Time for a middle class revolution?

Disrespect and incivility have taken over our political/ governmental landscape. One can point fingers in all directions to place blame. However, this turkey can be hung around the necks of the middle class.

Now, before you drag out the lynch rope, let's examine that theory. First, I consider myself a member of that middle class although retirement and the recession have many of us sliding toward the bottom of that group. Why is there so much disrespect and incivility and why should the middle class shoulder the blame?

Principally, we've abandoned political and governmental discourse to either extreme — the far right and the far left. Those groups attack the most visible and symbolic representative of government and politics, the President.

Disrespect and incivility toward the U.S. Presidency has been with us for a long time. Incidents come to mind with regard to Presidents Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon, but in the last two decades, it has manifested itself constantly with never-ending assaults on the last three Presidents.

Everything is politicized. There are millions of U.S. citizens who've seen nothing but politicization, polarization, disrespect and incivility. Those millions have never been truly exposed to what government at all levels should be about — solving problems to benefit the most people.

Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have seen constant barrages from well organized, small but vocal groups. It is one thing to criticize an elected official's policies and character but all three have been submitted to campaigns of unfounded harassment.

Clinton cer tainly deser ved broadsides about his sex ua l proclivities but the Whitewater onslaught was succinctly disproved yet those attacks continued.

Bush drew much criticism for the war in Iraq, but his steady hand in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 was almost forgotten. He also drew a lot of fire for embracing policies and decisions emanating from the more extreme forces within his own administration.

Obama has been under attack from extreme groups since the campaign. The vitriol has been at times vicious and some extreme f r inges have even suggested death.

These extremists' aims are to destroy every President's legitimacy in any way.

In the case of all three of our most recent Presidents, truth be hanged when it comes to trying to completely bulldoze the nation's top leader. Ideology reigns. Both extremes look at compromise on issues as treason to "the cause," whatever it is. One can compromise to solve problems for the masses without compromising ethics and morality.

We're kidding ourselves if we don't realize that, for the most part, Congress is owned by big money interests. And, in case you're looking through rose-colored glasses, understand those large political donors cover their rears by buying on both sides of the aisle.

There is a modicum of campaign finance regulation, but even that is threatened in an upcoming Supreme Court appeal on the grounds that it denies freedom of speech to those who donate as well as to the political candidates. There is significant sentiment on the court for ruling the campaign finance law unconstitutional.

What about the "freedom of speech" for the middle class and the poorer class, neither of which can buy voices in government?

Today, political change coupled with technological advances makes it possible for the kooks of all stripes to overwhelm the system. Wild excesses of money tied to gerrymandering to make a district politically safe for an incumbent (Democrat or Republican) have just about erased the influence of the middle class.

What can or should we do for the middle class to reclaim our country?

Perhaps a revolution is called for. No, I don't mean take the country by force.

First, we have to get the governmental process back on course to solving problems for everyone. Secondly, we have to do something about campaign finance so that moneyed interests don't own elected officials. And, we have to understand that we can agree to disagree without being vitriolic hate-mongers.

That's a complicated task. It will require lots of hard work and sacrifice.

Without such change, we won't solve the problems of the deficit, the recession, health care reform, climate change and two wars.

Let's get about the business of reclaiming our government.

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2009-11-05 digital edition

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