We have come back to the beginning of our political struggle. In the early late 1800's and early 1900's, we lived in a world vastly different from today. People lived in squalid tenements. they worked 12 hours a day in factories often times with their children with them for pennies. The working conditions were horrendous. Machines were unsafe often maiming or killing their operators. They were machines that would not be stopped because those in charge did not want to loose money to down production time. Workers were treated like expendable property. Robber barons played Monopoly with real buildings, real cities, real railroads and real people. They controlled the political process through intimidation, graft, thuggery and other despicable acts.
The few progressives started a battle to gain rights for workers and the people so they would no longer be treated as wage slaves and property to be used up at a bosses whim. They stopped work and took on the strike breaking thugs employed by business owners. They gave us gifts we take for granted today. Break time, Lunch time, the Eight Hour day, the weekend and vacations are things we have thanks to those few who fought those battles so that we might enjoy freedom to be people and not endure the constant drudgery of work. The populist progressives battled the trusts, the affluent, the political elite, the Klan and its minions, and the robber barons. All of these disparate battles combined and resulted in a nation that won the Second World War, gave us the greatest standard of living we ever had, landed on the moon, and gave us a generation of statesmen who accomplished much.
Something changed in the 1980's. We elected a president who said that government was the problem and that business was too shackled by onerous regulation which limited the ability to gather wealth and power. We were told that we needed to change things to give us wealth. We forgot the lessons of that greatest generation, and now we have had the rise of abject poverty, the greed of the corporate capitalists, and a nation falling apart at the seams. The conservatives dismantled the regulatory framework which kept the greedy in check, and resulted in a generation of greed. The result of which has created the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression.
Now politics has come full circle. Most of the populist progressivism which resulted in the nation we had up to the Reagan era (which created the politics we live in today) happened in the early 20th Century. That world of progress was dismantled and now the world is a bastardized mess of greed and avarice. The rich and the powerful roam at will in our halls of power and dictate policies which affect the lives of millions. They exploit the people, lie, cheat and steal with impunity and are rewarded with riches. We live in this world of our creation and ignore it at our own peril.
We now have to again fight those battles since we forgot those lessons. We need to rise up and take back what is ours, our rights to be free of greed and those who would exploit us in the blind pursuit of wealth. Our world can be bright again. We can enjoy freedom from poverty again. We only have to have the courage to change the world we live in.
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