On the Class Divide


Marie Antoinette – Louis xvi

If you are interested in intellectual content and perspective, there’s no better site to follow than Moyers & Co, at billmoyers.com.  Bill Moyers has been a premiere American liberal commentator for years.  His web site now hosts an unparalleled collection of his fellow writers and social activists.  Note in particular Michael Winship and Stephen Harper for their forthright calling out of the evils represented by the rise of Trump.  Winship’s latest is “In a Time of Madness, Sally Yates Is a Profile in Courage“.  See Harper’s timeline and current series analyzing the White House staff, for example,”Trump Fires Comey. Where is Don McGahn?”  And recently I gave a shout out to an article by Andrew J. Basevich analysing the false assumptions of US foreign policy.  See  “Are There Questions About US Foreign Policy We’re Forbidden to Ask?

Today, I’d like to note Harvey J. Kaye’s article  “Time for Radical Action, Not National Therapy“.  Harvey’s article is a critique of recent commentary by conservative David Brooks concerning the growing class divide in our country.  That divide has been growing ever since Ronald Reagan and his “trickle down” theory was used to unfetter the rich from taxes and regulations.  The Reagan policies led in the ensuing decades to a second gilded age of unprecedented wealth coupled with a dwindling middle class and ever more Americans working harder and failing to make ends meet.  Donald Trump and his sense of entitlement has personified the divide as he ostentatiously flies each weekend to Mar a Lago for golf, and directs a missile attack in Syria over a slice of “splendid cake”.   The optics are those of King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette – “let them eat cake” –  while America’s impoverished lower class has descended into a politics of fear and nativism.

Here’s Harvey J. Kaye: “Brooks fails to acknowledge what or who has actually led us into a Second Gilded Age, placing the American dream out of reach for vast numbers of Americans, and fostering that crisis of solidarity. He makes absolutely no mention of the class war from above that has marked American life for the past 40 years – a class war that has placed private greed and profits before the public good and general welfare. Not only has it made the rich exceedingly richer and working people poorer, it also has raised up an oligarchy to keep our democracy in check; laid siege to the hard-won rights of workers, women and African Americans; and devastated the communities, organizations and solidarities they built to make their lives more secure.”

The answer of course is the not-so-radical one of recognizing that we are in this together – that there is no place in the land of the free, where all are created equal, for class warfare or class divide.  Reagan, for all his charm, was wrong – he created a world in which money trickled up – in which parasitic corporations systematically strip our population of their last bottom dollar – in which policy is determined solely by quarterly profits reflected on the stock exchange.  As Harvey would say, we should look rather to the Depression Era policies of FDR – reflecting a government that can bring each of us up, and more importantly bring us together.


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