Democratic Underground

Sit Down And Shut Up!
May 10, 2001
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 country.

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 House.

And they are taking credit for a "new civility." Wanna buy a bridge?

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.

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