The Banana Republic and Baby Boomers

The rampant corruption of our political system is masterfully distilled by Lawrence Lessig to the barest elements in this video.

 

America truly has become a Banana Republic operated by and for the benefit of the rich.

We let that happen.

And, when I say ‘we’, I’m looking at you, fellow Baby Boomers. We did this, and now it’s up to us to fix our screw-ups.

It’s time for some of you to change the way you think and how you vote; otherwise, I don’t know how you’re going to look future generations in the eye and tell them, “I was thinking of you when I voted for corporatists, banksters, and wealthy elites.”

It’s time for you to stop voting against your own – and our collective – self-interests. It’s time to stop electing the liars who tell us that trickle down economics works, that government needs to shrink, that defense spending needs to increase, that we need to drill and dig more for our energy, and that corporations and banks must be allowed to do whatever they like without regulation and oversight because to do otherwise would hurt their (historically high) share values and profits as if that were the only measure of a vibrant, thriving, sustainable, and inclusive economy and society.

It’s on all of us, but it’s mostly on you Baby Boomers who somehow turned into 21st century conservatives who reject science, facts, your social responsibilities, and any compassion you may have once had for your fellow human beings and the planet we all live on.

To my fellow liberals, you’re almost as much to blame as conservatives. Enough already with the pandering and compromise; enough with the disengagement from politics and silence on critically important issues; enough with not calling your representatives and not calling people out for being wrong and wrong-headed; most of all, enough with staying home on election day.

There are more of us than there are of them. We can move this country back to the left if we get off our asses and do something – anything – to affect change.

Which brings me to this. A reality too many of my fellow liberals refuse to accept.

It is ‘Us’ versus ‘Them.’ It’s time we stopped pretending it’s not.

When you refuse to acknowledge that conservatives hold values, beliefs, and policy positions that only hurt society and which block any possibility for progress, then you have surrendered the fight. We must be ready, willing, and eager to make the distinctions and reinforce everything that distinguishes Us from Them.

We need to stop wasting precious time and energy by going into every issue and every debate thinking there’s some sort of mythical middle ground. That’s the naive and juvenile fantasy that has allowed our society to devolve. Conservatives know there is no middle ground, and they know they can get liberals to keep giving ground because that’s what liberals do. They compromise.

That’s why we have to take our measure of blame for the world we live in; a world where to be a conservative and a member of the Republican party has come to mean that you want to live in a Christian theocracy in which corporations operate with impunity while the state discriminates against women, minorities, LGBTQ, and immigrants…..and that seems not only normal but desirable to conservatives

We liberals have allowed conservatives to keep moving whatever middle used to exist farther and farther to the right. Hasn’t it gone far enough?

We liberals let the center move so far to the right because we either stayed silent or we compromised. We’ve always been the ones to compromise. That must stop, and it must stop now.

No more compromises with the right. You liberals who insist on compromise are the ones who now are actually allowing conservatives to go on ruining this country and what was once a great society. Not one without its flaws, but at least one in which the wealth and power gaps were not as obscene as they are now and not one in which it seems perfectly reasonable to some people that the likes of Trump and Carson are taken seriously as presidential candidates.

It’s time for my fellow liberals to quit being such pansies and push-overs. It’s time you started fighting – not physically, but intellectually and politically, in the public square, on social media, and out loud. It’s a fight for the future, and it’s time to fight like there is no tomorrow because unless we fight and win, conservatives and conservatism in its current form most assuredly will keep us from bequeathing any sort of bright and peaceful tomorrow to future generations.

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