I came of age during the Eisenhower administration, and watched Allen and John Foster Dulles depose elected heads of state and install dictators friendly to their corporate clients. I lived through the JFK assassination, the Nixon, Reagan, and two Bush administrations. We experienced McCarthyism, political thought blacklists, student murders, civil rights marchers viciously assaulted, white supremacists elevated, black lives ended through institutional racism begetting sanctioned violence, and fear mongered internment camps shamefully erected. We fought anti-Semitism when promoted by the likes of Henry Ford and Charles Lindbergh, not to mention Father Coughlin. We saw wars instituted by lies and deception, with foreign policy run by the likes of Allen Dulles, Henry Kissinger and Dick Cheney. We have endured corporate greed of epic proportions that endangered our very existence as a democracy; manufacturers lying about the safety of their drugs and other products, financial institutions knowingly peddling worthless or even bogus financial products, all careless of the health, safety and security of consumers. We choked on filthy air, and watched as companies polluted our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams; science told us the race for profits at the cost of health would lead to global climate catastrophe unless checked – we didn’t listen. This, and much more, has been the world I experienced from High School through my college years, and from the beginning of my professional life as a lawyer in 1963.
Throughout that time, the people of our country have fought back. During dark times, when shoved two steps back, our citizens mobilized and gathered the strength to push three steps forward. In these efforts we have staved off nuclear war, passed the Civil Rights Act, provided for Social Security and Medicare for our seniors, enacted civil rights protections against discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, closed the camps and apologized to our Japanese citizens, and fought the battle to bring the LGBTQ community within our tent of equality as citizens. Powerful consumer advocacy has vastly improved health, safety and financial protection. Major efforts to bring alternative energy to the fore are beginning to pay off, as we have reduced carbon emissions, seen solar, wind and electric vehicles become mainstream and lead the effort to clean up our environment and protect our planet. This, and much more, is the legacy we act to protect and for which I have dedicated my entire professional life. All this, and more, is now threatened once again,
…and these are the reasons we must reject flight and choose fight – for ourselves, our children and our posterity.