As I write today, 84% of the country say the nation is "on the wrong track." Gasoline prices are far too high; millions of good-paying American jobs have been shipped to cheap slave labor markets overseas; domestic wage rates are mainly frozen or in decline; foreclosures are on the rise; Congress is bitterly and almost evenly divided among partisan lines; the President's job approval rating stands at an abysmally low 26%, and the rating for Congress is about half that of the President. It is no secret there is massive dissatisfaction with government and its failure to deliver for the benefit of the majority of citizens. It would be easy to blame the Republicans and conservatives for the current sad state of affairs, as they have dominated or held power for the majority of the past 8 years. But the Democrats and even some liberals must also share the blame.
To hear many Republicans tell it, the Democratic Party has gone so "far left" it is no longer mainstream. This, however, is an absolute myth. On most issues, notably the economy and security, today's Democratic Party is FAR to the right of where it was a generation ago. There are no longer demands being made for a 32 hour work week at the same pay level as a 40 hour week; there is no longer a push for expanded abortion rights; corporate AND personal tax rates have been rolled back far below where they were 30 years ago (and NOBODY is advocating a 70% tax rate on uppermost incomes); there is no longer a push to vastly expand government programs. The problem with today's GOP and conservatives is that THEY are also FAR to the right of where THEY stood 25-30 years ago. Worse yet, since the "Republican 'Revolution'" of 1994, they have grown increasingly rigid, ideological, and intolerant. To them, anyone not 100% in lock-step agreement with them is derisively rejected and labeled as "liberal", "socialist", "protectionist", "far left", "extremist", "out of the mainstream", or whatever other nasty, negative, scornful nickname they wish to hurl at the moment. Well, they are dead wrong.
There is nothing "mainstream" about rewarding the wealthy minority with huge tax increases. There is nothing "mainstream" about shipping jobs overseas and replacing them with inferior, lower paying ones. There is nothing "mainstream" about encouraging the influx of huge numbers of illegal aliens as a source of cheap labor to benefit big business. So much for the myth of the Republican Party being the "mainstream" or "majority party!"
Since even before the Great Depression, the Democratic Party has traditionally been known as the party of working people, the poor, and the oppressed and disaffected. In practice, it passed legislation to provide more economic balance and fairness, more individual liberty, and more regulation of business to ensure good working conditions and safer products for the people. Unfortunately, significant numbers of Democrats and liberals have joined conservatives and Republicans in recent years on a number of measures and have effectively turned their backs in large degree on their core constituency of working people, the poor, and the oppressed and disaffected. Instead, they have fallen victim to corporate America's and the military industrial complex's lobbyists to support laws NOT for the benefit of the people but rather for the benefit of special interests. And THAT is why the wealthy and corporate America has been thriving (and why the rest of us HAVEN'T), and why there is so much dissatisfaction today.
The Democrats have caved to corporate lobbyists on nearly all free trade legislation since the 1980s. They have joined Republicans in rolling back industry regulations and oversight, lowering taxes for the wealthy, even in approving illegal wiretaps and the unconstitutional suspension of habeas corpus. Great liberals like Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, JFK, and RFK must all be spinning in their graves!
The Democratic Party, and especially its liberal faction, must get back on track to truly represent and legislate for the benefit of their core constituency, who are REALLY the majority of the country! They must no longer wither in the face of bogus conservative and Republican charges of being "extremist", "soft on terrorism", "too far left", or any of the rest of that rubbish. Instead, they must stand their ground and expose the Republicans for what THEY truly are: Too far right, too pro-business, too anti-labor, too pro-wealthy, and too authoritarian. When the liberals and Democrats once again go to bat for their core constituency and abandon their placating of corporate America, they and their government will once again enjoy lengthy and sustainable support.
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