In 1927, the waters of the Mississippi rose, flooding ten states. Blacks were forced at gunpoint to build levees. Those who resisted were shot. When the floods came anyway, sweeping workers to their death, the press reported jubilantly that no whites had died. During the flooding, Black sharecroppers were locked in barns and warehouses by their “masters”---the white folks who owned their farms. The bosses were afraid that their tenants might run away, and then who would work their land once the flood waters receded? Herbert Hoover persuaded prominent African-Americans to suppress the story. In exchange, he would give them expanded rights. He broke his promise, and American Blacks broke with the Republican Party, never to return, just as thousands of African-Americans left the south, never to return. They had seen too much violence, too much starvation, too much inhumanity. They were pushed over the edge, and those who survived said “Enough!”Go read all the stories.
In 2005, the levees broke again, and the world watched, aghast, as the poor inhabitants of New Orleans clung to rooftops. Those who tried to flee the flooded city were shot. The right wing mocked. Rescue efforts were delayed. Aid was withheld, just like in 1927, but with one important change. This time, it was all captured on film. Middle America cried. It was too much. Once again, we had been pushed over the edge. Bush’s approval rating plummeted, never to rise again.
Change is coming. You can push a people only so far before they have had enough. The push back probably won't come in the phony astro turf style of the Tea Party. It will come from people who simply find a way to work around government and take back the functions of government from the political hacks who are so intent on selling them out to the ultra-rich, bought-and-paid-for politics of America. It may come from a revival of real religion (not the send-me-your-dollars televangelist) or it may come from a revival of local institutions. It may come from people organizing self-help institutions that bypass the broken political system. It may come with a revival of unionism. Who knows. But it is coming.