By Jack Hoffman
At first glance I got the feeling I was at some local Odd Fellows group. The difference being the audience was not made up of worshipers singing Onward Christian Soldiers. These people were the soldiers of peace and social change. These folks were the veterans, the vanguard of change that drove in freedom buses through the South in the 1960s, registering black voters, marching in the main streets of America protesting an illegal war. And in a last bit of breath they marched again against an invasion of Iraq. We were gathered to hear the words of famous anti-Iraq War protester Cindy Sheehan, an inspirational leader of the movement that refuses to give up the good fight. The big difference was that at this lecture, there were only three people out of 150 under the age of 25. As I said to Cindy later, you can’t have revolution without the youth.
In the 1960s, we all had our differences. But that’s what makes a movement better. But one thing we progressives stood in unison on this time around: the election of Barack Obama.
Our country wanted change. We had to rest control from the corporate thieves and the wealthy class that had diluted the middle class and created this unprecedented disparity between the haves and have-nots. Greed was now capitalized – a belief that began in the ‘80s now was the mainstream in a selfish culture of a once great giving and caring nation.
This is not Republican, Democratic, socialist or whatever.
These is class warfare. Corporate executives are now earning almost 500 times their employees. These thieves outsourced jobs at the behest of their voice and power in Washington. The U.S. Chamber of bandits and others that bought congress – milk whatever was left in a frail economy with high oil prices controlled by Wall Street. Katrina and New Orleans became the metaphor of a shameless government. If that wasn’t enough profit for Wall Street they sold off phony mortgages, and when values declined and mortgage payments could not be made, they repossessed the homes that so many worked hard for and dreamed about. The truth is that all these repossessions are not being sold off but are held by the bankers hoping the government will buy these toxic assets they created.
Thomas Jefferson once said that when the government can no longer serve its people, revolution is needed. Overwhelmingly, we elected Obama.
Don’t be mislead now that the Dems have a 60-vote majority. Teddy Kennedy and Byrd are too sick too vote. At least 10 Democrats are not so willing to have a government run healthcare options. Senator Bachus (D) of Montana recently asked if we have a government program in competition with the insurance companies, what will happen to the insurance industry? Wait a minute! I thought the government couldn’t run a healthcare program or any program. Next time you hear that, tell them about Medicare, Social Security, and the V.A. healthcare program. All of which can attest to as doing just fine.
At times I think the major issues of the day are so convoluted that, like AIG, they just can’t be fixed or broken up. Bank of America and others are so large the government and its leaders do not have the guts to break them up! Maybe they are so big that they can’t be broken up! If you think the government owns all these financial institutions maybe on paper, rest assured they are making no policy decisions. Just today City Corp raised interest on credit cards. Speaking of controlling credit card interest and foreclosures, the power of Wall Street got to Congress, and reform in that area floated down the Potomac, with some of the changes we have been hoping for. Is there some analogy in what Hyman Roth said to Michael Corleone in The Godfather, re: the mob’s power? “We are bigger than U.S. Steel,” he said.
Now Bank of America says screw them! We own them – they don’t us.
The Democrats, led by chicken shit Harry Reid, capitulate to ridiculous amendments thrown in by the opposition – including some by phony Democrats. Instead, he should kick the asses of the few by threatening pulling committee assignments. Gee! Isn’t that what Republicans did under Tom Delay to get things passed?
Still believing in bi-partisanship and whatever else? President Obama has certainly showed no willingness to use his bully pulpit. He has changed his promise to prosecute folks in the Bush administration. He has yet to move forward on Don’t ask – Don’t Tell and other issues.
Take for instance this new environmental bill passed by the House – the one which may never pass the Senate. Obama allowed Congress to pass more funding for the wars. Congress obliged him and increased the amount by $30 billion.
Get ready for the big one – healthcare. This will be the war of wars in Washington. This may be the real test for Obama – determine his political future. Healthcare is now 20% of the U.S. economy. Already the U.S. is ranked tenth in the world in overall healthcare. No country, on a per capita basis, pays even close for healthcare. It will bankrupt this nation in 10 years when the projected costs over 10 years will reach $150 trillion.
Is Obama the one who can make the changes that more than 75% of Americans want and need? Will this nation survive with all that needs to be accomplished? Is Obama up to the job?