For the past month or two I have been reading a collection of African American novels written in the 1920's. The book that I am currently enjoying is Plum Bun by Jessie Redmon Fauset, and although I am only a couple of chapters into it, I found this poignant passage of a young black girl's thoughts on equality:
"At a very early age she had discovered that the good things of life are unevenly distributed; merit is not always rewarded; hard labour does not necessarily entail adequate recompense."
Just a few years ago the social and economic inequalities were seldom brought out into the sunshine and discussed. The Occupy movement with its "in your face" dramatics has now focused attention on what is, in some respects, a national caste system. Add to that the Republicans' all out war on unions, public pensions, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, public healthcare, education, and any attempts to force the rich to pay their fair share of taxes, and it is suddenly quite clear that those in control of the national wealth are hellbent on staying in control.
America is at a crossroads. Will we continue to cede control of the economy and the political process to the people who ship jobs overseas, do their banking in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands, pay lower tax rates than those of us who actually work, and love to fire people - or will we finally begin to acknowledge how things really are and commit to making serious change?
Having an intelligent President committed to making positive social change is not enough. As we have learned over the past four years, the Republicans in Congress will vociferously oppose anything the President supports - even legislation that they once proposed themselves. Their agenda has been one of obstruction and destruction.
The approval rating of Congress is now somewhere in the high single digits. If ever the time was ripe for change, this would be it.
It is time that we began placing the same level of scrutiny on our Representatives and Senators as we do our presidential candidates - focusing on where their campaign cash originates and how those donations correlate to votes in Congress.
It is time to kill Citizens United - either through a Constitutional amendment or a second hearing in front of a more intelligent Supreme Court.
And it is well past time to occupy Congress with real people whose loyalties are to the people back home and not to the armies of lobbyists who infest our nation's capitol.
Only then will we have a shot at equality.