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Last Year's Excuses Are Gone. Come On Already

By       Message Ralph Nader     Permalink
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A few days ago, a citizen asked the progressive legislator from
California, Congressman Henry Waxman why he took his name off the list
of about Eighty House sponsors of single-payer health insurance? Mr.
Waxman replied: "it [H.R. 676] isn't going to happen."


In early January and last year, Americans who believe in Presidential
accountability for constitutional, statutory and treaty violations
asked Democrats in Congress-"If not impeachment, why not at least a
resolution of censure of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney?" The uniform
reply was "It's not practical."


These lawmakers-Democrats all, who are the majority in Congress and who
agree with these questioners-keep saying "It's not going to happen" or
"It's not practical."


"It's just not practical" to provide a federal minimum wage equal to
that in 1968, inflation adjusted, which would be $10 an hour.


"It's not going to happen" to get comprehensive corporate reform at a
time when a corporate crime wave and the Wall Street multi-trillion
dollar collapse on Washington, on taxpayers and on the economy is
tearing this country apart. A little regulatory tinkering is all
citizens are told to expect.


"It's just not practical" to give workers, consumers and taxpayers
simple facilities for banding together in associations with their own
voluntary dues to defend these interests in the corporate occupied
territory known as Washington, D.C.


Last year, the excuse was a Bush veto. So the Democrats didn't even try
to advance reforms they believe in, knowing Bush and his Republican
Party would stonewall. What's the excuse this year with Obama in the
White House?


After all, it was only a year and a half ago when nominating and then
electing an African-American President was "not going to happen, was
not practical."
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But since it did happen, why aren't these and many other long overdue
beneficial redirections and efficiencies happening for the American
people? Why aren't there rollbacks, at least, of the Bush-driven
inequities and injustices that have so damaged the well-being of
working people?


Why isn't a simpler and more efficient carbon tax more "practical" than
the complex corruption-prone, corporatized cap and trade deal driven by
Goldman Sachs and favored by most Democrats? The avaricious tax cuts
for the super-wealthy are still there.


The statutory ban on Uncle Sam negotiating volume discounts on
medicines purchased by the federal government are still there. Taking
the huge budgets for the Bush wars in Iraq and Afghanistan off their
annual fast track, and putting them a meaningful House and Senate
Appropriations Committee hearing process has not happened.


Face it, America. You are a corporate-controlled country with the
symbols of democracy in the constitution and statutes just that-symbols
of what the founding fathers believed or hoped would be reality.


Even when the global corporate giants come to Washington dripping with
crime, greed, speculation and cover-ups, and demand gigantic bailouts
on the backs of taxpayers and their children, neither the Republicans
nor the now majority Democrats are willing to face them down.
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The best of America started with our forebears who faced down those who
told them "it's not going to happen," or "it's not practical" to
abolish slavery, give women the right to vote, elevate the conditions
of workers and farmers, provide social security and medicare, make the
air and water less polluted and so on. These pioneers, with grit and
persistence, told their members of Congress and Presidents-"It is going
to happen."


To paraphrase the words of a great man, the late Reverend William Sloan
Coffin, it is as if those legendary stalwarts from our past, knowing
how much more there is to achieve a practical, just society, are
calling out to us, the people today, and saying "get it done, get it
done!"

 

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Ralph Nader is one of America's most effective social critics. Named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one (more...)
 

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