Bill Moyers on the Patriot's Dream

Bill Moyers has been a long-time hero for me, right up there with Bob Monks and Bob Tricker. In an address on the 40th anniversary celebration of Public Citizen, Moyers had some choice words. Below are a few snippets:

Our politicians are little more than money launderers in the trafficking of power and policy – fewer than six degrees of separation from the spirit and tactics of Tony Soprano…

Why New York’s Zuccotti Park is filled with people is no mystery. Reporters keep scratching their heads and asking: “Why are you here?” But it’s clear they are occupying Wall Street because Wall Street has occupied the country…

Although (justice) Powell may not have seen it at the time, he was pointing America toward plutocracy, where political power is derived from the wealthy and controlled by the wealthy to protect their wealth.

Moyers goes on to trace the rise of corporate lobbyists and then mentions Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer–and Turned Its Back on the Middle Class by Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson.

They found the culprit: “It’s the politics, stupid!” Tracing the clues back to that “unseen revolution” of the 1970s – the revolt triggered by Lewis Powell, fired up by William Simon, and fueled by rich corporations and wealthy individuals – they found that ‘Step by step and debate by debate America’s public officials have rewritten the rules of American politics and the American economy in ways that have benefitted the few at the expense of the many.’

The ink was hardly dry on the Citizens United decision when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce organized a covertly funded front and rained drones packed with cash into the 2010 campaigns. According to the Sunlight Foundation, corporate front groups spent $126 million in the fall of 2010 while hiding the identities of the donors…

Discouragement comes easily. But if the generations before us had given up, slaves would still be waiting on these tables, on Election Day women would still be turned away from the voting booths, and workers would still be committing a crime if they organized…

Democracy doesn’t begin at the top; it begins at the bottom, when flesh-and-blood human beings fight to rekindle the patriot’s dream.

Moyers has spent years speaking truth to power. Hopefully, he will continue to do so for many more, as will Public Citizen. (Bill Moyers: Our Politicians Are Money Launderers Not Too Different from Tony Soprano, AlterNet, 11/2/2011) Get involvedJoin the nationwide, grassroots movement for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

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