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How We Can Take America Back from the Right

by Ted Rall

Pub Date: July 15th, 2004
ISBN: 1-932360-22-0
Publisher: Soft Skull Press

Aghast that America has gone to the far-right dogs, editorial cartoonist and columnist Rall wants it back in commonsense—that is, liberal—hands.

Democrats and Republicans alike have ceded the communal moral ground, he writes with particular energy, and radical conservatives are ramped on greed and self-righteousness. What we need at this closing-on-fascism juncture, Rall declares, is a reformed Democratic Party, longtime purveyor of a liberalism that aims to “help the downtrodden, not coddle slackers” and can prudently protect our nation without giving up basic liberties—indeed, that will protect individual rights via the Bill of Rights. America has never been a conservative nation, the author asserts: in the 20th century alone, it tamed the Industrial Revolution with regulation and labor laws, set up a social safety net, fought fascism, expanded civil rights, and lifted the sociopolitical status of minorities. Not perfectly, Rall admits, but at least the angle was correct. Is it right for a CEO to pay himself millions as he lays off thousands, or for someone to kill a man because he is gay or black or Iraqi, or for hospitals to allow people to die because they can’t pay for medical help? It’s not just a matter of statistics, he argues, though those also help prove his point; an instinctive “no” to all of the above is part of the American persona. How has the Republican right virtually consumed the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government? Because of the Democratic Party’s lack of focus, its lack of cool, its unwillingness to approach politics as a barroom fight rather than a tea party, states Rall. He tenders an encouraging Democratic platform, with winning issues from minimum wage to college tuition to vacation time.

Senator Kerry could do worse than to read closely this flurry of smart advice (aside from the author’s fondness for they-pull-a-knife, you-pull-a-gun politics), which serves as a quick, bracing, and welcome series of wake-up slaps.