Saturday, December 29, 2012

Throw Out ALL Politicians in 2014???

A friend of mine suggested that in 2014 we throw out ALL our politicians, but in reality, we need to throw out only half, and elect politicians sympathetic to the vision of those remaining.

Our current gridlock is the result of a divided nation; we've sent to Washington a House Divided, so to speak.

What vision do we have for our nation?

I won't expound on the two visions, and their variants, competing for the soul of our nation; I've done that plenty enough in this and my other blogs and via Twitter and Facebook.

Yet, it would seem that in the most recent Presidential election, America chose one of those visions over the other. Some say it was a close election, though not as close as others in our recent past. But it does reveal a nation divided.

So, we don't need to throw out ALL our politicians, but rather make a choice as an electorate: What vision do we have for our nation? What will see our nation through the immediate challenge of the next 10 years, and what will build our nation for the next 50 years, the next 100 years?

The choice belongs to the American Electorate.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prayer Has Never Left School

Prayer has never left the schools ... teachers and students alike pray, at home, at work, in the mosque, synagogue, temple or church - whether they be Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish or Christian or whatever.

What we DON'T need are organized, or ritual, prayers said by a teacher or principal over a loudspeaker system or before athletic events.

Whereas our public schools were once an extension of the Protestant Establishment (which is why Roman Catholics created their own parochial system), the diversity of the nation has brought us to another place, wiser and more respectful of all the religious traditions that now make up the American quilt of faith.

"Prayer in schools" has become a favorite tagline of conservatives, but in reality, it's one of those throw-away phrases that's impossible to define and thus meaningless; though it's not the first time that folks get all riled up over meaningless religious jargon and cant.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Strategies of Fear

One grows weary of the far right and its cries of alarm at every turn of the road,  it's creation of "enemies of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," yet it's a tactic as old as time, a tactic long-practiced in America.

When I read the following from 1919, a missive sent to America on New Year's Eve by the U.S. Attorney General, Mitchell Palmer, I thought I was reading an editorial piece from Fox News.

It's instructive to read, so here it is:

Twenty million people in this country own Liberty bonds. These the Reds propose to take away. Nine million eight hundred and thirty thousand people in the U.S. own farms and 3.8 million more own homes, which they would forfeit. Eleven million have savings accounts in savings banks and 18.6 million people have deposits in our national banks at which they aim. There are hundreds of thousands of churches and religious institutions all of which they would abolish. In other words, 110 million hard-working and saving Americans who own property, love liberty and worship God are asked to abandon all the ideals of religion, liberty and government which are the outcome of the struggles of their fathers and their own development and to place themselves, their homes, their families and their religious faith in the keeping and their property under the domination of a small group of Lenins and Trostskys. The [Red] movement will not be permitted to go far enough in this country to disturb our peace and well-being or create any widespread distrust of the people's Government. It will fall away before the light of popular knowledge and appreciation of its aims and purposes.*

On January 2, 1920, in thirty-three cities, twenty-three states, "radicals" were caught up in a net of fear, in the name of peace. Thousands were arrested, detained, and many badly treated. Ultimately, of the thousands promised by Palmer to be deported, only 556 aliens were deported, mostly for immigration violations that had nothing to do with "sworn enemies of America," Bolshevism and anarchism.

Palmer, of course, had political aspirations, and what better way to win the heart of America than to create "enemies," and then defeat them.

In the long run, it's a tactic that never works, but in the short-run, creates havoc and suffering.

*Savage Peace by Ann Hagedorn, p.421.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Eisenhower Tax Rates???

What could we do if tax rates for the wealthy were at the Eisenhower level?

We could engage in one of the greatest public works building projects ever seen.

We could repair some dams, take others down, and even build some new dams.

We could do the same with bridges, highways and water and sewer systems.

We could lay down miles of light rail and trolley track ... we could revolutionize public transportation.

We could build new libraries ... and fully-fund our public education system.

We could help railroads rebuild their trackage.

We could fully-fund our national and state parks - we could have the greatest park system in the entire world.

We could provide for the homeless and the mentally ill ... and for our wounded vets.

And just maybe, provide single-payer health care for the entire nation, and get ourselves out of one of the worst health-care delivery systems that has made us the laughing stock of the world.

And all of this for starters.

One of these days, Americans will figure out how to be a real nation - a nation with a solid reputation for wisdom and compassion.

A nation that sets the pace for the world - a nation of greatness.

We did much of this under Eisenhower ... we can do it again.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

For My Fellow Americans - Taxes

BTW, if I have to pay a little more in taxes to see that every American has access to affordable health care, I'm more than happy to do that.

All of this crabbing about taxes smacks of a profound immaturity, if not anarchism. I write this as a proud and grateful American, and a Christian with a deep sense of our common need to offer help to one another, especially to those who, for whatever reason, find themselves on the bottom or the heap.

And, yes, FDR's SS and Obama's Affordable Care Act can be compared, because both are devoted to the common good, with a special regard for those who need some help. And school is out, or the jury is in, on SS - I worked hard all my life and contributed to SS, and now I'm collecting it.

Hats off to FDR who took millions of elderly out of the poor house and gave them a dignified retirement; and hats off to Affordable Health Care and Obama who has expanded the health care of America, something good for the entire nation, that will save millions of sick days and make everyone healthier and safer, including pregnant women, infants and children.

You bet, I'll be happy to pay more for my fellow Americans.