In the interest of full disclosure, and for the benefit of those who don’t know, I am a liberal Democrat and have spent most of my adult life in public service and party politics. I usually (though not 100% of the time) vote for the Democratic candidates for office. I do so based on my interpretation of the history of this nation and the principles that those candidates stand for.
On November 6th this nation faces an election that is much more than just a contest between two candidates or two parties. It is more than a referendum on an incumbent President. It is, like some elections in the past, a determinative election that may well decide the future course of this nation for the next quarter century.
In 1800 the election began a quarter century of essentially nonpartisan federal government allowing the new nation to grow and its government develop without partisan rancor. In 1828 the election began the Jacksonian era which was marked by the growth of white democracy and manifest destiny. In 1860 the election presaged a civil war that led to the end of slavery in this country and the transformation from states in a federation into one nation. In 1896 the election determined that the rich business oriented people would rule America basically until 1930. And, the election of 1932 set the stage for the New Deal which was based on the theory that the federal government could establish level playing fields for all citizens and provide a social safety net so that working people would not fall into the poverty of the Great Depression. The election of 1964 ratified that consensus approach which lasted until 2000 (the so-called Reagan revolution did not disturb the essential elements of the New Deal and the Great Society; in fact with the Earned Income Credit Reagan recognized the need to help the working poor.)
Now we have the election of 2012: A clear contest between two attitudes toward the role of government. The tea party controlled Republican Romney-Ryan approach would privatize every possible feature of the federal government and end the social safety net programs: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, WIC, and PBS as we know them. The Democratic Obama-Biden plans call for continuing the federal government’s role in the lives of the citizens of One Nation (not Fifty) working with and supporting both business and labor.
The best example of these differences in the economic sphere is the auto bailout. While Bush was busy bailing out the Big Banks - Obama’s contribution here was to preserve and restructure the American automobile industry, saving thousands of American jobs and restoring that industry to its international preeminence by loaning money that has since been paid back. Obama did that without breaking unions or bankrupting investors (in fact Romney made $15 million dollars on investments in a car parts supply business that benefited from the bailout - a company that closed 24 plants and shipped jobs to China). If there was an inadequacy in Obama’s response to the great recession it was that the stimulus was too small. Economists and politicians alike know that the federal government cannot create private sector jobs (in fact Republican governors have been busy eliminating public sector jobs at a rate as fast as the private sector can add jobs) it can only create the economic conditions at home and abroad to facilitate and encourage private sector growth. In the 1930's the New Deal was funded only to levels that allowed it to ease the pain of the people - it was only when World War II caused an astronomical explosion in our expenditures in hiring and producing that the Depression ended.
In the area of foreign policy the difference between these two philosophies is stark. The tea party Republicans have adopted the neo-con Bush approach to every problem - troops on the ground and dollars for the war machine companies. Eisenhower warned us of the military industrial complex; I don’t think he expected it to take over his political party. Obama has followed the path of collective security; working through the United Nations and other international organizations that were founded on American governmental principles. Unlike the neo-cons who never met a dictator they didn’t like, Obama stood with the people of Libya and helped them overthrow Qaddaffi; he supported the people in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen as they replaced long time corrupt regimes. He aided the people of South Sudan in there breakaway from the genocidal practicing Sudanese regime. And, he ordered the strike that killed Osama Bin Laden despite the fact that he was hiding out in the territory of an ostensible ally.
The two Presidential tickets also represent completely different attitudes toward the cultural changes that have occurred in this nation since the 1950's. Obama worked with Congress to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Obama signed the Ledbetter Act to begin the march to equal pay for equal work for women (Romney is still considering his position on that three year old law). Obama has exercised the powers of the chief executive of our nation to present automatic deportation of young Latino and other immigrant students brought to this country illegally by their parents who know and love no other country than ours. Obama has stood firm in support of women’s rights to make their own reproductive health choices. As for Romney-Ryan well you know Father Knows Best - the limited federal government or the fifty state nations should regulate not Wall Street or business but the private lives of its citizens. The tea party controlled Republican party has become a party of reaction that seeks to end planned parenthood; outlaw all abortions even in the case of rape, incest of the life of the mother; put gays back in the closet; and force all young Latino’s to self-deport.
The President encapsulated his opponents' philosophy when he declared that the Republicans want to the return to the foreign policy of the 1980's, the social policies of the 1950's and the economic policies of the 1920's. And Vice President Biden summed it up best when he said that because Obama was President “General Motors is Alive and Bin Laden is Dead”.
You don’t have to like Obama or dislike Romney to make your choice on November 6th. You have to ask what kind of America you want to see in twenty five years and vote accordingly. If you want an America were all feel that they have a shot at the American Dream; where children can get the education that their ability entitles them to; where men and women can get decent paying jobs; where seniors don’t have to worry about the cost of their health care and whether the stock market has decimated their private pension funds because they have social security insurance; and where this country enters a century of peace because it leads by the rightness of its values not the might of its weaponry; then your choice is clear - VOTE OBAMA-BIDEN. Reject the Republican Romney-Ryan Radical Reactionaries - Embrace the Positive Changes for Equality Occurring in America - VOTE FOR THE FUTURE.
30 October 2012