In his remarkable essay, Weâ€™re Not in Lake Wobegon Anymore, Garrison Keillor says:
“Here in 2004, George W. Bush is running for reelection on a platform of tragedyâ€”the single greatest failure of national defense in our history, the attacks of 9/11 in which 19 men with box cutters put this nation into a tailspin, a failure the details of which the White House fought to keep secret even as it ran the country into hock up to the hubcaps, thanks to generous tax cuts for the well-fixed, hoping to lead us into a box canyon of debt that will render government impotent, even as we engage in a war against a small country that was undertaken for the presidentâ€™s personal satisfaction but sold to the American public on the basis of brazen misinformation, a war whose purpose is to distract us from an enormous transfer of wealth taking place in this country, flowing upward, and the deception is working beautifully.
The concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the few is the death knell of democracy. No republic in the history of humanity has survived this.”
He speaks to a point I mentioned briefly and have been thinking a lot about: the very different concepts of democracy and capitalism. Ralph Nader, who is considered to be a radical leftist, is clearly and consistently a small-d democrat. He is unquestionably fighting for democratic ideas. Democratic ideas are now considered to be leftist tactics to redistribute wealth or some such nonsense. This is really important, especially to those people who vote Republican because of their agreement with a certain percentage of the Republican platform: The Republican party is a tool of the rich elite in this country to, probably somewhat unintentionally, destroy democracy in this country. We will be a country, and really are now a country, that is ruled by a military plutocracy. This is contrary to the most basic principles outlined by the founding father of the United States of America — that we are a democracy. Look up the word “democracy” folks. We ain’t it anymore.
The disappearing breed of conservatives that Garrison describes as “the party of pragmatic Main Street businessmen in steel-rimmed spectacles who decried profligacy and waste, were devoted to their communities and supported the sort of prosperity that raises all ships” should abandon the Republican party.