BY ROBERT BARKER
I have a picture of myself standing in front of a National Guard tank in DC in 1967 at an anti war protest. I was in Berkley when the Peoples Park thing happened. I wrote articles for a left wing paper called the Minority Report in my university years. We stood up for Civil rights, peoples rights, environmental rights, and our right to make peace. We protested and screamed about the Vietnam war and brought world attention to the wrongs and injustice of the war and the world.
Then and now I stand for the American workers, poor, middle class and the generally held down.
Many of my old friends sold out, became corporate whores and allowed their success to become a badge of honor. Instead of showing appreciation for the social structure that made them rich they started to look down on all but those like themselves. Once they allowed their conscientious right and wrongs rule, but self interest ruled them when they made some cash. They grew bitter, learned to play Golf (as I did too) and hang out with people that looked down their noses at the working class. They grew more conservative and abandoned the left and what's right for what was selfish and isolated. Bigotry grew in their minds and hearts as they saw themselves better than the crowd. Now I did as economically well as most of them. I have made and lost millions in my life, but never abandoned the cause of the people..
If I was successful it was because of the people that made me that way. Yes, I worked hard and long and smart at times but I used our roads to move on and my products were sent out on. I hired folks that were taught skills and reading at public schools, we all paid for. I depended on government watching that standards were met in products I needed. I saw how we all needed to sacrifice to clean our air and water. I depended on social agencies like Police, Fire and ambulances to assure my employees and my safety. That is what made me successful not just my efforts but a structure where efforts can pay off.
This great social structure is what makes America great, not the rich entrepreneurs which are needed. Ah but they depend on such social structures too, yet they seemed to think they made it without our help, did they?
They cry out about American exceptionalism, like they are the reason it is exceptional. They think that means they get no social responsibility even though they made their bucks on the backs of us all... No one is an island, and my once hippie friends are now Neo-cons but I refused to sell out.
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