Kevin DeAnna is the founder of Youth for Western Civilization and is a field representative for the Leadership Institute. He received his bachelor's degree at the College of William & Mary and is currently a graduate student in International Relations at American University.
The annoying thing about tear gas is that it doesn”t hit you all at once. They had used a smoke grenade before that and so you assumed it was just another one. You cough slightly at first, so slightly you don”t think about it. Then you notice everyone else is doing the same thing. Then you curse, then it gets much worse, and then you run like hell.
David Sirota begins his tour of American populism by telling how he hung around with leftists, got drunk, daydreamed for a while, and then threw up. Sirota’s The Uprising has ambitious aims”a no holds barred, behind the scenes look at the anti-Establishment movements of Left and Right grouped under the catchall term “populist.” Such movements and organizations include antiwar groups, Democratic politicians, progressive third parties, Lou Dobbs, the Minutemen, shareholder activists, and union organizers. Sirota deserves credit for capturing the vague Zeitgeist of these disparate actors and uniting them into a more or less coherent narrative. But unfortunately for Sirota, the real story behind contemporary American populism is not the one he wants to tell.