Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mid-Term Elections

The 2010 Congressional elections are arguably the most important of the last 50 years (at least). On one hand, we have the Democrats, whom since 2008 have been trying their hardest to move this country forward through progressive legislation such as health care reform, financial regulation and environmental policies; all of which are intended to protect consumers and make this country a safer, healthier, more prosperous place for everyone. On the other side, we have the Republicans, who have, since Obama took office, attempted to obstruct any and all legislation proposed by Obama, even when Obama included initiatives originally proposed by Republicans.

What is their goal, should they win control of Congress? According to Mitch McConnell, the soul purpose will be to ensure that Obama only serves one term as President, and to guarantee the 2012 Republican Presidential nominee all the support they need. While many of the Republican/Tea Party positions are frightening and extreme, the aforementioned strategy needs no further explanation: Republicans have no plan to create jobs or fix the economy. Their sole purpose is to destroy Barack Obama. Are these the kind of people we want running our country? This is a party who time and again has refused to cooperate, or even come to the table with solutions to the current economic crisis. This is a party whose members have apologized to BP, and who have blocked all efforts to investigate why Deep Water Horizons exploded. This is a party who believes President Obama wants to enforce Muslim Sharia law in the US. This is a political party who's only method of getting votes is fear.

When asked what solutions they have to our society's ills, the Republican answer is, almost always, tax cuts and less government. Of course, they consistently fail to specify how they would shrink government (of course, smaller government= no reproductive rights for women and making gays second-class citizens). Nevermind that tax cuts for the rich do NOT create jobs, as history has shown us, nevermind how Republicans support tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas, nevermind how Republicans believe that religion should have an integral part of government. Nevermind the hypocrisy of Republicans who abhor the stimulus money, yet brag about the money their state got and the corporate donations they received from the TARP program that they stood so feverishly against. The overarching message is that Republicans run for office to represent corporate America; unregulated, no such thing as too-big-to-fail Capitalism. The only logical conclusion of how Republicans govern can be summed up as PROFITS OVER PEOPLE.

We can not allow the Republican/Tea Party to win control of our government. Their positions are so extreme, they defy logic. Here are just a FEW examples, with which most of us are familiar. Michele Bachmann wants to bring the Constitution back to "its original purpose," which must mean, logically, what it was in 1789, meaning amongst many things, no voting rights for women and a reinstatement of slavery. Joe Miller wants to end (not privatize... END) Social Security, as well as unemployment insurance. Sharron Angle believes people should consider "Second Amendment Remedies" when the wrong candidates win. She also has slammed Harry Reid for not creating jobs while at the same time saying it's "not her job as Senator to create jobs." Christine O'Donnell believes that separation of church and state is a myth, and has no understanding of our Constitution. Ken Buck believes homosexuality is a choice, and he compared it to alcoholism. Rand Paul believes fundamental aspects of the Civil Rights Act to be unconstitutional.

The Palin-Beck led corporate-sponsored Tea Party is nothing more than a domestic terror group in training. From Second Amendment Remedies to poisonous white powder being sent to the office of Congressman Raul Grijalva, from head-stomping in Kentucky to the arrest of a reporter for asking a question in Alaska, this group prides itself on ignorance and idolizes stupidity. This is a group who nominates candidates who refuse to answer questions by the media (and arrest or threaten to "take out" reporters who ask questions they don't like), who nominates candidates whose tactics are fear, Islamophobia and ignorance, and who do not give a damn about WE THE PEOPLE.

Folks, the most important thing we can do is VOTE. The moderate, responsible Republican party is no more. It does not exist, and while Democrats are FAR from perfect, at least they have the best interests of the people at heart. We, in America, should have single-payer Universal Health Care. We, in America, should be free to marry and love whomever we chose. We, in America, should be able to ask our candidates tough questions and get honest answers.

I would like to reintroduce FDR's Second Bill of Rights. Had he not died from Polio while in office, I believe this country would be a radically different place. Here is his dream from his 1944 State of the Union Address, and I challenge anyone to state one negative aspect of this proposal:

"It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights—among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however—as our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. “Necessitous men are not free men.”[2] People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

Americas own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for all our citizens.

For unless there is security here at home there cannot be lasting peace in the world."

I, for one, believe this Second Bill of Rights is something toward which we must work in the coming years. We need to start building things again, things like roads, bridges, skyscrapers and dams. We should build high-speed magnetic rail systems that produce no pollution, can get people across the country in a few hours and would create thousands of jobs, not only from construction, but by creating an interconnected system of commerce. We need to invest in sustainable energy, such as solar, wind and geothermal. We need to take-on the challenges of being an innovative society if we are to re-emerge as the global leader in business, technology and innovation. Imagine what we could accomplish if we dared to elect those who have a vision of the future. It could all start now, or, it could all end now. On Tuesday, November 2, vote.

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