I haven’t done any research. I am just shooting off my mouth as if I were smoking cigarettes over my third glass of wine in a late-night cafe. But I was reading a summary of the Progressive Period in US politics last night and I began to wonder at McKinley’s assassination. The histories say the anarchist Leon Czolgosz killed him as a symbol of oppression. Those anarchists were certainly convenient when the swell of change started bumping ruling class ceilings.
Mostly I was impressed by the many years, in the face of the top 1 percent, it took to get from Hog Butcher of the World to actual political reform: building from the late 1880s through 1901, when McKinley, who didn’t put up much resistance to the moneyed interests, was replaced with his Vice President, Theodore Roosevelt.
Now HERE was a voice for the left!
Reform legislation began that, even with the vagaries of history, continued pretty much unabated until someone finally shot Our President to kill the dream; to close the jagged road toward mercy and justice for all. After Kennedy, our “progress” began to regress until the population was so uneducated it elected a movie star as President. Think about that! How stupid did we have to become to let them put in the fix? Why, Jerry Springer stupid, in fact, and our children see this kind of behavior as normal. Sigh.
But how do Trump & Co. in fact stack up beside the bosses of 1900? Are they any worse than the Robber Barons? In fact they want the same things, but in a nuclear, global world, the consequences seem monumental. Our outrage is stronger because we have seen the better life, and we don’t want to lose it.
What does seem different is the speed at which this team expects to dismantle a century of progress, and that makes us feel desperate – desperate, afraid, and angry.
We must learn from the earlier Progressives that those emotions should be put in place as the generator of a long-term campaign to recapture the momentum. We must learn patience. It is hard for an angry person to be rational, but it is necessary for the long haul. Get people elected from the bottom up, file every lawsuit known to the free world, pester every personal appearance with protests and signs. Be public and participate.
What I read last night reassured me that the turn can be made, and that I should trust the energy of a new generation of righteous dissatisfaction to make this the last grasping stand of a dying class of greedy bastards. It is the beginning of their end.