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Jim Hightower: Everybody Does Better When Everybody Does Better

March 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Jim Hightower, AlterNet

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How to build a Democratic Party for the future.


My father, W.F. “High” Hightower, was a populist. Only, he didn't know it; didn't know the word, much less the history or anything about populism's rich democratic ethos.

But he knew about bankers who regularly squeezed small-business families like ours with usurious interest rates. He knew how rough it was for a local business to fight off deep-pocketed chain stores that use predatory pricing and sledgehammer advertising budgets to seize local markets. And he saw with his very own eyes that the governor and legislature in faraway Austin operated as subsidiaries of Big Oil, the utility monopolies, and the other giants that were allowed to profit by picking the pockets of the general public.

He and my mother, Lillie, knew one other thing, too: There was once a Democratic Party that stood up for regular folks and actively promoted the ethic of the common good. Having been raised on hard-scrabble Texas farms and come of age in the Depression, they didn't see the New Deal through ideological glasses, but simply as the help they and the rest of America needed—a path out of both depression and the Depression.

That path eventually allowed my parents to scramble into America's lower middle class. Moreover, the New Deal's outreach gave my father, who was not at all philosophical, a phrase that he used occasionally to express the gist of his political beliefs: “Everybody does better when everybody does better.”

That is Populism. Neither right nor left, Republican or Democrat; it is not based on ideology, but on two gut-level fundamentals: our people's historic aspiration for a society and nation of fairness, justice and equal opportunity for all; and the actual life experience of people who see those values routinely trampled by domineering elites.

Populism …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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