Saturday, April 27, 2013

A Heavy Heart

We liberals continue to be defeated by our own in the Democratic Party.  We are unable to stand up for those who we say we represent.

Harry Reid had not only the ability to change the course of the Senate when he had the power to stop the silent filibuster, he had the backing of the American people.  Instead, he made a deal with Mitch McConnell.  Of course, McConnell interpreted the "deal" as Reid backing down, and the Senate republicans continue to batter us -- the American people -- with impunity.

And then there are the Democrats who have never found a cause that is worth standing together on.

Health care?  Gun control?  Taxation?  Whether it's closing loopholes for pharmaceutical companies, gun shows or Exxon Mobil, you will always find a Democrat willing to stand up for the powerful.

There are always good reasons, too.  Mostly, it has to do with risking losing the next election.  This is why the big donors give to both parties.  And why the right wing and fat cats have been able to pick off any liberal that is willing to take a stand against the powerful.

If only.  If only we had the courage of our convictions that the right wing of the Republican Party has.  If we had people that care about the poor, the disenfranchised, those who are unable to fight with millions of dollars and highly paid lobbyists, like for example, elected Democrats, we would be able to get our country back on the right track.

Which leads to the subject of sequestration.  Let's not even talk about whatever possessed Obama to buy into this nonsense.  It sounded reasonable at the time, but in retrospect, we know we are dealing with unreasonable people.  While the poor and the sick are being denied services, the Tea Partiers in our Congress are taking victory laps.  They alone have saved us from our deficit.  And, it turns out, done it without ever having to inconvenience the wealthy and powerful.

It shamed me that our Congressional "leaders" voted to override the cuts to air traffic control in order to cater to those with the clout to be heard.  Oh, and themselves.  And shame on the Democrats who voted in large numbers to undermine the little bit of power the sequestration actually had.

What's it going to take for us to stop spiraling into self-absorbed obscurity?  Money only being spent to make more money for those who already have it; cutting jobs and government services, trains and teachers, bridges and health care.  Strangling regulators who have not in decades had the power to protect us from bad food, bad water, bad air, unsafe airplanes, Wall Street and corporate fraud.  Defunding research that would lead to better lives for ourselves, our children, and our grandchildren.

And while the right wing is taking that victory lap, the moderates are clutching tightly to their own purses afraid of losing their own job security.

So today I am saddened.  Yet I hope there will be a liberal backlash.  I imagine that like the courageous fast food workers, more of the weak in our country will risk everything to stand up to the powerful.  Perhaps mayors and moms will become as powerful an influence on our legislators as the NRA.  And maybe the real small business folks who have been fooled by the right wing into thinking they are being represented will realize that they have been sold out to corporate power.

Maybe President Obama will find his spine on all these issues, as he seems to have done with gun control.

But the bottom line really is -- and the Republican right wing know this -- if we don't care enough to stand together, we are lost.

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