The Justice Seekers

Posted by: eric on August 31, 2009 at 4:36 pm

Ted Kennedy’s life and work has taught me how human decency and government can work to serve her people and not solely special interests.  Kennedy’s early endorsement, of then, Senator Barack Obama in January of last year was an example of generations coming together with a shared interest to form what I call a “grand alliance”.

The grand alliance is between Generation We and like-minded people from other generations.  In this alliance several groups are likely to play important roles.  One of which are Justice Seekers.  Justice Seekers, like Ted Kennedy, support the Millennials in their quest to redeem our national promise. These are the fair-minded citizens who are troubled by the large and growing gap between our stated ideals of democracy, freedom, and opportunity and the harsh reality of life in twenty-first century America.

You have heard me discuss how growing income in-equality, dwindling educational opportunity, lack of access to healthcare, and the increasing concentration of power in the hands of elites are all helping to undermine the traditional American values of fairness and equality. Millions of Americans are disturbed by these trends, and many are prepared to demand redress for these injustices.

Here are examples of some of the events and trends that have aroused the feelings of the justice seekers and that will mobilize them to support a movement for social and political change:

> The horrific aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, in which government indifference and incompetence combined with poverty and racism created a nightmare in which a great American city was nearly destroyed by a natural disaster whose worst effects could have been and should have been foreseen and forestalled.

> Corporate scandals, such as those involving Enron, WorldCom/MCI, Tyco, and Global Crossing, in which white-collar criminals lavishly and fraudulently enriched themselves and their cronies at the expense of customers, investors, and lower-level employees.

> The failure of our military to adequately equip, train, protect, and reward our men and women in uniform, even as we sent them into the line of fire in Iraq and Afghanistan for repeated tours of duty, and squandered billions in unaccounted funds paid to private contractors and Iraqi politicians.

> The transformation of our prisons into a vast system for social control, in which more than 2.3 million Americans—more than one in every hundred adults—are incarcerated, many of them charged with nonviolent offenses, such as drug abuse, for which therapeutic and remedial care would be far more effective and humane. Racial disparities are enormous: If you’re a Hispanic male, your chance of being in prison is 2.2 times greater than of a white male, and if you’re a Black male, your chance is almost 6 times as great.

> The increasing difficulties faced by young people who try to better their lot through higher education, caught between ever-growing tuition costs, ever-shrinking access to government grants and low-cost student loans, ever increasing mountains of debt, and ever-worsening job prospects.

Notice that none of these is a partisan issue. You don’t have to be a Democrat or a Republican to be outraged over the destruction of the Ninth Ward of New Orleans, the obscene money-grubbing by the energy market manipulators at Enron or those who drove the price of oil to 140 dollars per barrel, or the disgraceful conditions in which wounded veterans are treated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. All you need is a sense of fair play and a commitment to the idea that America should be better than this.  Millions of Americans who have that sense and that commitment are ready to become part of the grand alliance that will usher in a new progressive era in our national politics.

One Response to “The Justice Seekers”

  1. links for 2009-09-01 - Kevin Bondelli’s Youth Vote Blog Says:

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