Yes, I will keep the change!

Today I’ll shift from Community Supported Agriculture to a bigger topic, but maybe they are related.

The chairman of BP apologizes to the American people for the oil spill and then has to apologize for the apology. What is going on here?

In his obvious Nordic accent, Chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg pledges $20 Billion to make sure the little guy is not forgotten in the months and years ahead of the clean-up and job loss that our coastal citizens have suffered and will suffer. The wetlands, its creatures and those whose lives depend upon the water of the northern Gulf of Mexico are acknowledged by a giant corporation to be the underdogs whom BP will make whole. But a hue and cry goes up that the Chairman, whose English is obviously not sufficiently idiomatic to filter his faux pas, calls the victims “small people.”

“Small people,” “little guy,” “underdog,” they are all the same and have forever been the real champions of the American spirit. It is us little guys, us small people, us underdogs who can float nearer the top with the tar balls, if only we will stop taking offense at what we are called long enough to realize that we constitute, or could if we wanted, a real populist movement.

The Tea Party rage is not a populism because it is merely the anguished cry of fear at losing individual autonomy and independence, neither of which can mean what they once were supposed to mean in a society so compact and complex as ours. With their bumper stickers about keeping their guns and money while “you take the change,” the rage ralliers miss the very change that can make a difference. That change is to recognize that the big issues are not gun possession and gay marriage but are the problems that are nearly universally recognized: Wall Street and corporate greed, money driven politics, small business vitality, a greener economy and affordable housing and health care. Confront these issues with the solid American values of equal opportunity and equal justice and there is the possibility of a Populist Movement with focus and clout.

Let’s not be side-tracked in yelling about someone calling us small people or little guys. Instead let’s us underdogs unite! We’ve nothing to lose and the change will keep us from continuing to be victimized by our ignorance and their arrogance and avarice.

At the end of the day, in its small people way, Community Supported Agriculture is the sprouting of real Populism.

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