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To Have A People’s Government, We The People Must Build It

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To Have A People’s Government, We The People Must Build It


Reprinted with permission from Creators.

In high school, I had a girlfriend who was involved in student government and all sorts of good works. While she paid attention to all that was happening in those years of the early ’60s, she essentially was a moderate — certainly not some movement rebel. Or so we thought… until one lazy, Sunday afternoon. As we aimlessly “cruised the drag” of our small town in a ’54 Chevy, we were paused at a red light across from a root beer stand where some teens were hanging out. Suddenly, my “moderate” girlfriend lunged halfway out of the backseat window and shouted “Wake up and piss, kids, the world’s on fire!”

I stared at her wide-eyed and whopperjawed, wondering where that came from.

I’ve thought of that moment recently as I’ve seen instance after instance of the innate rebelliousness of the American people erupting across the country in surprising ways, unexpected numbers, and with astonishing intensity. No need to wonder where this comes from, however. The outbursts are a spontaneous, rapidly expanding mass rejection of Trumpism.

Our Twitter-president plays to his most frenzied partisans with his daily rata-tat-tat of executive orders and public fulminations — firing at refugees, federal judges, Chuck Schumer, the media, Nordstrom, the EPA, Mexico’s president, Elizabeth Warren, laws that protect consumers from Wall Street greed, Sweden, Arnold Schwarzenegger and… no telling who’s next. But while some delightedly squeal at his wild moves, many more see Trump as not merely unpresidential, but bull goose bonkers! And dangerous — recklessly using the enormous power of the presidency as a personal cudgel to attack, stigmatize and seriously harm individuals, entire religions and races, the Bill of Rights and our nation’s basic values of tolerance, fairness and opportunity for all. In a twist of ironic justice, The Donald’s deep darkness has sparked a prairie fire of mass opposition, raging political activism and movement organizing for the long haul.

Many of us are activists already, ranging from occasional campaigners to us warped gluttons for full-time, full-tilt punishment. No matter your past involvement, with our ship of state entering dire straits, each of us must do a bit extra. And we can help focus the anger roiling the countryside by sharing some how-to-make-a-difference tips to friends, co-workers, et al. “Traump-atized” by Washington’s new extremist kakistocracy (government by the worst).

After all, millions of our neighbors have long been disengaged, viewing the political scrum as somewhere between irrelevant and repugnant. But, suddenly they’re back — alert not only to Trump, but to their congress critters and to that menagerie of freaky, rightwing corporate mutants that Trump-Pence has put in charge of our government. In January, one red-district Texan told a reporter: “I think of politics the way I think of my car. I just want it to run [without my spending] a lot of time.” Only a few weeks into the Trump-Does-Washington spectacle, he learned a fundamental lesson: “You get the politics you work for.”

So, it’s time to get to work. This is not just a one-time, resist-and-dump Trump campaign we’re undertaking, but the mobilization of a long-term grassroots movement to reject the systemic corporate takeover of our elections and government at every level, from our local school boards to our White House. Simply ousting Trump won’t do that. The job, then, is as simple as it is difficult: To have a People’s government, we must build it. Democracy requires us common folk to join together, with each of us doing as much as we can, as strategically as we can, for as long as we can. Www.IndivisibleGuide.com, www.OurRevolution.com and www.MovementVote.org are just a few organizations you can check out to help you get active and start building a more democratic way of governing.

To find out more about Jim Hightower, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.


Jim Hightower

Jim Hightower is a nationally syndicated columnist and one of America's most prominent progressive voices. His column carried by more than 75 publications across the country. Prior to becoming a writer, Hightower served as Texas Agricultural Commission from 1982 to 1991.

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  1. plc97477 April 20, 2017

    We the people can’t build a better government because we are too easily distracted by crap. We are like dogs that chase after benghazi squirrels and email bones while leaving the house open to despots to come in an take everything. As long as we allow ourselves to be occupied with crap we will never be able to make a difference.

    1. Just A Citizen April 20, 2017

      You cannot build something better until you agree on what you want.

      And you and I will probably never agree on that. I doubt we even share the same vision in that regard.

      The Founders disagreed on how to accomplish the task, but at least most of them envisioned and shared the same goals. Individual freedom, liberty and justice.

      Today we cannot even agree on these principles because some wizards came along and changed the meaning of the words. Thus a rational conversation isn’t even possible on the topics themselves. And without concurrence on the principles how can you build a better govt. to enforce or protect them?

      1. FireBaron April 20, 2017

        Normally I completely disagree with you. However, today I am in complete agreement. Despite declaiming by the late Justice Scalia, the Constitution has been interpreted differently every generation. The Justices who heard Plessy apparently interpreted the 14th Amendment differently from those who heard Brown. How would Kelo have been decided under a Warren Court or Roe v. Wade under a Burger Court?
        So even among our best and brightest there is disagreement over what we should be as a country.
        While not among our “brightest” Presidents, George W. Bush was definitely among the most sincere. However, his predecessor, Bill Clinton, apparently has more in common with his father’s method of governance than his! Whereas Barak Obama was definitely one of our most intelligent and well educated Presidents, yet he had difficulty figuring out how to govern and to work with Congress! Even Jack Kennedy, as inexperienced as he was, knew he had to rely on Lyndon Johnson and John McCormick to get things done!
        So, many of us will continue to agree that we disagree on certain things. As long as we attempt to remain civil, we won’t degenerate into looking like the French Parliament or Israeli Knesset, where the only thing every member can agree on is every other member is wrong on everything.

        1. Just A Citizen April 20, 2017


          And in all this WE AGREE.

          I will offer my take on the Constitution issue. I think the “interpretations” were pretty consistent until the era of the Progressive Movement, starting with Wilson. He was not the start but we start seeing the influence in the legal schools and universities by then.

          My issue with the Courts since then is that they adopted a new view of “living document”. Namely that it was in their domain to change the document to reflect changes in society. This was antithetical to our system. Congress was supposed to deal with those kinds of changes. And for good reason. By the time Congress acts, the society, as a whole, has landed on an answer.

          Being of this school of thought, I argue that if the American People were to Amend the Constitution to do something like eliminate the right to bear arms, then I would be frustrated and angry, but I would support it as “legal” and “right by our Founding principles”.

          I once listened to a legal scholar, a real one, explain how the States almost had resolved the abortion issue when Roe v. Wade happened. He believed that if not for that ruling the abortion issue would have been resolved in less than five years, and would no longer be a major political football today.

          I thought we had learned out lesson when the gay marriage issue came along. But nope. The activists had to immediately get the courts to intervene. So an issue that was subsiding rapidly to most people roared back to the forefront. Not necessarily due to the marriage itself, but due to the means it was forced on people.

          I also find the various cases on slavery to be very interesting. Men who opposed slavery, upholding it due to their views on property rights being so sacred. Never having to address the underlying question as to whether any man could be reduced to mere property status. Remember, indentured servitude was not considered property ownership, but a matter of contract.

        2. dbtheonly April 21, 2017


          One searches in vain for any mention in the Constitution of radio frequencies or telephones. Are these matters to be left to the States?

          Then I’ll assert the Republicans disagree with anything proposed by a Democrat, even if it was their own proposal earlier. They simply won’t get to “yes”.

  2. Godzilla April 20, 2017

    We the people are building a better government. It’s been an ongoing effort since the 08 election to rid this country of all of you little Communist pukes. Your done, go away.

    1. ray April 20, 2017

      We will go away when you go away you little Nazi lizard.

    2. FireBaron April 20, 2017

      So in your pea-brained mentality you do not believe there is any room for anyone with any differing opinions from yourself, right? if so, please buy yourself a small island and move to it. That way 100% of the population will agree with you 100% of the time.
      Democracy, on the other hand, is made of differing opinions and by guaranteeing the rights of the minority (even that of small-minded, jingoistic, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, xenophobic idiots like yourself) from the tyranny of the majority.
      By the way, thanks to your “building a better government” how do you like the fact that if I want, I can now get access to the information regarding your internet browsing history. I have no problem with you accessing mine as I have nothing I am ashamed of. What about you? Yep something passed with all GOP votes!

      1. dbtheonly April 21, 2017


        Again you take the time to respond to a post which has been repeated many times with only minor variation.

        I’ll suggest that blocking the history is merely an attempt to hide the repetitive nature of his posts.

  3. Just A Citizen April 20, 2017

    So much potential at the start of this editorial. Then, before he could really get started he drops the confirmation bias bomb on his readers:

    “No need to wonder where this comes from, however. The outbursts are a spontaneous, rapidly expanding mass rejection of Trumpism.”

    Correct, there is no need to wonder where it comes from. And further, many of us have in fact seen it coming. It has been building for years. Which leads me to the second part.

    “Trumpism” is just the latest excuse. The Dog Whistle used by the handlers that have created this mess.

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