sure i'm new to the scene

but this seems like one of the best issues ever. even if you don't like reading, the cover is pretty. thomas frank's article, "Lie down for America: how the republican party sows ruin on the great plains" is one frickin' amazing essay. i wish i had the patience (and authorization) to type the whole thing out here...but here's a quote. (John, I'm not trying to be esoteric or intellectual--I really did find this emotionally convincing and therefore wanted to post my feelings about it, but this article--like many things written in books and journals vs. played on the TV or sent via direct mail--was good enough to let it speak for itself. Much better than my personal opinions, anyway.) "Like a French Revolution in reverse--one in which the sans-culottes pour down the streets demanding more power to the aristocracy--the backlash [of rural poor voting against labor unions, etc.] pushes the spectrum of the acceptable to the right, to the right, further to the right. It may never bring prayer back into the schools, but it has rescued all manner of right-wing economic nostrums from history's dustbin. Having rolled back the landmark economic reforms of the sixties (the war on poverty) and those of the thirties (labor law, agricultural price supports, banking regulation), its leaders now turn their guns on the accomplishments of the earliest years of progressivism (Wilson's estate tax, Theodore Roosevelt's anti-trust measures). With a little more effort, the backlash may well repeal the entire twentieth century.... "The leaders of the backlash may talk Christ, but they walk corporate. Values may 'matter most' to voters, but they always take a back seat to the needs of money once the elections are won. This is a basic earmark of the phenomenon, absolutely consistent across its decades-long history. Abortion is never halted. Affirmative action is never abolished. The culture industry is never forced to clean up its act. Even the greatest culture-warrior of them all, Ronald Reagan, was a notorious cop-out once it came time to deliver. "One might expect this reality to vex the movement's true believers. Their grandstanding leaders never produce, their fury mounts and mounts, and nevertheless they turn out every two years to return their right-wing heroes to office for a second, a third, a twentieth try. The trick never ages, the illusion never wears off. Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital-gains tax. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation. Vote to get government off our backs; receive conglomeration and monopoly everywhere from media to meatpacking. Vote to stand tall against terrorists; receive Social Security privatization efforts. Vote to strike a blow against elitism; receive a social order in which wealth is more concentrated than ever before in our lifetimes, in which workers have been stripped of power and CEOs are rewarded in a manner beyond imagining." --Thomas Frank, "Lie Down for America." In: Harper's Magazine (April 2004). pp. 34-35.


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