon recognition of our equal humanity.
This is why Democracy is, and must remain, public. This is why America has traditionally been a beacon to the world. This is the example America has set. We dare not give it up. The alternative is the Nightmare.