In the Book of Exodus, the Hebrew religious leader Moses was charged with the unenviable task of asking Pharaoh to release his people from their bonds of slavery and then, after Pharaoh consents in the face of divine persuasion, leading the Hebrews out of captivity to the land promised them by God Himself.
Of course, leading a large group of people involves more than walking in a line and hoping they follow you. As any leader of men will tell you, not everyone is willing to follow. One can imagine that the Biblical prophet encountered a lot of those who doubted his leadership, questioning the intelligence of leaving a land as comfortable as Egypt, with its fertile lands and flowing Nile River, to wander into the desert, even if it meant the end of their enslavement. Further, many of Israel’s Children probably balked at the notion that they should trade one set of rules (Pharaoh’s) for another set (God’s) when all they may have really wanted was a chance to live freely, and at their own pace.
Yes, leading people who are not interested in following can be a challenge, even dangerous. Few individuals risk this exercise anymore. Those who dare invite change and challenge to the status quo are often visited by hardship, scorn, and a sudden and immediate lack of career advancement. Of course, others, if they plan things appropriately, are convincing in their actions and arguments, and receive the support of enough people in enough numbers, can, in fact, change the world permanently. When these changes are for the betterment of society, it is the duty of those who would be led to give their public support to those who are trying to lead them into a better future.
That is why this author invites you today to consider the recent action taken by Dylan Ratigan, host of MSNBC’s “The Dylan Ratigan Show.” In his August 9, 2011 program, Mr. Ratigan played the part of an American Moses, speaking openly and honestly about his understanding of the US Congress: that it is bought and paid for by corporate money.
It is pretty clear from watching the video that Mr. Ratigan had reached his breaking point. This doesn’t seem like someone who woke up and said, “I’m going to go off script and tell everyone who will listen that the US Congress is bought.” Indeed, it was the deafening exchange of the Democratic Strategist and the Republican Strategist, spouting their talking points, talking past each other as well as past the American people, that caused Mr. Ratigan to say what many of us believe.
So, why were Mr. Ratigan’s comments so profound and potentially important in the history of American political dialogue? It is significant that this idea was shared on a mainstream, middle-of-the-day news program. This wasn’t some crackpot ezine author. This wasn’t “Loose Change” or “Zeitgeist.” This was a respected host, paid by NBC for his ideas. It is very possible that Mr. Ratigan placed his career in jeopardy for speaking the truth (see Kieth Olbermann, or even Norm McDonald). That is exactly why all of us, including your humble correspondent, must speak loudly, publicly, and authoritatively in support of the ideas Mr. Ratigan floated yesterday. Shout it from the church tops! Plaster it on your Facebook page! Get behind this man, and let the President, as well as Congress, know that we agree 100% with what he said.
Or not. I hear the Nile River delta is nice this time of year…