Woman in the street:
"So, what kind of country have you given us, Mr. Franklin"?
"A republic, Madam, if you can keep it".
Believe me, I'm not being alarmist when I say what I'm about to say: If the republicans are allowed to retain control of both houses of congress after the mid-term elections this November, you just might as well kiss your republic goodbye. Please don't take this as a ringing endorsement for the democrats (Perish the thought, dear reader!) I left that party over six years ago with damned good reason. The last democratic presidential candidate to actually run as a real, live, honest to goodness democrat was George McGovern in 1972. For the last thirty years, in an effort not to appear "too liberal", they have abandoned their natural constituency to become, as someone once observed, "republican lite". My hope (and hope is all we have) is that, once they have firmly grasped the reigns of power again, they'll return to their wicked liberal ways. You desperately want to believe that they 're still the party of Franklin Delano Roosevelt but it is impossible to tell. With the exception of Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, John Conyers of Michigan, Maurice Hinchey of New York and a handful of others, I hardly recognize them any longer.
So much needs to be done that one hardly knows where to begin. In 1994, when the republican party took back the House of Representatives for the first time in forty years, they promised us "a new way of doing business in Washington". Well, goodness gracious! They certainly delivered on their promise, didn't they? Truth be told, that was probably the only promise they managed to keep. Twelve years have passed and look at what they've done to your country! Hell, Look at what they've done to the entire planet! Have you had a chance to look at the depressing situation in Iraq lately? An average of one-hundred Iraqi citizens are being killed every day and attacks on US soldiers are up by forty percent. And are you ready for their line about our "booming economy"? Does that just make you giggle, or what? Well, yeah, sure! If your lucky enough to be part of the richest two percent, it's booming, alright. But for the rest of the country, particularly the poor and the middle class, it's an entirely different story. Just ask them! And don't forget that they squandered a four trillion dollar surplus on an unnecessary tax cut that has looted this nation's social and economic infrastructure.
For the first six years of their rule in the House, President Bill Clinton (who's looking better and better in hindsight, isn't he?) was able to keep their plunder of the American economy to a minimum. All of that changed on January 20, 2001 when the Supreme Court, after a stolen election, installed a corrupt, hideous, half-witted frat boy named George W. Bush. From that point on it was all down hill.
Do you recall the democrats behaving this irresponsibly when they controlled the congress and the White House? I didn't think so. And now that the GOP senses that the chickens are coming home to roost this November, they'll try to make the destruction permanent. Keep your eyes on the damage that they try to do between now and then.
Although, my political views have always been slightly left-of-center, I was perfectly capable of voting, on a few occasions, for the Grand Old Party. For instance, where I come from, in Orange County, New York (Sixty miles north of Manhattan), we used to have a perfectly fine, incorruptible and much-loved republican congressman named, Ben Gilman. For thirty years, he honorably represented his constituents with purpose and integrity. He wasn't perfect, to be sure. He used to drive me to distraction with his Hamlet-like indecision on which side of a particular issue to take. It wasn't political expediency. It was merely honest contemplation of the complicated problems facing the country. Yet in spite of his very few and mild flaws, I always voted for Ben. And I should tell you for the record that the man he defeated in 1972, the late John Dow, was a friend of my family. There is a tendency among Americans to view all of congress as a den of lying, corrupt thieves "except for MY congressman". Yes we do, indeed, seem to be blind as to the shortcomings of the people we send to Washington. But Ben Gilman was the real deal!
A few (although certainly not most) of my democratic friends used to wonder why I always supported him. My answer was always the same: "As soon as the democrats nominate a better candidate, I'll vote for him". They never did.
Congressman Gilman's splendid and illustrious career came to an abrupt end in 2002 when his district was gerrymandered out of existence by two Georges - Bush and Pataki - and Dick Cheney. You see, Ben, as basically conservative as he was, wasn't quite right-wing (read: stupid) enough for the asses of evil. After he lost the election, the House republican leadership (that would be Tom DeLay) told him that he had to be out of his office by the first of December and they assigned him to a cubicle in the basement of the Capital for the remainder of his term. It was a shameful way to treat a man who was not only a thirty-year veteran, but was also the most decent person in that entire, miserable body. They might never write a four volume biography on the life of Benjamin Gilman but it doesn't really matter, does it? He'll stand like a rock in history.
To get off track for a second, let me say a word or two about George Pataki. He seriously believes that he is going to be our next president. I mean, how jaw-droppingly pathetic is that??? When Eliot Spitzer, the renowned New York District Attorney and our next governor announced his candidacy, Pataki knew that he was finished. So what did he do? He made a statement to the effect that his goals as governor have been successful and that he was going to the mountain top to contemplate the mysteries of affairs of state. He might have been honest and said that the people of New York are sick to death of him but that wouldn't have looked too good as far as his quest for the White House was concerned, would it? He really is a tragic figure, isn't he? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
But as laughably incompetent and deceitful as George Pataki is, as far as the modern GOP is concerned, he's one of the best of the bunch. That's how far that party has fallen - and they're the ones controlling the destiny of the United States! Please, are you quite possibly able to detect just a smidgen of irony here? Are you even somewhat alarmed? What is now happening to your country can only be defined as the original goal of the so-called "Reagan Revolution" of a quarter of a century ago. It must be understood that everything George W. Bush has done to you, Ronald Reagan tried to do to you and would have done to you had his party had control of both houses of congress. Fortunately that never happened. Remember, Reagan was basically an amiable mask that lulled the masses into a coma. Remove that mask and you have the twisted, disgusting smirk of George W. Bush.
If you're not seriously worried about the future of the United States of America, you should be.... and you will be, very soon.... I promise you that...you will be. Get involved and get organized.
Time is running out.
Pray for peace.