CNN's Don Lemon Interviews Beto O'Rourke 12-13-2017 After the huge Alabama senate race victory for Democrats, Don Lemon speaks with Congressman Beto O'Rourke about what this means for battles in other states. O'Rourke is running against Senator Ted Cruz, presuming he wins the primary and gets the nomination.
(note from Stephen Fox: I met Congressman O'Rourke when he was in Santa Fe for a wedding a few months ago. We talked in my gallery, and he struck me as very bright, sincere in his populism and his creative solutions, and a worthy opponent to beat Ted Cruz for the Texas Senate seat. I will publish more of his press releases and letters, starting with this one. To read more about this Congressman with the bright future, here is his Wikipedia article: wikipedia.org/wiki/Beto_O%27Rourke)
The gap between the wealthiest and the poorest in America hasn't been this pronounced since the Gilded Age -- a time of intense concentration of power and wealth, with officeholders captured by special interests, corrupted by their purchase of access and outcomes. The priorities of the wealthy, the corporations, the trusts, the privileged dominate American life today, much as they did a hundred years ago.
We have sadly lost the way charted by Teddy Roosevelt and the trust-busting, democratizing, progressive leadership that met the challenge of that earlier era. Continued by FDR and the New Dealers, the next generation fought for the common woman and man, to make sure that the dignity of work and the national interest took priority over the preferences of the privileged. And with John F. Kennedy another generation forward, we found the sense of national purpose that comes when we ask each other to put our country ahead of ourselves, to be ambitious for the common good and for mankind itself.
Where is that leadership today?
It's not as though we lack for real challenges -- the disparity between the rich and poor, the inequality of schools in the same city but on different sides of the track, the disconnect between the jobs that we are creating and the training available to the unemployed, the investment missing in broadband internet, flood mitigation or just rebuilding the homes destroyed by Harvey.
But instead of meeting these challenges with determination and leadership, we are in danger of succumbing to the whims of the political patrons of the party in power.
Hours ago, the House voted to ask Americans to pay $1.5 trillion in debt to finance tax cuts to the very wealthiest in this country. This will exacerbate this historic divide, further concentrate wealth and power and continue to undermine what it means to be American.
But this tax bill also betrays a contract that we've had with each other going back to the New Deal -- one that says we will take care of each other so that we can each contribute to our fullest potential.
If this passes the Senate -- which it almost certainly will -- and becomes law, 13 million Americans will lose their health insurance.
One million additional Texans -- already the least insured state in the country -- won't be able to see a doctor, or a therapist, a nurse, a psychologist, that person who will make the difference in the lives of those we care about. That's in addition to possible cuts to Medicare and Medicaid that will come with mounting pressures from the additional deficits and debt.
If we are going to stop this slide into a country where power, wealth and privilege are concentrated for the few at the expense of the many, we can't wait for the next presidential election. We've got to win in 2018, we've got to be the 51st vote in the Senate and finally get back on the path of progress, ensuring that we all work together to do something great for Texas and important for the country.
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