MARIN COUNTY'S NEWS
MONTHLY - FREE PRESS
(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) - P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
Despair is Not An Option - Vote For Change on November 7
By Sandy LeonVest (who is not a Democrat)
On November 7, 2006, all 435 seats in the US House of Representatives will go up for grabs. On that day - and again in November of 2008 - thinking Americans who care about the future of their country will cast their ballots for a Democratic candidate. They will do that because, justified as Americans are in their disillusionment with Democrats, the upcoming elections will redefine the course of American history for decades to come. Even the corruption that now threatens the very process by which Americans express their political freedoms must not serve as an excuse for eligible voters to stay away from the ballot boxes in the next two years.
Disappointing as the performance of most Democrats has been, the list of reasons to vote for them in the upcoming elections is as long as it is compelling. That list begins with their promise to put an immediate end to the systematic dismantling of American democracy. That alone is reason to get past the despair and get on with taking back the power.
Other reasons to vote Democratic are as follows:
Democrats have vowed to enact immediate election reform - and that is where democracy begins. They have promised to raise the minimum wage, which has not been increased in nine years; repeal current tax incentives that serve to export American jobs overseas; invest in research and development to promote energy independence; keep tax rates low for middle-income families; make tuition more affordable; support middle-income tax cuts to make health care more accessible and retirement more secure; enact a reformed child tax credit so the tax code does not disadvantage working families; and support a modernized and permanent R&D; tax credit to create better paying jobs.
To make college more affordable, Democrats have promised to increase the maximum Pell Grant by nearly 25 percent, cut interest rates on student loans in half and "dramatically increase" the tax deductibility of college tuition. House Minority Leader, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has also committed Democrats to cutting the federal budget deficit.
Pelosi has promised that Democrats would "change the nature of the mission in Iraq and begin withdrawing US forces by the end of the year." Democrats further propose "transitioning the US mission in Iraq to counter-terrorism, training, logistics and force protection; working with Iraqi leaders to disarm the militias and to develop a sustainable political settlement by amending their Constitution; convening an international conference to support a diplomatic and political settlement in Iraq to revitalize the stalled economic reconstruction and rebuilding effort; and beginning the phased redeployment of US forces from Iraq no later than December 2006."
America's darkest days are likely still ahead. There are a multitude of catastrophes long in the making here in the US and across the world, all of which are likely to get worse before they get better. If Democrats win in the coming elections, Republicans will make certain that they take the heat for the inevitable consequences created by an historically liable (but non-accountable) Republican Administration. Massive trade and budget deficits, Republicans' war spending and tax giveaways to their corporate friends threaten to completely take down the US economy; and there is no exit strategy in Iraq that can prevent the hell that is now unfolding from completing its cycle. The planet is heating up and climate change may have already reached a point of no return - for humans anyway. The inertia resulting from events set in motion by a criminally complicit Bush Administration has already kicked in and the challenges inherited by whomever is elected promise to be all but insurmountable.
In the US, as well as abroad, fair wages, human rights and labor issues all hang in the balance, as do the environment, education and healthcare. Democrats, if elected, will need to deal with corrupt lobbying practices, corporate and congressional malfeasance and an energy policy that favors fossil fuels and nuclear power over sanity. They will be faced with massive income disparities, a major crisis in immigration and a national (and international) crime wave made worse by prison overcrowding, all of which threaten to destroy what is left of civil society. The current Administration has all but destroyed the status of the US in the eyes of the international community. That will likely never be redeemed, but it stands at least a chance of moving in a more positive direction under Democratic leadership.
On November 7, 2006, eligible voters will need to take a leap of faith at the ballot box. Then, on November 8th, those same Americans will need to begin insuring the integrity of the electoral process by plugging in to the election reform movement that is gaining momentum in small towns across the nation. The accuracy of the 2008 presidential elections will hinge on that fundamental reform. If Americans are willing to take those small steps on their own behalf, it is just possible that they can begin to salvage not just democracy or the rule of law, but their own futures and those of their children.
Sandy LeonVest is an independent journalist and Editor of the StinsonSolarTimes. Her published work can be found online by googling "Sandy LeonVest" or visiting www.leonvest.com
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