Thursday, December 29, 2016
Greetings! I bid everyone a Happy and prosperous new year in 2017-in spite of everything. We pinned our hopes that the Electoral College members would select any other person besides Donald trump-alas, it didn’t happen. The institutions that run our country have failed us-the Electoral College, the two party system, the FBI, the news media-failed us. It was only Jill Stein, candidate of the Green Party, and NOT Hillary Clinton, who went to court to challenge the election results, showing that the Democratic party has lost its backbone, it will not fight for its rights, it would allow itself to be bullied out of its legitimate claim to state authority. This is a repeat of 2000, when Republican activists started a riot during the counting of the ballots to prevent it from happening. Our political establishment, including the news media, pretends that nothing is wrong, that it’s the normal transition of power from one party to the other. But this is not normal times. Racists of all stripes are crawling out of the woodwork, encouraged by trump’s election and his campaign rhetoric accusing Mexicans of rape and drug dealing, and threats of barring Muslims from entering this country. Racism and neo-fascism are about to return to the political and cultural mainstream; people with racist tendencies will feel safe to spout their racism venom, and two-bit hack politicians will think it’s politically expedient to bash minorities to gain votes. Elements that such conservative legends as Barry Goldwater and Bill Buckley condemned-the Birch Society, the disciples of Ayn Rand, the total racists around the George Wallace Presidential campaign-have taken over, and the more mainstream Republican politicians feel they have to work with them. Let us once and for all time end the myth of the political “center,” the place where we come together, put our differences aside, cut deals, and work things out for the greater good. Democratic Presidents such as Carter, Clinton, and now Obama tried to reason and deal with the Republican Party, under the control of the right-wing element, which kept demanding more, more, more of the elimination of every socially-beneficial program since the New Deal. (Newt Gingrich admitted as much.) As any Union rep will tell you, it does no good to make concessions to the other side; they don’t want compromise, they want dominance. No more concessions! No more dealing! I say we stand fast to say NO to any attempt to privatize Social Security and Medicare, which is the Immediate Republicans demand-IF they get that, how much MORE will they demand? After we stand fast, I say we move forward in our work to expand and build on Obamacare, to make it a “Medicare for all” system (like what Lyndon Johnson originally plans to do, but dealmaker that we was, he took what he could get and waited to get more later). As we defend what we DO have, like Social Security and Medicare, we advance for what else we need to improve the country; one fine model is the “Social and Economic Bill of Rights” published by the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which calls for such things as a job that pays a living wage, safe and affordable housing, sufficient and nutritious food, long term health care, free and quality education, and the right to leisure time. These are NOT luxuries; these are things that help develop a total human being, not just a 9-to-5 inmate that sells his/her soul to make someone else richer. The Social and Economic Bill of Rights can be found at http://www.dsausa.org/a_social_and_economic_bill_of_rights. The Democratic Party, through the Democratic Leadership Council, sold its soul trying to appease Wall Street elements, hoping to gain corporate campaign contributions by advancing trade deals like the North American free Trade Agreement (NAFTA); agreeing to the welfare “Reforms” of 1996 that the Republican-controlled Congress demanded, which treated low-income and poor people-many of whom DO work, even though they still need assistance-as leeches and incompetent people with no “work ethic”; and agreeing also to draconian drug laws that put behind bars people whose only crime was a few tokes on a joint, in spite of the fact that Clinton, Limbaugh, Gingrich, etc. dabbled in the weed back in the day. The other half of this was to take away the influence of the “special interests-“ Labor, minorities like the LGBT community and Hispanics, women-in the affairs of the party, to act as if their problems are not legitimate, and they are a burden on the party. This promotes the idea that there is only one viable option for the political elites of both parties, the “shun-the poor-low-income-and-minorities” attitude, and so what chance do activists for these groups have of influencing the upper echelons of the party? What has “go along to get along” with the Republicans done for the Democratic Party? Even after Clinton conceded to the republicans everything on NAFTA and welfare “reform,” the Republican-dominated Congress STILL impeached him in the Lewinsky case, for the same thing so many of THEM had been doing. And on through the Obama administration, the Republican leadership worked (if you call what they do “work”) to undermine each of Obama’s initiatives, like national health insurance, along with fostering the Tea Party movement and its accompanying racism. As I said, making concessions gets you nothing; the enemy will see you as weak and demand more. Whatever the party does or doesn’t do, we must work to stand fast against those who would take our rights away-after we finish celebrating the New Year. Bye!