Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What Would Roosevelt Do?

Our president has failed us. He has lined his cabinet with former Wall Street fat cats, or those who have taken handouts from them. These are the same people who sold America bad mortgages and then bet on our failure to pay back the loans. Yes, they collected both ways, and Barack Obama is in bed with them. Now he has his top aides out there hitting the morning news programs and cable news outlets instilling fear in Americans that a foreclosure moratorium will hurt our fragile economy. But bailing out the banks to the tune of billions of dollars, not so much! Worse, those billionaire banks sat on the TARP funds to enrich their own pockets and not help struggling Americans to modify their home loans as they were required to do. Now, when he should be penalizing the banks for their bad behavior, he conveniently looks the other way and says it will be disastrous for the economy.

On education, Obama and Arne Duncan have chosen to reinforce many provisions of George W. Bush’s No Child Left Behind policy when even the architects of the legislation have turned tail and called it a failure. According to Harper’s Magazine for September, 2010, out of the forty states that applied for Obama’s “Race To The Top” funds, only two have received any aid. The “Harper’s Index” goes on to list the number of public school jobs lost in the past year totals 85,700, and three in five public school districts across the country plan to increase class sizes for 2010-2011.

The index includes some other telling stats: the percentage of all campaign donations from securities and investment firms that went to Democrats in 2009—sixty-one percent. The percentage so far this year stands at forty-four percent, but we have two and a half months left if they want to beat last year’s number.

Or how about this: “Average annual government expenditures since 2005 on military research and development: $77,000,000,000; average expenditures on energy research and development: $5,000,000,000.” I think I just broke my zero key.

More? “Value of fuel contracts awarded British Petroleum (BP) by the Pentagon last year: $2,200,000,000. Rank of BP among the largest fuel suppliers to the Defense Department: 1” Numero uno! See a pattern here?

President Obama, the man elected by promising change, has a screwed up list of priorities. Those of us who voted for him hoping that change would trickle down to us? Well, we were suckered, and our economic recovery is not his priority. May be if we owned Citibank, he might care.

So in the upcoming elections, is it time to throw our bags in with the Tea Party? They are no better. David Harmer (great name!), congressional candidate from California and a Tea Party enthusiast wants to abolish public education altogether. No child left behind becomes no child, period. Not our problem, says Harmer with a maniacal giggle. Welcome to the party of racists and homophobes. They are too busy chasing Obama’s birth certificate to care about keeping homeowners in their houses or middle class Americans who want an education without signing themselves into slavery with all-too-meager student loans.

Our political leaders are not leaders, and they have missed the point. More specifically, they have missed our point. Or, more likely, they never cared about our point from the start.

We need Franklin D. Roosevelt again. We need to clone him, and elect him for a fifth term as president. Of course, we would have to change the law and possibly exceed our scientific capabilities, but these are desperate times calling for extreme measures.

Or, may be we could simply adopt his Second Bill of Rights, proposed during his State of the Union Address on January 11, 1944. Roosevelt proposed the rights because he believed Americans were not given enough of a chance at the “pursuit of happiness” with the first set.

Some of the provisions in The Second Bill of Rights include:

“The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation”

“The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation.”

“The right of every family to a decent home.”

“The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health.”

“The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment.”

“The right to a good education.”

Roosevelt also told Americans on that winter night that he wanted to establish “an American standard of living higher than ever before known.” He went on to say that, “We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people—whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth—is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.”

I can hear the Tea Party idiots now. Roosevelt was a communist! Roosevelt was a socialist! Roosevelt was born in Africa! Why would he even suggest adopting a second set of rights?

He explained himself in the address. “...As our industrial economy expanded—these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness. We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence...People who are hungry or out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.”

There’s a line the Tea Party can understand. They would love it if America rolled over and elected Sarah Palin as dictator, oops, I mean president.

The stimulus package was a failure. Giving money to the top of the pyramid does not mean that funds will trickle down to the average American. Let’s try another tactic. Let’s make it a priority to help the jobless, soon-to-be homeless Americans, those who have been aced out of their livelihood, hoodwinked into mortgages beyond their means, and victimized by the con artists on Wall Street.

Remember who elected you, Mr. President. We are dying out here, and we won’t get fooled again. Americans need leadership; we need strong, intelligent people to lead us out of this mess, and if you cannot provide us with such leadership, Mr. President, beginning next month and continuing into 2012, we will begin the search for someone who can. Then it will be you who loses his job and gets evicted from his home. Take it from too many Americans: you will not like it!

Do you think Roosevelt might have left some DNA around?

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written. Thank you.

And FDR would not be afraid of glenn beck !

Jay Diamond

Paul L. Martin said...

Thank you for the comment, Mr. Diamond. And no, the president who faced down the Nazis and the Great Depression would not be intimidated by beck or anyone else at fox news.

Take care