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Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:06 PM

Extremists

“The question is not if we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. The nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.”
-- Martin Luther King, Jr.


Yesterday’s New Hampshire primary contests marked, in a very public way, the beginning of a significant shift in the political landscape. This does not mean the movement creating that shift is new; quite the opposite: such movements are always deeply rooted in the American experience. Take, for example, the concept of “social justice” -- a term currently applied to the economics of education and healthcare, among other things -- which can be traced back to the 1840s.

We find such a shift occurring in the early 1800’s, when our nation shifted from being a Constitutional Republic, to a Constitutional Democracy. An important documentation of that shift is found in Sean Wilentz’s “The Rise of American Democracy: Jefferson to Lincoln” ( W.W. Norton & Co; 2005):

“Important elements of democracy existed in the infant American republic of the 1780s, but the republic was not democratic. Nor, in the minds of those who governed it, was it supposed to be. A republic -- the res publica, or ’public thing’ -- was meant to secure the common good through the ministrations of the most worthy, enlightened men. A democracy -- derived from demos krato, ’rule of the people’ -- dangerously handed power to the impassioned, unenlightened masses.” -- page xvii.

Though the political parties that take the names “Democratic” and “republican” have undergone changes over their many years of existence, today they both tend to offer those two very different options for leadership -- rule by “elites” versus rule of the people. Thus, it comes as no surprise when a republican such as Antonin Scalia -- speaking to a private group --states that democracy “obscures the divine authority behind government,” since divinely-inspired law demands that our nation’s elite rule. (Kevin Phillips; American Dynasty; Viking; 2004; pages 107-8).

That “divine authority” must, by definition, demands the worship of the dollar. Surely, the current republicans do not look to the most “worthy, enlightened” for leadership on global warming, or they’d listen to scientists. Instead, they look to the very corporate leaders who are most responsible for the gross destruction of the living environment. That’s the same as looking to the tobacco industry to evaluate the risks of smoking.

Bernie Sanders has noted that a handful of billionaires exercise control over the political life in the United States. The US Supreme Court has ruled that corporations have the right to “free speech,” meaning they can buy elections. I think that every member of the DU community recognizes that this represents the greatest threat to democracy in our country. And, of course, by controlling government, that elite group rules in economic matters. That’s a level of power that few would hand over, without a struggle.

The last American who threatened the political and economic power of the elite was Martin Luther King, Jr. There were, of course, plenty of people who hated him when he was struggling for Civil Rights. Some of them wanted to kill him. Yet, when King expanded his ministry in 1967 and ’68, he faced new opposition. The 1% didn’t care if King could drink coffee at a counter, or use any men’s public restroom. They don’t drink coffee at lunch-counters.

Without addressing the last day of King’s life -- and please do not do so here -- it is now well-documented that Army Intelligence was following King around the US, including at Memphis. More, on the floor of the US Senate, Robert Byrd advocated that King be incarcerated, before he could lead his proposed “Poor People’s Campaign” in Washington, DC. Neither Army Intelligence or Senator Byrd was freaking out because they thought King might drink coffee and pee in a public restroom. No, they were in favor of utterly violating the Constitution of the United States, because they were convinced that King’s movement for social justice posed a threat to the economic dictatorship of the 1%.

Sanders’s proposals, like King’s, are revolutionary. Now, as we know, the elites are not opposed to “revolution.” They still benefit from the evils of the “Reagan Revolution.” For that revolution shifted the economic power of America’s middle class to the 1%’s account books. But they are damned sure opposed to shifting the power back to the citizens of the United States. Indeed, they are the most class-conscious group in America, and they want to continue to impose rules that only allow their side to engage in class warfare.

They were panicked by “Occupy” -- which was a modern version of King’s “Poor People’s Campaign.” It is an error to underestimate the power of the Occupy movement. Or, the response to it. It’s no coincidence that many of the early supporters of Bernie’s campaign were activists involved in Occupy across the country.

Yesterday’s New Hampshire primary was extremely important. It’s not just the Clinton campaign that is concerned about the Sanders movement’s growing power. The marionettes that pull the strings on republican politicians can say that they’d love to run against Bernie in the fall, but that absolutely is not true. They don’t need a Fox talking head to know which way the winds blow.

We need to keep our eyes on the prize. Keep fighting the Good Fight. I know some of us here will continue to campaign for Hillary, and some for Bernie. And that’s good. Let’s keep doing as our conscience dictates, no matter which candidate we support in the primaries. And we can actually do that, without attacking the character of the other candidate, or those supporting their campaign. In fact, we can do a better job of advocating for our favored candidate, if we avoid the temptation to take a shot at the other campaign.

No matter which candidate wins the primary, at the Democratic National Convention, both are going to have a say. And each will be speaking from a position of power. For in the final analysis, we aren’t in a position to turn our backs on each other. There is a shift of power going on in this country, that demands our best efforts to succeed.

Peace,
H2O Man

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 30 replies Author Time Post
Reply Extremists (Original post)
H2O Man Feb 2016 OP
blm Feb 2016 #1
H2O Man Feb 2016 #2
Punkingal Feb 2016 #3
H2O Man Feb 2016 #4
blm Feb 2016 #7
H2O Man Feb 2016 #10
blm Feb 2016 #21
longship Feb 2016 #9
H2O Man Feb 2016 #11
longship Feb 2016 #13
H2O Man Feb 2016 #18
cyberswede Feb 2016 #5
H2O Man Feb 2016 #6
farleftlib Feb 2016 #8
H2O Man Feb 2016 #12
Tierra_y_Libertad Feb 2016 #14
H2O Man Feb 2016 #15
Gregorian Feb 2016 #16
H2O Man Feb 2016 #17
blm Feb 2016 #22
H2O Man Feb 2016 #23
blm Feb 2016 #24
H2O Man Feb 2016 #27
blm Feb 2016 #28
H2O Man Feb 2016 #29
mmonk Feb 2016 #19
H2O Man Feb 2016 #20
Uncle Joe Feb 2016 #25
H2O Man Feb 2016 #26
shanti Feb 2016 #30

Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:12 PM

1. ((Waterman))

.

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Response to blm (Reply #1)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:24 PM

2. Thanks!

I wasn't surprised to see a cluster of "Bernie will raise taxes!" OPs here today. But I was really pleased to read one pro-Hillary OP in particular, a truly thoughtful essay by TygrBright:

http://www.democraticunderground.com/12511192630

That was, in my opinion, exactly the type of OP that elevates the level of discussion on this forum.

I will continue to attempt to post essays that describe the contest as I view it, in hopes that I, too, can help elevate the quality of discussions here.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:35 PM

3. You always elevate the discussion.

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Response to Punkingal (Reply #3)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:39 PM

4. Thank you, Punkingal!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:48 PM

7. I'm planning one - As a longtime GOTV wrangler in a purple state the heightened discord will make

my job even harder. As if GOP redistricting NC wasn't hard enough. ; )

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Response to blm (Reply #7)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:54 PM

10. That redistricting is,

as you obviously know all too well, part of the crooked process that the 1% engages in overseeing, so that they can secure more seats in DC for their republican lap dogs. It is part of the plan to suppress participating in voting, by taking power away from citizens.

I'm really glad that you are fighting that Good Fight, blm!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #10)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 07:51 PM

21. One of the districts ruled unconstitutional is mine….

We're like one-armed paper hangers here. It will have an effect on other districts, as well. Our primary was supposed to be midMarch. Now it's all in flux - county Dem meetings up the wazoo. ; )

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #2)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:53 PM

9. Tygr's often very good!

I don't always agree with her position, but I always like her posts.


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Response to longship (Reply #9)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:59 PM

11. Right.

I don't agree with anyone on everything. My kids like to say that I'm the only person who can cause a heated argument in an empty room. (I point out that the room wouldn't be "empty" if I was in it.)

Those differences in our opinions don't have to be viewed as potential weaknesses -- though I advocate exploiting differences among republicans, as by nature, they are far more rigid in their thinking. In fact, those differences can usually be translated into the movement's strengths.

Always good to talk to you, my friend!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #11)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:03 PM

13. Me too you, my good friend. nt

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Response to longship (Reply #13)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 05:15 PM

18. Thank you.

That means a lot to me.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:41 PM

5. Kick...

and off to read Tygrbright's post, since you recommended it.

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Response to cyberswede (Reply #5)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:45 PM

6. Thank you.

I am very impressed with TygrBright's OP. Obviously, I support Bernie, and am fully convinced that he can best represent us, both in November, and as president. But I think the other OP makes one of the best cases of why good people also support Hillary.

It would be great if there were more discussions and debates at that level of rational thought. It contrasts with the collection of "Bernie will raise taxes!" OPs today.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 03:48 PM

8. One of the 1%ers piped up from the World Economic Forum

 

in Davos Switzerland, a CEO named Stephen Schwarzman to be exact, saying Sanders viability as a candidate is the reason world markets are tanking. They are not pleased with Sanders. They will fight Sanders. For one of the corporate titans to poke his head up at that moment and to point a finger at Sanders and say "It's his fault" and then claim the world wants us to fix it, should concern all of us.

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Response to farleftlib (Reply #8)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:03 PM

12. Good point.

We need to be aware that the 1% is in no sense patriotic; indeed, they belong to an elite global community, that seeks to institute a "new world order" that seeks to inflict an economic system that crushes the middle class everywhere, including the USA.

Their selfish, often brutal behaviors should not cause us to change our goals, of course. But the Sanders campaign definitely threatens more than the domestic elites.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:06 PM

14. Better an extremist than a collaborator.

 

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #14)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:10 PM

15. Right.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 04:52 PM

16. I appreciate that you share your experience and wealth of research.

I still remember lurking on the previous version of DU, while many were dissecting the situation whereby a covert CIA agent was revealed to the public. I recall not fully following the discussion. But over time, thanks to those who have shared their knowledge, I have had the chance to grow more than I ever expected. I can't express how much this kind of support has benefited my life. I, in turn, am able to support others. And I can be a legitimate benefit to someone like Bernie Sanders, and his campaign.

You have hit directly at the heart of the troubles this country has faced, from inception until now. It's a perspective which is highly empowering, to know the intentions of those in power. It enables us to know which way to expect the blows, and how to deflect them, and ultimately defeat them.

We are very close to achieving a new level of democracy in America. What I would like to see is a definitive defeat for those who oppose civil rights. Ordinarily this is an ongoing fight, forever. What I would hope we secure from this election cycle is a permanent understanding and embrace of full democracy. One that endures the efforts of those who would rather rule than represent. One where the citizens finally value, and demand nothing short of, the benefits which are the fruits of a true democracy.


As an aside, I would like to know how the transformations of people like Robert Byrd, and Henry Wallace transpired. It's another subject, yet it's also part of the process which could give the people a greater majority of liberals. And it might help understand how to achieve such a shift away from conservative mantras by those who do not benefit from them.

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Response to Gregorian (Reply #16)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 05:15 PM

17. Very good!

The infamous DU "Plame Threads" were, in my opinion, one of this forum's highlights. Of course, I'm not objective, as I was one of the more active participants. I was fortunate, because I had a solid source for information, and what was found in those threads served as a feeder for a couple of MSNBC's investigative journalists, primarily David.

At one point, after I had wrote some stuff on DU, it found its way to one of Senator Clinton's friends. He would rate as a mid-level assistant to her campaigns, as a liberal journalist and personal friend of Ms. Clinton's. He ended up calling me, to try to access my source ....which, unfortunately, was information that I was not at liberty to share with him. But it was tempting.


Yesterday, we witnessed the biggest sign to date that the Sanders campaign has real power, and is creating a shift in American politics. We are living in a historic era, my friend. How far higher it is able to bring us remains to be seen. But I am feeling very good about it today.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #17)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 07:53 PM

22. hmmmm….. formerly known as PeteNYC?

; )

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Response to blm (Reply #22)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:12 PM

23. It wasn't a DUer.

It was someone who read DU:GD, though. I think there are more people who read DU from time to time, than participate here.

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #23)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:13 PM

24. I know - fielded a few calls in 2004. ; )

.

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Response to blm (Reply #24)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:21 PM

27. Very good!

It was an interesting time on DU. I wish that we could have a reunion, with all of the old gang!

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Response to H2O Man (Reply #27)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:24 PM

28. Certainly miss them…..here and at Bartcop there were exchanges some night that became so animated

and brilliant they could have rivaled the Algonquin Table. ; )

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Response to blm (Reply #28)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:26 PM

29. True.

Some of those discussions literally were at the university of hedge schools level.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 05:23 PM

19. I am glad you drew occupy and the poor people's campaign together.

Us older DU people have the working memories still intact to draw in the similarities and purpose. It is important to look at the paths we have taken to see where we are as well as how to move forward. Recommended.

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Response to mmonk (Reply #19)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 05:32 PM

20. Thank you, mmonk!

You may recall that I used to say that the progressive community needed to re-visit King's proposed Poor People's Campaign. When I saw the beauty and power of Occupy, I knew that I wasn't "nuts." Even if those who started it were not consciously up-dating Martin's plan, they were definitely making it a reality.

I've seen liberal people question its significance. I'm convinced that the coordinated effort to disrupt and destroy it serves as the best measure of Occupy's value.

And I agree with you about the value of studying history. There's no need, as the old saying goes, to re-invent the wheel. But we should be letting the air out of the republican's tires.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:19 PM

25. Kicked and recommended.

Thanks for the thread, H2O Man.

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Response to Uncle Joe (Reply #25)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:20 PM

26. Thanks!

Much appreciated.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Feb 10, 2016, 08:43 PM

30. always happy to rec your posts, H20 Man!

You always get to the heart of the matter.

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