Space Coast Progressive Alliance

The Future of the American Experiment is in Your Hands
Monday, 27 January 2014 06:47

Our Nation in the Boat

Written by  Bob Serody


Our Nation in the Boat
by Bob Serody, Space Coast Progressive Alliance
January 27, 2014

There is nothing like a great book that comes with a strong moral. Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown fits this mold. It describes a bunch of mostly country boys who enrolled at the University of Washington in Seattle and obtained scholarships to help pay for their education by competing with other schools in the eight-man rowing teams. Those of you not familiar with this sport, like me, might catch a glimpse of these sleek boats streaming up the Banana River off Merritt Island today. 

But the book concerned another time, leading up to the Summer Olympics in 1936, and representing our country in rowing was this same group from the University of Washington. However, 1936 was also the year in which a new Germany was attempting to prove to the rest of the world the supremacy of the Aryan race under the leadership of Adolph Hitler. What better opportunity was there than hosting and using the Olympic arena to accomplish this goal? 

The great challenge for Brown in writing this book was to convey to the reader how eight individuals could be taught to put aside their individual aspirations and replace them with a common mindset for rowing a light weight shell to victory in a competition requiring both superhuman strength and synchronized coordination. These individuals would also have to know how to think and respond as a single organism to the commands of a small person with a megaphone called the coxswain in the stern of the boat. Through intense perseverance and adversity, they and the great country they represented captured the Gold.

Today, our members of Congress are pulling those oars in the boat in different directions. This is a deliberate attempt to undermine the majority and what this country stood for throughout its history by acquiring power and control over the nation’s wealth. Extreme politicians decry programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, and unemployment insurance as a form of socialism and a free ride for those less fortunate than others. Instead of pulling for each other in the same way that characterized those eight men and that magnificent race of 1936, enmity, distrust, and incrimination form the core of present day politics. Instead of working together in the spirit of compromise, many politicians are calling for privatization and cuts in programs that would normally stimulate the economy, while they try to protect laws that benefit the very wealthiest Americans. Lobbyists and their clients rule in Washington, not the people.

Robert Reich explained what was happening in the powerful film, Inequality for All.  He describes how to make government at all levels again responsive to the people in his book Beyond Outrage. But nothing captures the spirit of Americans better than the example of the Boys in the Boat in the year 1936. It is truly time to take back America. 



Last modified on Monday, 27 January 2014 07:11
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