As something of a qualifier or antidote to the previous post, it seems important to point out that one segment of the American middle class is not going to surrender the ghost peaceably, but fight for its very life, which it’s been forced to do. And that is the unions, more specifically the public employee unions, the teachers, cops, firefighters and public servants.
If there’s hope for a new day of liberal pugnacity it’s to be found in the bonfires of repudiation of Republican radicalism set ablaze by unionized public employees and other organized workers in Wisconsin now spreading nationally.
These citizens seem both to comprehend the high stakes for themselves and others and to be viscerally affronted and infuriated by the gall of those who would seek to threaten their livelihoods, as well as the institutions and the ideas they value. You can’t really say the same for more than a small number of current and recent elected Democratic officials. But inspired by some old school tactics and rejuvenated fury these teachers and public workers and unions have awakened progressive organizations, and much more importantly rank and file liberals and Democrats to a real fight. This righteously pissed off energy is truly grassroots, and as such, one not only can hope but can envision how it filters up and trickles into the spinal fluid of congressional Democrats, and even bucks up Obama for a regular melee.
As seen in Wisconsin, Ohio and other states, it goes like this: a Republican governor and Republican state legislators reflecting the other-worldly reactionary tilt of current Republican politics go for the jugular of the Democratic base, and its supporters and constituents in labor. Your response, after raising unholy hell in the state capitol for a month or more is take up petition drives to recall the offenders, including the governor from office. In other words, metaphorically they came to take you down, but you’re laying them to rest instead. That is how it’s done.
You want apeshit crazy Republicans to stop growling, barking and trying to take a meal out of your bare leg? Forget reason, rationality and the gentle art of persuasion. Kick them in the teeth several times and they’ll modify their behavior remarkably, and only then. Maybe only a little, and only for a little while, but again, that is how it’s done. Rinse and repeat as needed in the future.
The goal being of course to roll back the historic level of wealth disparity in America, the extraordinary and still aggregating power of corporations and powerful interests, resurrect an eviscerated regulatory regime, protect a safety net under genuine and ideologically extreme assault, revive and enhance wage and worker policies important to the middle class, and in general resist a conservatism of intellectual and moral and mental unsoundness unseen in America, and now empowered in one of its two political parties, as it attempts to all but impose an alternate reality over the material one.
So yes, there are role models out there and even heroes, showing when to fight, how to fight, what it takes to fight and a what a willingness to fight look like.