Friday, November 5, 2010

Bill Moyers and Howard Zinn

A nephew of mine, who is on the staff of Boston University, sent me an extraordinary video. I tell you, as I introduce it, I know I have never written a more important blog!
by Charlie Leck

Bill Moyers and Howard Zinn are two of a few guys who, during my life, I have admired so very much!

Certainly you are all familiar with Bill Moyers and his extraordinary accomplishments as a journalist! Moyers mixes wisdom and remarkable humor as well as any man I’ve ever read or listened to. He writes and lectures as well as any journalist and much better than most. I know no man or woman in broadcast journalism who is as committed to integrity. Moyers has a passion for justice and truth that is totally immense!

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know about my deep respect for Zinn, the author of The Peoples History of the United States. I’ve written here about the book a couple of times and quoted from it often. It always stays at the ready on my desk.

Recently, a nephew of mine, who is the Director of Foreign Student Affairs and Studies at Boston University, emailed me a video that he thought I might appreciate and enjoy. It was of Bill Moyers’ appearance last week as a speaker at the Howard Zinn Memorial Lecture at Boston University, where Zinn had been a professor of Political Science before his death.

It is not a short video clip. It is a thorough and complete reproduction of Moyer’s lecture at Boston University just last week. In the spirit of Zinn, Moyers deals with the current American economy and looks at its causes and continuing devastating effect on ordinary people as Howard Zinn might have looked at the subject – from the view point of the people impacted by these hard times.

If you want to understand a new possibility about this economic crash and how the American business community might not be all that interested in ending these problems, you might want to watch and listen to this lecture.

Moyers raises the question: “Do the super-rich need the rest of America?” Do they even care? Do they need to end economic bad times?

Has America become a plutocracy? If you don’t know what that is, pull out your dictionary because it vitally important we understand what is happening in America and what this last election was very much about. If you can’t spare the entire time to listen to Moyers, at least go to about the 28 minute mark and listen for 10 or 15 minutes about what has happened in America. Then, please understand that the only way we shall deal with these plutonomists is to rise up as a people and retake our nation through the ballot box – throwing out the selfish and cruel politicians who represent, in reality, only the wealthy.

Radical? You will call it that UNLESS you go ahead and listen to the argument that Moyers makes: “Plutocracy and Democracy don’t mix!”

He introduces us to the book, The Mendacity of Hope, by Roger D. Hodges, who, in this book, explains what happens when “…the private ends of a narrow faction succeed in capturing the engines of democracy.” I know I am going out to purchase that book today. Here’s a Washington Post review of it.

The lecture and Bill Moyers held me spell-bound for 70 minutes. If you care to understand the frightening plutocratic movement that has taken over America, you really ought to listen to it and then, as Howard Zinn might say, rise up! For, we are the people!

Here’s where you’ll find it…

Have a note pad at the ready as you listen and watch, and take notes. Then, put the notes somewhere where you’ll constantly see them. They will move you to get involved in the 2012 election.

At the beginning of his lecture, Moyers quotes the closing words from Howard Zinn’s last book, The Bomb.

“We must act on what we feel and think, here and now, for human flesh and sense, against the abstractions of duty and obedience.”

I know I must! I cannot stand aside and allow what the founders of modern conservative politics plan for America. The shadow party, invented by Karl Rove and his disciples, has taken over America and democracy is endangered.

“We are losing our democracy to a different system,” warns Moyers.

Now, if for a second, you think you’ve not got 70 minutes (a 45 minute Q&A follows it) to sit and watch such a lecture, I will beg you to give up a couple of television shows or a football or basketball game and come to grips with what is happening to America. You will never be politically the same. You will understand how America has been fooled and how it has lost its sense of government “for, by and of the people.”

“…even the Tea Partiers, when they wake up and realize they have been sucker-punched by the very people who have funded them, are going to be madder than hell.”

If you do watch this lecture, I beg for your comments about it!

Watch this video on YouTube


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  1. We MUST be moved to action, you are so right. We must find ways to get money - especially corporate money -- out of politics. Our leaders need to be driven by a sense of purpose and vision for the nation, not by then needs and desires of the plutocrats. I believe the only way to save the country is in the form a constitutional amendment.

    This IS the most important blog you have written! (Though you always have such valuable insights). Thanks for this.

  2. I agree with James. This nation became a plutocracy a long time ago - ever since we started equating success to wealth. It will be a formidable task to reduce the influence of wealth in our politics. The Supreme Court is the firewall blocking change. It's worth the fight!