February 2014
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by Peter Bearse

Has the 1% thrown down a gauntlet, warning so-called "Progressives" of class warfare? Or does the Jan.25th letter-to-the-editor of the WALL ST. JOURNAL by Tom Perkins, a distinguished representative of the billionaires’ club, just an expression of a rich man’s dyspepsia? The short letter generated a firestorm of a response by stating that progressives’ demonizing of the 1% was like the Nazis’ "Kristallnacht" vs. German Jews.

The childishness of American politics has lowered the upper levels. Name-calling, stereotyping and demonizing has infected those who should know better. High society, having long since abandoned any effort to represent the highest American values, is now more prone to lower than to raise them. The sad feature of Perkins’ letter is that he pitched in at a lower level.

Nevertheless, the danger of class warfare is real. Perkins’ can be viewed as a canary in a 1%er’s crystal palace. Yet, his letter represents, not an expression, but a failure of responsible leadership. There’s no way it will inspire regressive San Francisco liberals to ease up on their indiscriminate demonizing of 1%ers. The failure of both sides to recognize that good guys from each side need to get together could spell the end of our precious democratic republic. Are there any "good guys" among the 1%? Of course. For example, see "Roles for the 1%" in my latest book. Are there any among liberal activists? Same answer.

It’s high time for activist leaders from across the political spectrum to get together to recognize that:

(1) That which joins them -- a shared agreement as to the basic factors that caused the Great Recession -- is greater than what does not , and that…

(2) They need to take the lead in generating a broad-based movement for non-violent change that will bring about basic institutional reforms and innovations. For example, note the “Citizens’ Congress” page in www.politicalcommunity.us.

After all, we are all Americans wanting to create a better world for children and future generations. Failure is inconceivable -- the loss of the American Dream and of the great American experiment in constitutional democracy. So, let’s can the cheap-shot labels.and start building alliances across groups.

PETER BEARSE, Ph.D.. 2010 Republican candidate for Congress and author of 1% + 99% = 100%: How "We the People" can occupy politics, change Congress and renew the American Dream [Amazon e-book, 2013].