The American Way

The greatest thing about America ... is Americans!

Today's Powers That Be prefer that we ordinary people feel powerless, as though any struggle against them is hopeless, so why bother? But such a defeatist attitude is not only anti-democratic, it's downright un-American, for ours is a nation born in rebellion. It doesn't get much national coverage from the establishment media, but this rebellious spirit against the powerful is in play everyday somewhere in our land.

For example, out in Chelan, Washington, the multibillion-dollar McDonald's burger chain recently got a taste of America's grassroots democratic spirit. It's been my joy to visit Chelan, a small resort town that draws tens of thousands of tourists annually. The charm of Chelan is that it's the exact opposite of slick tourist towns and plastic DisneyWorlds. Situated on a beautiful lake, its resorts and restaurants are locally owned, giving visitors a most-relaxing hometown feel.

Symbolic of this feel is the beloved Lakeview Drive-In, a 45-year old burger joint that's right out of "American Graffiti". The city owns the parkland and building where Lakeview is located, leasing the treasured spot to a local mom & pop operator. But in August, people were stunned to learn that their city council was in the final stages of secret negotiations to oust mom & pop and turn the lease over to McDonald's, which was offering almost double the lease money that the local operators could afford.

And that would have been that ... except that townspeople and tourists alike exploded in rebellion, deluging the council with calls, emails, and screams of outrage: "IS THE COUNCIL STUPID, OR JUST NUTS?" shouted a typical emailer. Just one week later, the chagrined Chelan council voted 7-0 to end negotiations with McDonald's.

This is Jim Hightower saying ... Not only was this a victory up for local authenticity over franchise plasticity, but also for people power over corporate power ... and that's the American Way.


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