Originally published a year ago, but it is campaign season! Where you read ‘Elizabeth Warren’, you could probably add ‘Bernie Sanders’.
February 6th was the birthday of Ronald Reagan, and I have found myself recalling the first time I became keenly aware of the man whose image in one form or another looms large in the lives and minds of those on the far right. Just as Charleton Heston is Moses, Reagan is the figure of epic proportions that brought the trickle-down tablets off the mountain of Ayn Rand to present their affirmations to the most wealthy-reassuring them that unfettered greed, low taxes, and self-love were as close to scripture as one could get. It was also around this time in my political-interest development that I realized that Capitalism and Christianity both started with the letter “C”.
Coincidence? I think not.
But back to Reagan and my political awakening.
It was about a week after my thirteenth birthday when Reagan said to the incumbent President Carter, during a debate:
This was after Reagan spent a few moments smirking and chuckling to himself at his podium as Carter described candidate Reagan’s campaign around the nation against Medicare. I remember the feeling of regret as I watched national politics fall ever farther into the pit of performance art as the former actor playing the part of a politician connected with his role: a dismissive, paternalistic front-man for what would become a near religion of economics. What chance did a humble peanut farmer stand-even if he was evangelical and spoke from the heart?
Our nation had crossed a threshold where a washed up charming cowboy-actor with boot-black in his hair could win the stage without having to win minds. At thirteen years old I knew that part of my duty as a future citizen would be to try and prevent those who would replace the political stage with theater.
I registered Independent Conservative the day I turned 18. Carter was gone, of course, but I am happy every time I see that man. Dude’s like 90 and he is travelling the world, curing diseases, showing up on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. By the time I was voting age, Reagan and the Republican agenda had revealed themselves (trickle down that really didn’t), but I had little faith in Democrats of the time and I really considered my self to be fiscally conservative in a moral way. You know, no money for drugs and guns to supply and/or ply foreign governments or rebels (no “plausible deniability or scapegoating honorable military men allowed)…but also no bleeding tax dollars for abusers of welfare and social services. I was cast to the winds, party-wise, it seemed.
Wrapping it up, let me say I am still saddened by Democrats. From the White House down to the State House-true Democrats in the classic form are lacking. There is one exception: Elizabeth Warren. I love this woman and her fire, I love it that she speaks truth to power, and I love it that the “powers that be” seem to be doing their best to keep her off the radar.
I have Ronald Reagan to thank for inspiring my clear vision, and my ability to know when people are just putting on a show and speaking lines, as opposed to speaking from their heart and speaking the truth. For those trying to avoid Warren and her message, that is what scares them the most: people are beginning to recognize the truth and those who are willing to speak it.
“I grew up in an America that was investing in kids” (Elizabeth Warren on The Colbert Report)
We need to get our America back.