In Brian Williams’ compelling essay, he makes a strong case for why a Second American Revolution (SAR) is not just needed but necessary to overhaul the existing government and address critical domestic and foreign policy grievances. The article reads like a well-thought out plan for how to rally the masses through collective action in starting a modern-day revolution to shake things up, get the attention of Congress, and forcing their hand to get things done. Williams (n. d.) does not believe it can be done through reforms with the existing governmental body.
There were many things to like and dislike about the essay. In reading through it, one gets the impression that Williams is making his case in order to appeal to everyone. This showed his unwillingness to show bias towards any one party in particular. Williams’ ideas take into account both libertarians and progressives as well as the existing political parties, Independents, and various faction groups. His solution entails calling for change across the board which involves what he terms “social democracy”. From a political, economic, and innovative standpoint, Williams makes the case for a one-size fits all democracy that reads much like Socialism instead of the revolutionary change he would have the reader believe he wants enacted.
Williams addresses near the beginning of his essay the domestic and foreign policy grievances that he believes are critical issues that are denoted for their significance. These grievances reflect instances and issues where the government has acted despotically/unjustly towards its own people, against people of other countries, and its failure to act on issues that demand attention (Williams, n. d., 6). The reader could agree wholeheartedly with Williams’ list of grievances as these are areas in which the government has been grossly negligent.
Williams also speaks to the current state of affairs within the government and its need to appeal to the status quo, thus, forgetting its citizens. He acknowledges the current administration’s inability to work together to get anything done and the great impact this has had on our country in all areas. He speaks to the disgust felt by the American people and the ripple effect it is having on our youth and young adults. Many new registered voters are registering as Independents because they do not wish to be affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. He uses this example to further prove his point at how broken our current government really is. The reader cannot deny how correct Williams is in this manner.
Williams does a good job of drawing the reader in early with his extensive list of grievances. Once he has the reader’s full attention, he lowers the boom by unveiling his plan for reform. According to Williams, reform consists of several things: rewriting the Constitution, in part or in whole, shifting from his definition of neoliberalism to a libertarian social democracy, creating a libertarian mixed-economy, redistribution of wealth, and restructuring of the current political system. This all may appeal to Liberal progressives, but to Conservatives, this sounds remotely familiar to what we have seen unfold since 2008 under the Obama administration.
The first point Williams makes to enact change is to rewrite the Constitution. He believes it is outdated and needs revamping to fit with current times, policies, and provide a new framework that will be built around reform. He even eludes to Thomas Jefferson’s belief that the Constitution should be revised every twenty years as a tenet for his case. I would be hard pressed to believe that was what Jefferson meant exactly. But like most progressive-minded individuals, Williams believes the first order of business in his great plan for his SAR is to create a new and improved version of the Constitution that will be a better fit for his ideologies. After all, the existing Constitution would not allow for such notions and recommendations such as Williams presents in his essay.
Williams believes in the redistribution of wealth. So does President Barack Obama. He makes a good point that the wealthiest in America are the driving force behind all wealth. The wealth became wealthy through hard work and dedication to become successful. Everyone has the same opportunity. The ideology of redistribution of wealth implies that if it was equally distributed this would provide opportunities to all other classes outside of the wealthy for economic growth and standard of living. However, redistribution of wealth should not come at the expense of the wealthy who have worked hard to earn it.
Williams delivers his vision for a progressive-libertarian political system that entails decentralizing state governments and handing their power over to the Federal government which as he puts it, “show themselves to be ready for increased autonomy” (Williams, n. d. 16). He suggests that this devolution of power would be a trickle-down effect to local levels where each level would become autonomous with the Federal government being the primary driver of all laws and regulations. The end-goal would be a complete “phasing out of central government” (Williams, n. d. 17). He even speaks to the one world order that is already in the works behind the scenes as we speak.
Much of what Williams touts in his essay is exactly what happens when power of the people is removed and reforms are built upon social democracy. His essay is mostly smoke and mirrors and uses the idea of building momentum for a SAR as its cover that has no chance of ever seeing the light of day. Williams eludes to this by admitting how difficult it would be to build a revolutionary movement in the midst of an existing, full-functioning capitalist democracy (Williams n. d. 32)
Williams believes his plan is a solid answer for making America great again in the name of American exceptionalism. However, it is merely a regurgitation of what is already unfolding in our country. The government has been priming its citizens for decades towards a democracy that is steeped in social reforms and progressive tactics whose entire agenda is built upon tyranny and removing any semblance of capitalism and the fine republic that this country was founded on. If we truly want to make America great again, we need to get back to following the Constitution instead of deceiving the masses into believing an overhaul of it is what is required for the betterment of its citizens and the country as a whole. The Constitution was once a guiding force that served as a blueprint for how to govern, rule, and enact justice that has served our country well for more than two hundred years. It denotes the rights of citizens and what role the government should play. It is man and his love for power and greed that does not bode well with the Constitution, therefore, the only measure that can be taken is to eradicate it and start over. Williams’ plan sounds good on the surface, but as the reader begins to dismantle it, he finds that enacting a SAR does nothing to restore America back to its original intent for government and freedom, but rather would be handing over any remaining freedoms and liberties to reform in the name of social democracy.
- Williams, Brian D. N.d. “Towards a Case for a Second American Revolution.” Theory In Action. Forthcoming.