“They be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.”
As millions of Americans nationwide rise up and support the middle class workers in Wisconsin, with what is perhaps the largest rally at the State Capitol this weekend, what has been emerging is the realization that the America so many of us have known, with its strong, vibrant, well-educated and hard-working middle class is under attack.
Not only has the worst economic depression since the Great Depression of the 1930’s been at fault, but the Republican Party and its Tea Party and corporate allies have deliberately launched a campaign, elaborately coordinated and well planned. With such premeditation, they know precisely what they are doing and what its consequences will be if they succeed.
Their immediate goal is to remove public sector unions from their traditional role in support of the Democratic Party in order to open the way for total Republican victory in 2012. If this were the only result of their scheming they could be forgiven. We might rightly say that this is just hard ball politics. It is. But there is much more to it then simply knocking down the main support of the political opposition.
The livelihoods and economic futures of untold millions of middle class Americans all over the nation, both union and non-union, both public sector and private sector are under grievous assault and are fully at risk. The lives of all these people are being toyed with as if they were of little consequence. The Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, the great multi-national corporations, the Tea Party and Republican Party have all made a deliberate decision that the country no longer requires a middle class at all.
What is now required is a docile, less educated and more easily manipulated and fully exploitable working class on par with third world nations. With this in place, the United States will, in the view of corporate executives, be a support to their more robust expansion in other parts of the world.
And labor costs in such an environment will drop dramatically, and just as drastically raise the profit margins of businesses in the United States. The United States will be a low-end manufacturing nation with no means of supporting the kind of human infrastructure that the people of the United States have worked so hard to build and to maintain.
What is this human infrastructure? It is excellent public schools, full access to good and affordable health care for the entire family, stable and family supporting jobs, public services and resources that bind communities together and permit the individual citizen to grow and prosper. It is not always connected to achieving fame and wealth but simply is the kind of quality of life that makes life worth living to each one of us.
And without a stable, strong, and workable economic middle class democracy becomes increasingly problematic. Though the founders of the nation did not require a strong middle class to create the nation, modern technology and simply the way we live much more dependent upon each other for what we need requires a middle class to supply food at an affordable cost, and proper housing, clothing, and the additional human infrastructure connected to a decent life.
This attack on the middle class cuts across party lines, though many of those who provide so much political cover and support via their votes are not mindful of their role in destroying themselves.
Since 1981, when Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, it has been an open and divisive class war on the middle class launched by those with wealth, power, and position on the rest of us. Masses of the middle class since then have continued to accept the premise that the economic health of the nation demands small government, the weakening of labor unions, and low taxes weighted significantly in favor of the wealthiest Americans to induce them to provide the crumbs of their largesse on the masses.
What is needed is for so many Republican middle class Americans, conservative middle class Americans, Tea-Party middle class Americans to come to the realization that they too are in the crosshairs (had to use the gun reference as this is language they understand) of the wealthy and powerful who intend to manipulate them.
Does this mindfulness and realization on the part of middle class conservatives require them to abandon their conservatism and long-term support for the Republican Party? No, it does not and they should not. Democracy works best with different ideas and with competition over those ideas. But it does require them to recognize when something their leaders do is an act of class warfare upon themselves and that their support for those acts in particular must be withheld. They must cross party lines and stand with other middle class Americans in Madison, Wisconsin, Indianapolis, Indiana and Columbus, Ohio and all over the nation.
What is happening over the Federal budget and pending attacks on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid with no corresponding cuts in the military and two overseas wars with a third or fourth on the way, is inextricably linked to what is happening in Madison, Wisconsin at this very moment and increasingly around the country.
We come to realize that the class warfare practiced by the wealthy and well-connected is not in the interest even of a conservative, hard-working, truck driving man in his 50’s who loves Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and Fox News and clings to both his guns and country music and the bible and family values. That person needs to become mindful of how he is being manipulated and used to essentially destroy his own quality of life: the ability to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness promised in the old Declaration so long ago as our birthright as Americans.
What began in Madison, Wisconsin a bare fortnight ago over public employees collective bargaining rights has led to the stirrings of an awakening of the masses of the public to the threat that is being marshaled against their very core interests as citizens. It is a mindful recognition of the fact that a stable democracy constructed in a Federated Republic is impossible if the kind of world that the Scott Walkers, Rupert Murdochs, and Koch Brothers want to build for us comes about. That is what is fully at risk. The stakes could not be higher. And the working people of Wisconsin have awakened to the class warfare being waged against them first. They bravely stand against the taking of human rights long fought for and highly valued.
Will you awaken and become mindful of the threat leveled at you? Will you though remaining true to what might be conservative values insist that the good and decent democracy we all value cannot be achieved by destroying the American middle class. What will you do today, tomorrow and from now on to stop this? Which side are you on?
America is coming to the great point of decision upon the results of the class warfare waged by the mighty against everyday citizens. Join those who are standing up for moral right, the public good, and the survival of the American dream.