Encase you missed in, James Fallows who writes for The Atlantic, has been chronicling the ongoing saga of “Atlas Shrugged Guy” a business owner that laid off all his workers in protest of Obama winning re-election. Mr. Atlas wrote Fallows an email detailing his plans and it’s blown up into a mini internet meme, Fallows has received literally thousands of emails largely by people outraged about Atlas Shrugged Guy, but also a few brave libertarians writing for the defense. It’s fairly hilarious, and sort of sad. Most of the comments are about the morality of what Atlas Shrugged Guy did, or questioning if he did it at all. These are good points but I’d say that the bigger issue is that Atlas Shrugged guy is going about it all the wrong way. My advice would come from that ancient liberal tenant: don’t get mad, get involved!
American politics can be frustrating and awful at times, but it also rewards intense activism to a great degree. Want an example? Long ago, in 2003, none other than liberal icon Howard Dean would dodge questions about gay marriage by referencing Vermont’s policy on Civil Unions. Eight years later the President would come out in support of marriage equality and a marriage equality plank would be added to the Democratic platform. And why? Well because of a lot of hard work by a (compared to 300 million Americans) small group of activists. Indeed, once upon a time Joe Lieberman was a contender for the Democratic nomination for the Presidency, later a bunch of internet kids from Daily Kos ran him out of the party largely because of his unwavering support for the war in Iraq, the fact that a lot of his public comments were attacking his own party and the fact that he was a petty and sanctimonious jerk. A small group of activists really can have a big effect!
So Atlas Shrugged guy can actually get involved too! There’s lots of ways, he could get involved in Republican politics in his local area. All you really have to do is show up to the meeting, say hello and ask how you can help. In addition to just helping out his local party unit or county Republican club, he could also start working on various campaigns. One of the great (or terrible) things about politics in our Democracy is no matter how much your win or lose by on Election Day, there’s always another coming, right down the pike. It’s less than two years from Election Day 2014 already! A third of the Senate and all of the House of Representatives will be up for re-election, if you don’t like Obama’s policies then it’s time to get your ass in gear! Atlas Shrugged Guy better get to work! Everyday untold thousands of youngsters turn 18, you need to find them and register them to vote! Tell them why Obama is bad and GOP policies are good, and if they disagree well thing find some more! If you are upset that Latinos voted overwhelmingly for Obama, well you got work to do, better start explaining to them why they should support your guy! Now this might entail some compromises, no more putting Sherriff Joe on Prime Time at your convention. No more talking about “self-deportation.” No more claiming that Sonia Sotomayor is a stupid and privileged affirmative action hire. But these are political battles that you can win, because you as Atlas Shrugged guy are committed!
If Atlas Shrugged guy doesn’t like what’s going on in his Democracy he can just ask himself, who is my member of Congress? If it’s a Democrat well, sounds likes we just found that person’s challenger! If a Republican well then primary the SOB to make sure he’s against Obamacare “enough.” The history of the labormovement is full of regular people who had just about enough, and turned into history making figures. Here in Minnesota we have a long and proud history of regular people running for office and winning. Once upon a time the late great Paul Wellstone was a just another passionate leftist academic in Northfield Minnesota (is it possible to be more irrelevant to the Editorial Board of say the Washington Post than being from there?) Well he got it in his mind to run for Senate and the rest, as they say, is history. Once upon a time, in 2004, a boring high school teacher from Mankato tried to go into a Bush event with some of his students, one of which had a Kerry sticker on his wallet that became visible when he took out his ID. The Bush Inc. security goons said no dice to Tim et al. So he decided to run for Congress. And the rest, as they say, is history.
If that’s not enough Atlas Shrugged guy can always go whole hog and just move to Iowa, yup 2016 is already underway. A lot of doors to knock, a lot of calls to be made and a lot of arguments to be had with people that Just Don’t Get It. Your party needs your Atlas Shrugged Guy. So do other proponents of you Ayn Randian bullshit. Get your ass in gear.
Forward with the Heart Guard! Tonight we Dine in Hell! YEEEEEE-HAW!