Thursday, September 29, 2011

Clarion Call of the People

The clarion call of the American people is increasingly clear, and politicians who fail to heed the warning do so at their peril. Either address our concerns or we will take our demands to the streets so you can’t continue to ignore us, which has been your preference.  The Democratic Party, with a few notable exceptions has lacked the spine to stand up for ordinary Americans being trampled upon by the Republican Party. The American people are fed up with appeasement as the official policy stance of the Democratic Party.  American people have been the recipients of class warfare for years.  They will show our leaders how to react to abuse heaped upon abuse of ordinary working Americans by the Republican Party.

Not since the Great Depression has a Republican assault on working and unemployed Americans reached its current unprecedented tipping point.  The Republican House and Senate as well as members of the US Supreme Court have blatantly acted on behalf of large corporations. They are attempting to destroy collective bargaining and emasculate the working middle class in America. They are attempting to privatize the US Postal Service as a means of controlling mail-in voting.  They are undermining voting rights of minorities, elderly, students and people with disabilities in 27 states, as well as undercutting women’s access to health care

Up until recently, President Obama has fantasized Republicans in Congress would be reasonable.  Apparently he also believed in the tooth fairy.  Republicans rejected nearly all of his proposals to improve the economy and employment over the past two years. Confronted by growling and snarling Republicans, the President and Democratic leaders have whimpered in submission, their tails between their legs.  The President has finally decided to stand up and be the leader that was elected in 2008 for which he deserves great credit.   But Barrack Obama is only one person, and others have to get behind him, like leaders in the House and Senate, and in state houses across the country. Like Shirley Chisolm said, You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas.

During the Great Depression, eventually the people rose up to demand reform. Republican Herbert Hoover was voted out of office, aptly disdained by the American people. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators filled the streets of America.  Across the Midwest from Ohio, to Indiana, Minnesota and North Dakota there were Farmer Strikes.  New York City saw a Rent Strike by people who, like those in foreclosure today, found themselves losing their homes, and had nothing to lose. There were Food Marches in major cities and Tax Holidays declared by citizens.  In 1932, 15,000 unemployed and destitute veterans descended on Washington, constructing ramshackle camps, staying until their demands were met.  Mr. Obama and other Democrats face the prospect of a repeat of similar civil unrest on their watch if they persist in their present ineffective course. The American people have begun to express their grievances in Madison, Columbus and Indianapolis, joined by a “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York, and “Main Street” protests in Georgia, Idaho, Montana, Ohio and Tennessee. This is only the beginning.

The American people’s tolerance for inaction is teetering precariously. The bail out of Wall Street banks with no strings attached, and enabling outrageous salaries and benefits for bankers and fund managers, who nearly brought the country to financial collapse, is unconscionable. Every last one of them that wreaked havoc on America should be in jail instead of receiving a “Get Out of Jail Free” pass.

President Obama has been talking tough lately, and that’s great. But let’s hope that he doesn’t cave in to Republican demands when they huff and puff threatening to blow his house down, as he has done in the past.  He says major cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and other essential federal programs are “necessary concessions” of his Republican budget negotiations. Makes no sense when reversing the Bush tax cuts could solve the problem.  Continued give aways to the wealthiest Americans, and tax loopholes for the wealthiest corporations, will simply not be tolerated by the American people.  They amount to pouring gasoline on a fire.

The time is long overdue for President Obama and the Democratic leadership wakeup.  Once people take to the streets, the people doing the marching, carrying signs and shouting angry slogans will be your unemployed next-door neighbors, college students, elderly people and those with disabilities who face disastrous futures without major reform.  They will be ordinary middle class working people, union members, and unemployed people who have had enough.  It will take very little to trigger an Arab Spring in America, with massive numbers of regular people demonstrating to demand genuine reform.  No more platitudes, no more talk about bipartisanship and shared sacrifice.  It is time for strong leadership on behalf of ordinary Americans like that of FDR, Harry Truman or Hubert Humphrey.

No comments:

Post a Comment