Column: Franken shaking things up
AUSTIN, Texas -- Way to go, Al!
At last, there's a Democrat in the Senate who's acting like a real Democrat in the FDR mold, unafraid and unabashed to go right at the corporate powers who dominate our economy, environment, media, politics and government. Al Franken, the new Minnesota senator who won the seat once held by the fighting populist Paul Wellstone, is shaking up the Washington establishment on behalf of regular folks. Instead of going-along-to-get-along, Franken is speaking bluntly about the raw judicial activism and corporate obsequiousness of the Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, a lifelong servant of the corporate agenda.
For years, I've railed about the wimpiness of Democrats who approach every Supreme Court nomination strictly from the viewpoint of such social issues as abortion and gay rights. Of course those are important, but the Dems have given nominees a free pass on the fundamental issues of steadily rising corporate supremacy. Most Supreme Court cases don't involve hot social issues, but questions of power between moneyed behemoths and the rest of us -- things like polluting our water and air, denying basic worker rights, abusing consumers and usurping the People's governing authority.
By not delving deeply into every nominee's record and bias on these populist questions, Democrats have allowed the judicial branch -- especially the Roberts Court -- to become a corporate dream, with judges ruling routinely to expand corporate power over the rest of us.
With Al Franken we have a leader on our side, daring to challenge the enthronement of corporations over our democracy. Of course, the Powers That Be are coming down on him -- so let's bolster Al with our grassroots support. Contact him at www.alfranken.com.
Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer and public speaker. He's editor of The Hightower Lowdown.