Down And Shut Up!
by Ken Alford
Where have we heard this before?
"The American people are once again proud to be called Americans.
There's a new sense of pride in the country."
Remember? The Gipper had re-kindled a spirit in the nation.
The people loved him. Right?
Not exactly. Ronald Reagan received less than 30% of the
eligible vote in the 1980 election. Although most of this
30% idolized him and actually felt a "new sense of pride and
rekindled spirit," many thought he was the most divisive and
destructive President in our history. His tirades against
our government and the "liberals" did nothing to unite this
However, it did unite those conservatives that had been lost
in the wilderness for so many years. In the process, with
their personal attacks on Big Government and liberal programs
and anyone that disagreed with them, they were able to drive
down citizen participation in our political processes. Apathy
was their ally. Fewer and fewer people voted. It was as if
we had been under occupation by some dictator named Carter.
Now, we are told that there's a new tone of civility in the
White House. The new pResident invokes platitudes that remind
the hard-core conservatives of their hero, Ronald Reagan.
He rails against Big Government and high taxes. They love
him. Therefore the country must love him, right?
He speaks of "bi-partisanship" as he travels to states represented
by Democratic Senators and Representatives with the unspoken
message "to get on board or we will see that you no longer
have a job come next election."
Yes, there's a new civility in Washington. Could it be because
there are no more Ken Starr investigations? No more Judicial
Watch subpoenas? No more gossip from Lucianne Goldberg and
Linda Tripp? No more character assassinations? It was all
so simple - all we had to do was put a Republican in the White
And they are taking credit for a "new civility." Wanna buy
In fact, Mr. Bush says this is his proudest achievement in
his first one hundred days. There's a new "tone" in Washington.
Give us what we want and we won't destroy your nation. Go
along with our radical, right-wing agenda and we will cease
our attacks upon your institutions - your public schools and
your news organizations. Just keep your mouth shut and everything
will be alright.
Or you can stand up and say No, I will not shut up! I will
not stand by as you attempt to tear down and destroy what
the people have worked so hard to build up for 200 years.
I will not surrender my freedom to a a right-wing coup. I
will not go gently into the night.