It’s the 68th anniversary of D-Day, and I was re-reading the wonderful speech Peggy Noonan wrote for Ronald Reagan at the 4oth Anniversary commemoration, “The Boys of Pointe Du Hoc.” These lines jumped out at me:
“The Rangers looked up and saw the enemy soldiers at the edge of the cliffs, shooting down at them with machine guns and throwing grenades. And the American Rangers began to climb. They shot rope ladders over the face of these cliffs and began to pull themselves up. When one Ranger fell, another would take his place. When one rope was cut, a Ranger would grab another and begin his climb again. They climbed, shot back, and held their footing. Soon, one by one, the Rangers pulled themselves over the top, and in seizing the firm land at the top of these cliffs, they began to seize back the continent of Europe.”
They began to seize back the continent of Europe. Today, we need to seize back this continent, our continent. Our democracy is as threatened today as it was then, but now it’s under threat by our fellow citizens who are trying to turn our America into an oligarchy, a country of the super-rich, by the super-rich, for the super-rich.
For one brief shining moment after the Great Meltdown, the Tea Party had it right, a light went off in the minds of the “What’s the Matter with Kansas” people, and they got it. But then their righteous anger at the Big Banks was perverted into hostility at “Big Government.” They were co-opted by the Koch Brothers’ Americans for Prosperity [somewhere, Orwell is laughing] and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Instead of blaming the folks who caused their fellow citizens to need food stamps, they turned their fury and frustration on the poor souls who suddenly had to rely on those food stamps.
A rope was cut yesterday in Wisconsin. We need to seize another one, and we need to climb.