Tuesday, December 20, 2005

What Democrats Stand For

I never considered myself a liberal until Bush took office. In fact, I used to be a Limbaugh listener. But the reality of it is, the Republican party is doing exactly the opposite of what all their hype was about during the Clinton years. The power of the federal government has expanded at an explosive rate, as has government pork. Spending has exploded, and the Iraq War is the major cause. Ethics in government has hit a point far lower than it ever did under Clinton. Nothing is conservative about the Bush administration except for the tax cuts for the top 2 percent. And I don't even agree with that. But despite all this, the right-wing media licks Bush's nuts every step of the way. In reality, there is no responsibility...there is no right and left. There is just corrupt and more corrupt in Washington, and Bush and the Republicans have just taken it to the next level. They have blazed new trails in regards to misinforming the public. They have forged new paths in regards to cronyism in government. The past five years has caused me to question all I was ever taught as a conservative. And questioning it has led to a realization that liberalism has built this country into what we love about it. Liberalism in the US raised work standards for everyone around the world. We got the 40 hour work week, overtime pay and voting rights for non-property owners, women and minorities. We got social security for the elderly to keep them out of poverty. We got national parks that are kept in good shape for us to vacation on. We got a (once) strong public schooling system, we have safety standards on toys and products to protect our kids from accidental death, health standards for restaurants and we have ended discrimination. The Republican party hasn't brought us anything like this in its entire history, with the exception of the abolition of slavery. But that was when the Republican party was more liberal than the Democratic party. Nearly everyone in this entire country depends day in and day out on one or another liberal program. My friend's gun nut ex-firefighter dad complains all day that liberals should be shot, but he has retired on a fat pension that the liberals got for him, drives a Cadillac, and now had his liberal health insurance pay for his wife's cancer surgery. Have some things been taken too far, such as frivolous lawsuits and political correctness? Yes, but people have to remember that this is not everyone all of the time. Corporate regulation is entirely necessary if we want to live in a decent society. Some political correctness is necessary to make people aware of the prejudices that are ingrained into our unconscious minds. There is no arguing against that. Look at the countries where there are few to no workers rights or unions. Look at the conditions these workers live under. Should we really advocate for that here? The fact is that every woman has liberals to thank for their right to vote. Every minority has liberals to thank for their vote. Every non-property owner has liberals to thank for their right to vote. Everyone that ever worked a week in their life has liberals to thank that the standard work week is 40 hours. Anyone who has received overtime pay has liberals to thank. Anyone that has a grandmother or mother or father or grandfather on social security has liberals to thank. Anyone that has ever been informed by public television has liberals to thank. Anyone who has ever had Medicare or Medicaid cover part of their health care costs has liberals to thank. Anyone who has retired on the pension of a police officer or firefighter and had the freedom to buy a nice car from it has liberals to thank. Anyone who has ever had kids has had liberals to thank for advocating for safer products. Anyone who has ever taken out a low-interest college loan has liberals to thank. Anyone who has ever vacationed at Yellowstone or another national park for a nominal fee has liberals to thank. Anyone who has ever enjoyed the pristine wilderness still left in this country has liberals to thank. And after all this, the right wing media calls liberals traitors, weak, silly, wrong, deceitful, communists, and a whole slew of other things. But for the most part, the liberals are responsible for the high standard of living the middle class and the lower class have here. And the right-wing media says that is a bad thing. And we still pay nearly nothing in taxes compared to other developed nations. Go figure.

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