|November 3, 2004
Today the country has spoken its aggregate will. Record voter turnouts, though predictably weak youth vote (despite Puff Daddy's idiotic "Vote or Die" campaign deflated so perfectly in the Boondocks cartoon), we have seen proof that this country votes its hopes, not its realities. When faced with a clear vision of the future versus a contrarian nay-sayer, it will choose the vision, not the grudge.
The almost even split in the presidential race should prove to the Democrats once and for all that they cannot win the hearts and minds of their own country by simply pointing out how bad the Republicans are. Kerry's victories were because people are unhappy with Bush, not because the Democratic voters believed in a "Kerry America". We know what a Bush America is, we're living in it. A Kerry America was simply "not a Bush America". That was fine by me, but clearly not enough for America.
Many chicken little friends are saying "let's move to Canada!" But let's face it - that is exactly what the neo-cons would love for us to do. It fits right in with the "put all the homos on an island" mentality that they promoted in the '80s.
No, this Republican victory means staying and fighting. And not fighting with people like John Kerry. I voted for Kerry and supported him because that was the only choice to me. But I have said all along that the Democrats cannot expect to change the country unless they provide a distinct, unwavering vision of what the future looks like. People vote their hopes, not their realities. Did Kerry strike anyone as the hope fulfilled? No. People went for Bush because he didn't cause them any doubt. Dumb, yes. Predictable? Damn straight.
We are at a point where we've allowed the politicians to dictate the terms of their seeking public office. This means they can lie without consequence and promise the undeliverable. This must end. Public service means public servitude. If someone wants to run for public office they are at the will of the people. Open debates. Caps on campaign spending to allow anyone to run for office. On the spot fact checking and repercussions for liars. Here are two simple thoughts: if ATMs were as reliable as electronic voting technology there would be a lot of bricks thrown into bank windows. ATMs get it right 99.9% of the time. So can voting machines. Second, in an open debate with on the spot fact checking, the candidates would be required to answer to the public, and would be required to respond to facts with facts. No more interpretation of the truth, or spin.
The country that we live in is one of a populace who wants to believe in hope. So much so they will believe a lie rather than the truth. They want to believe that wealth is right around the corner, that they can achieve the American dream of stability and safety if they just work hard enough. They want to believe that eating at McDonalds will provide nutrition for their family. They want to believe that we are the good guys and anyone who attacks us must be the bad guys. You can't counter that fear with a competition of strength. You can't expect people to vote for someone who tells them that their reality is wrong. People watch the news to affirm what they already know, and they vote for someone who tells them what they already believe.
To counter this new mentality you have to educate people and that takes years. Look at your local school boards. Look at the people who are educating your children and teaching them values. What do you reinforce at home? Do you participate in the administration of the schools or do you find yourself too busy? While your schools cut arts programs they still find money for sports. Which one promotes a better future American? Ruthless athletic competition or empathic understanding? We have to vote in each and every election, no matter how small or large. "Vote or Die" is a moron's mentality. The consequences of not voting aren't death, it's the loss of freedom. The next four years is going to see the constant attack on civil liberties, the furious attack on gender rights of all types, and the continued war on the poor and the minority. Death is easy. The road ahead is the hard path.
The neo-conservatives and Christian Coalition worked for decades to change and dictate the arguments we're having today. We have to work just as hard to counter that and effect fundamental change. This means that every election, every candidate, ever issue must have teeth and must contain the seeds of change we want to see in years time.
The conservatives wanted a culture war? OK, let's give them one. And this time, let's use the big guns.
Let's not shy away from declaring the future in crystal clear terms. We must appeal to the hopes of Americans so they will give us the honor of representing their dreams. We cannot be afraid of speaking and acting as boldly as our ideas.
We must declare war on the religious right and neo-conservative ideology. Our goal is genocide.
This is my vision of what America should look like, and I will support and work for any candidate who shares this vision. The rest are consigned to the scrap heap.
1. Freedom of speech. The public airwaves must be released back to the public and in order to use those airwaves profit must be eliminated from news divisions. The right to broadcast is granted to commercial free organizations, or businesses who operate their news divisions at a loss. This will certainly give rise to a larger partisan press, but those pay services must find alternate ways to distribute their content. Airwaves, analog and digital, must be reserved to those who would serve the public.
2. Equal rights for all. The government cannot distinguish between gender or ethnicity. In a pluralist society the only choice is to embrace all people and favor none. Government can only issue contracts of property union, with marriage left to each individual's personal belief system. No person may be denied or provided any claim based on gender or race and privacy rights must be upheld to allow an individual's right to explore their pursuit of knowledge.
3. Secularism. The United States must become a secular state. One that embraces no singular religion nor implies or writes into law any specific belief. The only way to govern a pluralist society is for the government to embrace all and favor none. Revoke all religious organization's tax-free status to remove the implied approval of any specific religion by the government.
4. Education. A free and quality education available to all, including college. Private institutions must accept yearly, by lottery of qualified candidates, a small percentage of low-income students for a free private education.
5. Fiscal responsibility. Government should be prohibited from spending more than it earns and the tax rate must rise to meet the goals of a free society. Eliminate loopholes for businesses, impose tax on religious organizations, and revamp the income tax system so the poor do not subsidize the rich. Freedom is not free, and responsibility requires commitment. The cost is high but the gain is immeasurable.
6. Health care. A minimum level of free health care for all citizens that includes yearly doctor's visits, pre and post natal education, counseling, and care, and free access to birth control of all kinds including abortion. A woman's right to choose is inextricably tied to her health and the country's population of needy children.
7. Law enforcement and the penal code. The current model of crime and punishment in this country criminalizes the poor and the minority. The drug war is the greatest indication that we incarcerate addicts, many of whom are in prison as a result of a class war, and clearly we still do not rehabilitate violent offenders. Legalize and tax drugs and release drug possession offenders into education and rehabilitation programs. Remove private business from penal administration and remove the profit from incarceration.
8. Immigration. An open door immigration policy with incentives for citizenship. An employed, legally working person pays taxes and still makes more money than in their home country. Citizens born in the U.S. traditionally do not want the lowest paying jobs, but the immigrant class always will. They will continue to come, especially if the employers pay a living wage.
9. Business. A mandate for all American corporations requiring adherence to global human rights protection, providing a "living wage" for all employees, and the protection and stewardship of the environment. This rule applies to all businesses American corporations work with. This includes the creation of a "living wage" that increases, by law, yearly with the rise of the cost of living. Tie it to the price of a gallon of milk if necessary. Require a CEO, CFO, and COO code of conduct with stiff penalties (including prison) for "cut and run" business practices that bankrupt the employees and stockholders.
10. Military. We must maintain a defensive volunteer military. The Unites States military will continue to lead the world in advanced military technology and strategy with the goal of providing the strongest level of military support to global events. We will be an active member of the United Nations and NATO, and will require the support of other nations to engage in military conflicts or face global economic sanctions ourselves. The primary role of the military will be as a defensive guard against domestic terrorism, and a logistic and strategic leader for allied, cooperative missions abroad. We must not be the world's police, but instead ensure the peace by preventing war through diplomacy, negotiation, and economic leadership. All nuclear arms must be scaled down towards the goal of global elimination. Create "swords into plowshares" agreements with countries willing to eliminate nuclear arms or pledge not to develop nuclear programs in exchange for lower tariffs and tax.
11. Welfare. Social programs that provide a path to sustainability can be created through access to education, child care, and health care. Welfare can be collected provided the person is receiving an education, receiving therapy, seeking employment, or providing care for another. A state cannot forcibly "drop" a citizen from welfare, but it can create opportunities for those who want to work. Inevitably there will be those who do not work, and they may "leech" off the system, but through therapy and occupational training this can be minimized.
This is my vision for the future of America.
Today, I rage.