Self-proclaimed “grassroots populist” Jim Hightower spoke to an overflow crowd in the Geneva Room Friday afternoon as the a guest of the President’s Forum speaker series. Hightower, an author, radio commentator and columnist, talked about the present government’s “thievery” of power from the general public for the benefit of wealthy corporate executives.
The visit was part of Hightower’s Take Back America Tour that promotes public participation in government. In parallel to his recent book “Thieves in High Places,” Hightower’s speech outlined the “bad” of how he sees corporate America taking away the ability of common people to affect changes in their lives. The “good” he detailed were grassroots efforts of citizens revolting against such inequalities as sweatshops. His discussion stirred comments from the packed audience in support of and also in objection to his remarks.
Hightower says he has spent three decades “battling the powers that be” on behalf of the “powers that ought to be,” namely consumers, working families, environmentalists, small businesses and just plain folks. Radio stations across the country air his daily two-minute commentaries, and his column appears in several national newspapers. Hightower is also the author of “If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates.”
The next speaker in the President’s Forum series is Grover Norquist, a Republican and voice on the right who will speak on Thursday, Nov. 6. The time and location will be announced shortly.
Norquist is one of the most connected members of the new Right-Wing movement. He was on the campaign staffs of the 1988, 1992 and 1996 Republican Platform Committees, and formerly served as executive director of the College Republicans. As president of Americans for Tax Reform, a not-for-profit that opposes higher taxes at both the federal and state levels, he helped the Heritage Foundation write the Republican's 1994 Contract with America. Shortly thereafter, he vowed to hunt down liberal groups one by one and extinguish their funding sources.