I was thinking about Teddy Roosevelt this week. It was more than 100 years ago that President Roosevelt became known as the trust-buster for challenging the monopolies which had come to control the American economy. Big time producers were colluding with manufacturers and transporters to drive out competitors and fix prices, and to this Roosevelt took his “big stick.”
The reason it came up in my mind this week was the announcement that the FCC is set to repeal “net neutrality” — effectively creating a monopoly by a handful of corporations over information and free speech.
Remember when Hillary used to say she was a “progressive who gets things done”? It wasn’t that this was a slightly skewed usage of the term progressive, it was that it was the opposite.
Supporting gay marriage after visibly and vocally opposing gay rights for 25 years, and doing so only after public opinion in favor of the issue moved above 50%, does not make you a progressive; in fact, quite the opposite.
Condemning the Iraq War ten years after you were a major force in its enactment, and five years after you orchestrated the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya… again: not progressive.
Adopting majority views which are comfortably liberal does not make you a progressive.
This is what is so amazing about Teddy Roosevelt. He took positions in opposition to both major political parties, including his own — on issues like monopolies, big banks, and the environment — which over a century later are still relevant as the same debates rage on.
That is progressive.
More and more though I feel like This Week in the Narrative should be called This Week in the Opposite.
For example: the FCC order which removes net neutrality is called the “Restoring Internet Freedom Order.” Allowing a cartel of corporations to control free speech is the opposite of freedom.
Elsewhere, the President continues to trumpet (pun intended) the message that his proposed tax cuts are a “Christmas present” to “middle-income people.” This, of course, is exactly the opposite of what his tax plan — called “the most insane giveaway to the rich ever” — is intended to do.
The few mainstream conservative, pro-Trump, news sources who have admitted to this fact defend the plan by claiming that giving the 1% even more will result in them creating jobs and raising wages. Ten consecutive Presidential administrations (at least) have cut taxes and regulations on the 1% and the result has been a dramatic and uninterrupted 40-year spike in inequality. “Trickle-down” is the opposite of what happens when you transfer wealth to the 1%.
Finally, and thankfully, Roy Moore was defeated in his campaign for Senate this week. Those in conservative mainstream media and the White House who supported Moore up until the bitter end were fond of saying that, despite his faults, Moore was at least the “family values” and the “law and order” candidate.
A man alleged to have sexually assaulted children is the opposite of a family values candidate.
A man being accused of multiple crimes at the same time as he is running for office, who was twice removed from his previous post for breaking the law, is the opposite of a law and order candidate.
I guess that’s what is most concerning about the removal of net neutrality. The corporate cartel in charge of mainstream information, the ones who now seek a monopoly on free speech and information in general, don’t even bother with a nuanced and manipulative message anymore, they just say the opposite.