Thursday, December 3, 2009

It's Broke; Fix It

The two-party system simply does not work any more.

A far, far right-wing tweeter on Twitter texted, during Obama's war speech, "This could just as well be Bush speaking. . . ."

Democrats were complicit in all the terrible policies of the Bush administration.   There is in fact very little difference between the two major parties and the people they elect to office. 

It is time for truly progressive Americans, regardless of their voter registration affiliation, to lead a movement toward a multi-party democracy by forming a new party for those of us who believe:

Peace is better  than war.  For years, a bill sponsored by Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D. -OH) to establish a cabinet Department of Peace has languished somewhere in the vast bowels of congressional inaction.  Kucinich should be  among the leaders of the new party, whose platform would incliude a pledge to reverse the United States policy of waging endless war.

Americans -- all of them -- are entitled to affordable health care.  The despicable farce that was represented as debate over "reforming" our health care system achieved nothing other than to expose the shameless hypocrisy of our national leadership and our congress.  The new party would promise a single-payer, government-managed system that would provide, in effect, Medicare for everyone.

Massive reforms are essential in how we elect public officials.  We need public funding of campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, special interests contributed more than $470 million to presidential and congressional candidates last election.  Tax 'em 70% of that for a public campaign fund and they'd save money.  You'd have $330 million in the campaign fund pool.  Put a $3 voter participation surcharge on every individual tax return and you'd have another $300 million.   Divvy the $630 million among all the candidates for congressional seats and the presidency and that's it.  Big Oil couldn't buy candidates; nor could Big Banking, Big Defense Manufacturing, Big Anything.

The two worst laws enacted in half a century must be rescinded.  The War Powers Act of 1973, in which Congress gave away its Constitutional war-making powers to the chief executive, particularly in Sections 4 (b), 4 (c) and 5 (b), gave us Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan.  It must be repealed.  The so-called USA Patriot Act -- rushed through a brain-numbed Congress, most of whom hadn't even read it -- was the first and foremost of Bush-era actions to deprive U.S. citizens of the protection of the Bill of Rights.  These rights must be restored by repealing the act and replacing it with legislation that at once protects  our national security and our individual liberties.

Separation of Church and State. We are not a "Christian nation."  Nor are we a Muslim nation, a Buddhist nation or an atheist nation.  We are a free people with freedom of and from religion. It is imperative that our national leaders recognize and respect this condition, which the founding fathers gave us after intense thought, debate and with prophetic foresight.

Government regulation of business is mandatory.  Not just  because  25 years of deregulation have left  the economy in  a mess, but also because the Constitution mandates it (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3).

Government has a social obligation, a mandated role in our lives.  It's right there in the very preamble of the Constitution: "promote the general welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty."  The new progressive party must give us candidates who can outshout and outthink the fools who shout "Socialism" every time government proposes to right social wrongs, improve our system of justice for all and help the downtrodden among us to lead better lives.

Absolute Equality for Women.  This includes their absolute right to make their own private reproductive health decisions. 

There's more, but these beliefs are the framework for a new, viable and vital force in American politics.  We need to form a new party around them because the existing parties have long since abandoned them. There is a perfectly good, perfectly respectable, perfectly honorable term for such an ethic.  It is "liberal."

We must retake that honorable word and restore its original meaning, even as we lead the way to restore the original meanings of the  founding fathers.

At this stage of our national existence, the alternative -- a continuing rightward slide into a domestic police state and a world policy of perpetual war against . . . .something -- is unthinkable.

Follow Up

Today's news about Max Baucus's bedroom gymnastics and their connection to his Senatorial duties regarding U.S. Attorney nominations reaffirms the bipartisanship of the corruption ethic in today's Washington.

Baucus, Israeli Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson of Nebraska -- two Democrats and a former Democrat turned Independent -- are important obstructions to passage of the sad carcass of  health care reform being debated in the Senate.

Each of them has received well over $500,000 in campaign contributions between 2005 and 2009 from the health insurance, health care and pharmaceutical industries.

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