Tuesday, November 10, 2009

It's Time for America to Stop Claiming to be a Great Nation, and Start Becoming One


It's Time for America to Stop Claiming to be a Great Nation, and Start Becoming One

I want to begin this article by thanking Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her responsible Democratic colleagues, and one Republican, for standing up for the American people in their historic passage of the health-care bill in the house. I've bitterly criticized Speaker Pelosi in the past, and I'm still smarting over her "impeachment is off the table" stance during the Bush administration, but she stepped up to the plate in a very big way in this, the most significant legislation that the house has pasted in a generation. So thank you, Madam speaker.

But that said, now is the time for progressives, Democratic supporters, and all citizens who care about a congress "of the people" to also step up to the plate - not by weeping and begging the Liebercrats in the Senate to do what's right by the people, but by showing them the consequences of not doing so.

The American people have been so disengaged for the past generation or two that all of our threats, negative polls, and protestations are hitting what has become a tin ear in congress. It has become clear that when many in congress have to choose between the best interests of the people and the possible loss of corporate largess, the people's interest will come up short every time.
Joe Lieberman is a prime case in point.

After being forced into a corner, Lieberman has publicly thumbed his nose at a 47% margin in favor of a public option in health-care by his own constituents - and that's after they dramatically saved his career in the 2006 election. Even after what Lieberman did in the 2008 election to the Democratic voters who supported his vice presidential bid in 2000, that sets a new standard in unconscionable ingratitude, even for him.

Not only has Lieberman indicated that he's going to use "his power as one senator" to defy the will of the people who sent him back to the senate, but he invited other Democratic senators to join him. This blatant act of treachery towards the people MUST be roundly and publically slapped down by ALL of the citizens of this nation if "we the people" expect to remain at all relevant. Our failure to do so is to sign off on a precedent that effectively changes the very character of America - from "we the people," to "we the sheep."

Lieberman's treachery has brought America to the proverbial fork in the road. Historians will one day look back and define this one act as the point in American history where either the American people finally stepped up to the plate to re-take control of their government, or where America surrendered to corporatism and became just another corpo-banana republic.

Thus, it is not enough to simply criticize Joe Lieberman as just another self-serving politician. His treachery strikes so directly at the heart of the character of this nation that it is incumbent upon the American people to ensure that his name, and his ilk, lives in infamy in the annals of American history. His treachery must be used to draw a line in America's sand, just like with Benedict Arnold, to let all future demagogues know that they cross it, not only at their own risk, but at their GUARANTEED demise.

So as I pointed out in an earlier article, since a senator cannot be recalled, the citizens of Connecticut should add a scarlet letter to Lieberman's name by passing a state resolution apologizing to the American people for sending such a man to the senate, and demanding that he resign. Then the Democratic Party should strip him of his chairmanship of the Committee on Homeland Security, and banish him from the Democratic caucus. Thereafter, if the Republican Party chooses to embrace him, they will also clearly define who they are, and what they represent.

Thereafter, the people should turn their attention to the 39 other Libercrats in house, as well as those in the senate. We've got to make them understand that the people have spoken. The American people want comprehensive health-care with a public option - period. So as far as we're concerned, all of the arguments against it are nothing but meaningless distractions designed to protect the insurance industry to the detriment of the American people.

We must come together to make it clear to every American that all of the Liebercrats in the house and senate are clearly reading from a prepared script. They complain of "government-run health-care." Medicare is also government run. Do they want to abolish that as well? Lieberman complained that "the cost is too great," and he didn't want to do that to America, but did he worry about the costs, in both monetary and human terms, when he advocated the invasion of Iran?

If it was up to Lieberman, we'd not only be involved in two, but three wars. He and his fellow Liebercrats had absolutely no problem with that, nor did they have a problem with voting to fund the senseless and totally unnecessary war in Iraq. They funded that "off budget," because it greased the pockets of the military/industrial death machine.

But only now, when the "pedestrian" concern for American lives are the issue, do they rediscover their fiscal responsibility. But of course, that couldn't possibly be because it entails taking money away from their corporate patrons in order to benefit the average American:

Was cost an issue when congress voted themselves a $93,000 increase in "petty cash" . . . each, then a month later gave themselves an additional $4,700 raise? And let us not forget, that they did this while their constituents were suffering the loss of homes and jobs, and the country was in the midst of the deepest recession since the great depression.

Was cost an issue during the Bush administration when these "fiscal conservatives" committed to building an embassy in Iraq that's rivaled only by the Vatican in terms of size and opulence? It's by far the largest embassy in the world, built on 104 acres of land, and it has been estimated that it's going to cost a billion dollars a year just to maintain.

Their concern for fiscal responsibility also seemed to come up missing in action when, according to a Post article, the Defense Department's inspector general says that the Pentagon "cannot account for almost $15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort." And the article goes on to indicate that "The Pentagon did not have the proper documentation, including receipts, vouchers, signatures, invoices or other paperwork, for $7.8 billion that American and Iraqi contractors were paid for phones, folders, paint, blankets, Nissan trucks, laundry services and other items."

The article also points out that "the inspector general found deficiencies in accounting for $5.2 billion of U.S. Payments to buy weapons, trucks, generators and other equipment for Iraq's security forces. In addition, the Defense Department spent $1.8 billion of seized Iraqi assets with "absolutely no accountability." Where was their concern for America's fiscal vitality then?

It's time for the American people to stop whining, complaining, and threatening. It's also time for us to stop simply accepting the status quo as "just the way things are." While it is true that it is the way things are, it is only that way because we allow it. So it's past time for us to stop allowing it, and start taking immediate action against these disingenuous, self-serving rogues.

We shouldn't say another word to these foot-dragging senators. Even before they get the chance to vote, we should start organizing to get rid of all those senators threatening to vote against comprehensive health-care, right along with Lieberman and his 39 cohorts in the house.

A great nation protects its citizens, so it's time for America to stop claiming to be a great nation, and start being one.

Eric L. Wattree
Religious bigotry: It's not that I hate everyone who doesn't look, think, and act like me - it's just that God does.

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