On the first morning of 2009, the Washington Journal on CSPAN started their daily program with a segment where callers could give their top legislative priorities for the upcoming year. This writer was lucky enough to get on air as the third caller.
I listed my top priorities as (1) the passage of the Employee Free Choice Act, (2) an economic stimulus to help middle class and working class Americans and (3) creation of a system of government provided universal healthcare. The program gave me an opportunity to briefly state my reasons for giving passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Readers can hear those reasons by viewing the program segment from the Washington Journal archives at http://www.c-spanarchives.org/library/includes/templates/library/flash_popup.php?pID=283084-1&clipStart=&clipStop= or read them from my Employee Free Choice Act and Republican Disinformation column of March 2007 at http://www.democratictalkradio.com/07_free_choice_gop_disinformation.html so I will not repeat them in this column. However, time restraints prevented a discussion even briefly of the other two listed priorities.Additionally, there are many other important legislative priorities that need to be addressed in 2009. We need to (4) return to the Fairness Doctrine in broadcasting, (5) renegotiate or repeal all the so-called “free trade” deals destroying American manufacturing, threatening our national governmental authority , undermining labor laws and crippling environmental regulation, (6) banning or nationalizing private armies and militaries, like Blackwater, (7) ending the counting of votes by private companies and making voting much easier while guaranteeing that every vote gets counted, (8) repealing the falsely named Patriot Act, (9) ending the federal ban on medical marijuana, (10) putting real teeth in federal anti-monopoly laws, (11) making corporate executives personally liable for the illegal actions of the corporations they run including both serious jail time and the seizure of personal assets when appropriate and (12) making the right to unionize a federally protected civil right. These dozen legislative priorities are certainly the ending place for the kind of change we need in this nation. They are really only the beginning of the serious institutional reforms we need to undertake in order to make America a better place to live for all our citizens.
It is becoming a regular theme in the Corporate Media that Obama and the Democratic Party should “govern from the center” and turn away from fundamental governmental change. This is pure nonsense and exactly the opposite of both what the voters were seeking in the 2008 elections and what the current, multiple crises demand.
We need to first understand that we have just ended an era of increasingly radical Right Wing governmental rule of, by and for Corporate interests. We had a government that ruled over us instead of representing us. We need a dramatic push in the opposite direction for decades just to return to the middle ground we occupied prior to the Reagan era. The goal should not be to return just to the pre-Reagan political mindset. The current situation demands a return to the New Deal mindset of the FDR era.
Adopting the dozen reforms listed above are a starting place for progressive change in America. Ever member of Congress and the Obama White House should get the message directly from every American citizen that we want fundamental reform. We are not looking for token reforms. We are not looking for Republican-lite approaches or compromises on fundamental reforms. We want real change.
My resolution for 2009 is to make it clear that no Right Wing Republican politician, Corporate Media outlet, lobbyist or opportunistic “Democrat in name only” operative will be able to stop the winds of change sweeping this nation. My resolution in 2009 is that I will work even harder during the next 8 years to enacted real reforms into law and government policy than I did to elect Democrats in 2008. I urge all readers to join in these efforts and to greatly expand the list of reforms far past the dozen I listed in this column.
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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.