Do The Right Thing
What’s wrong with the media? They do just as much to cloud the issues or muddy the waters as they do to give us any clear evidence of what real options we have as a nation in this latest crisis — or any other one, for that matter.
This morning the talking heads wagged their well-conditioned tongues citing the necessity for us — that is, the American people — to climb on board the Bush Bus and bail out Wall Street. There was a guy on Morning Joe this morning who was practically apoplectic in his zeal for this no-strings-attached approach to the Wall Street meltdown. I wish I knew his name. I don’t. I missed his introduction, and MSNBC didn’t seem inclined to identify him with a little tag under the picture. I did hear one mention of the fact that he is a regular on CNBC. That’s all I know. Then there was the “aw shucks” questioning of Senator Evan Bayh from Indiana on Morning Joe. Joe Scarborough asked the Senator, “Why didn’t you see this coming? Why didn’t the Administration see this coming? Why didn’t I see this coming?”
Come on, Joe, how stupid do you think we are out here? Plain old Left-eyed Jack out here in Nowhere, USA, saw this coming for over a year now. All you have to do, Joe, is listen to the guests you have on your own show. Jim Cramer of Mad Money warned of this months and months ago, and I believe it was on your show, Joe! I could be wrong about that, but that’s how I remember it. Several economists have appeared on every political commentary show on MSNBC and CNN and warned that this day of reckoning was coming. The simple fact is, Joe, you and your Republican buddies over at the White House and in Congress didn’t want to hear this news screaming down the pike at you. You wanted to talk about WAR! Well, to be fair, there was the usual scapegoating of gays and unfortunate pregnant women who would like some privacy to make their own choices about their bodies. You know, Joe, the kinds of things that Republicans win elections on.
Well, all that being said, because I couldn’t let it go, that brings me to the real topic for today’s blog: Doing the right thing. I almost used the headline “Confessions of a Yellow-dog Democrat,” because that’s what I want to talk about today. And my words are aimed more at my Republican friends out there than my fellow Democrats.
The hardest thing to do as a partisan in our political system is to lay that part of ourselves aside and do what’s right for our country. In fact, it’s very difficult. But if we want to preserve our democracy, we must do so every so often in order to keep one bunch of political cronies from entrenching themselves so deeply in our government that we can never get them out. In my view, that’s what we have going on today. A non-responsive White House along with six years of a rubber-stamping Republican Congress have created a Washington of massive corruption. And while John McCain claims that he is ready to do something about this situation, his record – the much bandied word “maverick” aside – does not support his position. It’s a great leap of faith for the American people to buy into this political rhetoric.
As I have said before in this column, I am a true yellow-dog Democrat. I do not apologize for it. I do not hide from it. And I refuse to let a mean-spirited right-wing talk machine call my patriotism into question because of it. When called by my country to serve during the Vietnam War, I stepped up. And once again in 1980 when I felt called by my country to do the right thing, I stepped up again. That year I went against my deepest convictions and values and voted for Ronald Reagan for President of the United States. Some years later, as I watched dear friends die in the AIDS epidemic, I questioned the wisdom of that decision, but for the most part I stand behind that decision.
Why? Because it was the right thing to do. I hold no person or ex-President of the United States in higher esteem than I do Jimmy Carter. His gentle kindness has brought hope and comfort to people around the world and here at home. He is truly one of the greatest men of his generation. However, going into the 1980 election Ronald Reagan asked exactly the right question. “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” That single question resounds down through the years as one of the bellwether moments in Presidential debates. I was struggling trying to keep my small business afloat at the time, and times were particularly hard. I had to sell my home that I had worked so hard to get in order to make it through and keep my business afloat. I was anything but better off than I was four years earlier.
My story was far from unique. From coast to coast people were struggling with an economy that just wasn’t working, and the Carter Administration just wasn’t getting the job done. I don’t feel it was from lack of trying. I just feel that they were overwhelmed by the oil crisis and the economic toll it was exacting on the nation. Then there was the entire matter of Iran rising up and taking over our embassy in Tehran and holding our people hostage. Carter’s paralysis on the issue fed a growing anxiety out here in the real world that he wasn’t up to the job.
So as an American first, I stood up and made a bold move – the right move. I used my vote – my only voice in all of this – to express my displeasure with my government. I went to the polls that year and voted for Ronald Reagan. It’s the only time I have ever voted for a Republican, and hopefully it will be the last. However, if confronted with a bad Democratic administration or Democratic Representative or Senator, I am prepared to do the same.
In the past seven-and-a-half years we have seen this administration make mistake after mistake. We have also seen John McCain voice his support for those mistakes time and time again. We have seen the corruption of open-ended no-bid contracts given to the vice-president’s former employer, after we were led into a war in Iraq under false pretenses. We have seen that war used by this same crowd to seize our rights to fair and open access to the courts of our country in the name of homeland security. We have seen a bridge collapse at one end of the Mississippi River and the levees collapse at the other while our government stood back silently watching the disasters unfold. And now, as if we hadn’t already seen all we needed to see, this same Administration has been caught asleep at the wheel, not performing its regulatory function as our financial system is looted by the titans of Wall Street.
Now, without one word of apology, one mea culpa, President George W. Bush’s own appointees have the temerity to come before the Congress of the United States and demand a bailout. Not only do they want a bailout, they want it on their own terms, and they, the same guys that turned a blind eye to what was going on, want to manage the recovery effort. PEOPLE OF AMERICA, IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE!
I call upon my fellow citizens who may be of a Republican persuasion to do for their country what I did for mine back in 1980 and cast a vote to throw out the party that has brought us to such a disastrous and precarious place. It’s time for all of those who hold their “COUNTRY FIRST” signs high to mean what they say and put their country over their party and vote for Barack Obama. DO THE RIGHT THING!