Let’s face it. I’ve been on the planet nearly 60 years. There was a Republican in office when I was born, and I’ve lived through the administrations of Nixon, Reagan and both Bush’s.
I grew up in South Florida, which was heavily Democratic, then went heavily Republican and pretty much stayed there until the year 2000 when it became pretty much a toss up. From Orlando heading South, its urban and liberal, offset by the more rural northern counties which are more conservative. Today, it can swing either direction in a national election, much like many other states.
The world didn’t crumble, I didn’t starve, I wasn’t arrested for being a queer, and I have one of those nice paying jobs with “gold-plated” benefits that you hear people say don’t exist anymore.
I served in the United States Navy for 7 years and 8 months during the 1970’s, a fairly conservative period for the military, well before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I only left the Navy because I told. We’ll save that story for another time as it’s off topic here, but I was surrounded by conservatism, and life didn’t end.
It has been my past experience that the United States of America did not become an untenable place of residence because the Republican party was in power. Sure, there were things done that I didn’t agree with, but nothing that was personally onerous or even particularly difficult to deal with.
So, what scares me so much about a potential win by the Republican party of today?
For one thing, Mitt Romney is about as duplicitous as they come. He’s worse than a shoe salesman, or a used car salesman. He’ll change his personality and beliefs to fit into whatever he thinks you want him to be. We’ve seen example after example of him flip-flopping on important stances just to please whatever audience is before him. This tells me that he does not want to be President because he wants to make a better America – he wants to be President because he wants to make a wealthier Mitt Romney.
He said the other day in a speech, paying Mr. Obama sort of a back-handed and unintentional compliment, that Obama stated that we needed more teachers, more policemen, more firefighters, and that he had missed the point of the recent Wisconsin election. Romney seems to think that the American people want us to hire fewer policeman, fewer firemen and fewer teachers.
Unfortunately, a lot of other Republicans applaud his words, but I don’t think they are paying much attention to what he is actually saying, or what he might actually do if he is elected.
Are so many Republicans willing to vote for Mitt Romney simply because he isn’t Barrack Obama? Many in my own family don’t hesitate to say, with exuberance, “I ain’t votin for no damn nigger”. At least they are out front about it, and I think many Americans around the country have similar feelings about our current President, and just don’t have the balls to come out and say it.
Racism has not gone away in this country, it has simply become more genteel and a lot less violent than when I was a kid.
Back to what scares me about Romney and todays Republican party. As Bob Cesca stated in an opinon piece he wrote a few days ago, the republican leadership of today aren’t concerned about how many policeman or firemen or teachers we have in this country, they are concerned that all these first responders are on the local payroll of “we the people”.
If Romney is elected and the Republican party continue in power, you’ll see a major expansion in the contracting out of government services to third party corporations. Just as Blackwater USA (now known as Academi) took over much of the military’s role in security in Iraq and Afghanistan, under a Republican administration in this decade, you will see the federal government attempt to move more and more “first responder” type civil service jobs out of the hands of local governments and into the hands of private contractors.
I would guarantee you that there will be a slew of loyal and wealthy Republicans behind this, who somehow make even more of a fortune and become even more powerful.
That’s not the worst. Privatizing our police, fireman and teachers place “we the people” another step removed from having a say in our local communities. It becomes all about the money, and no one really will give more than lip service to principles and ethics.
Look at the mess Dick Cheney’s company (Blackwater) got us into with the torture of prisoners of war. Do you really think that a contract policeman, who is paid by the arrest is going to have any real interest in making your neighborhood safe? It doesn’t matter which party is in power if the ethics are flawed.
While I am not particularly fond of unions, I do believe they have a right to exist, and if you want to join one because you feel you are being unfairly treated by your employer – well, that’s why unions began over a hundred years ago.
Wealthy, conservative CEO’s of corporations are much more interested in profit than they are the rights and comfort of employees. Many of the labor laws we have in place today are the direct result of “activist” unions of the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s. Under future Republican administrations, you will see more of what happened in Wisconsin where our public employees such as fireman, teachers and policemen have fewer rights to bargain under the umbrella of unions.
How will our country change when everything is run by a private company, under contract to the Federal Government? That’s what the Republicans have as a vision of the perfect United States, and that is what scares me about them today.
Under that veneer of patriotism, and the zeal to “cut costs”, and “reduce taxes”, they are driving the country down a different road that also ends in disaster and ruin.
While we tout ourselves as being a country full of independent-minded citizens, where the work from the sweat of your own brow is all that matters, it simply isn’t the whole story. We’ve also always been a group of small communities, working together to make life better for all of us.
In a pure sense, some would define that as socialism. As a community, we pay taxes to support common services that benefit us all. At first, it was a few citizens pooling together funds to pay for a community firehouse, or a schoolhouse with a teacher, or to make the road to the next town better so it could be traveled on in bad weather.
Taxes were raised to build bridges, to raise dikes, to deepen harbors – all of these are things that directly or indirectly benefit the public, yet many on the conservative side of our political environment today would call these efforts socialism.
As our country grew, and became wealthier, we realized that among us were the very poor, the ill, the elderly, and our sense of morality would not let us abandon them to live or die in the elements, so again we pooled our resources, and for those in the very bottom of society, we gave them a little help.
The Great Depression that began in 1929 and lasted through much of the 1930’s was also accompanied by one of the fiercest droughts in modern history.
Entire fields of wheat were swept away in the wind and honest and hard-working families all over the country were losing their farms, their land and their livelihoods because of the double-whammy of mother nature and the collapse of much of the financial backbone of the country. One fed off the other and you ended up with entire families living on the side of the road.
Before the depression, elderly people usually had a little pension from where they worked, or they saved up for their old age, or their children took over the family business or farm and helped out – and there was no government involvement at all. With farms repossessed by banks, who then went under themselves, with no jobs to be found anywhere, with an entire generations savings gone practically overnight – Social Security was born, again, simply a pooling of community resources for a good cause.
I’m not sure that most Republican or conservative voters today understand just what their leadership wants to do. The Republican leadership imagines a country with wall-to-wall Walmarts, with much of the government dismantled and turned over to private contractors and they count their stock certificates in their dreams.
Is President Obama’s dream of a future America free of problems? Certainly not. He’s as guilty of taking us down a few wrong roads as any of the last few Republicans we’ve had in office, and his glaring lack of leadership is at least somewhat responsible for the gridlock in Congress.
There has to be a healthy balance between doing what is right for people and the country, and allowing corporations to make a profit.
Many of the “socialistic” agenda items referenced by the far right include such things as the clean air act, the clean water act and the laws on our books that prohibit the exploitation of children or minorities. Do we really want an America where the corporations with unlimited pools of money are really in charge? We are dangerously close to that now.
Do we want to return to an era where our rivers burn, the air is un-breathable, where you can’t get a job because of the color of your skin or the church you attend? Many of the protections of our individual liberties that we know today were championed by liberal democrats.
I had a huge laugh the other day when I saw a post on facebook from someone obviously favoring Romney and the conservative view of today. This particular lady has spent much of the last 25 years on unemployment, or in government housing. One of her kids hasn’t worked in years and depends on government assistance. Has she really thought this through?
I don’t care that Mitt Romney is a mormon. I don’t care that Barrack Obama is black. What I do care about is that we need more of “we the people” and less of Big Corporation, Inc. involved in running our country. I envision much of the social progress we’ve made in the past 50 years sliding backwards under a heavily conservative government.
Perhaps some of it does fit under the category of socialism, but I’d rather see someone getting unemployment and social security than another Walmart on the corner.
Whichever political party ends up in control, we need to make sure that “we the people” stay involved, vocal and active in oversight. We cannot continue to elect politicians of either party whose primary goal is self-enrichment or nepotism. We need to elect politicians that stop seeing the other side of the aisle as “the enemy.”
I’m not saying that Barrack Obama is a perfect President, but am saying that for now, he’s a better choice for us as a people.