In the 1972 movie The Candidate, newly (and surprisingly) elected candidate Bill McKay played by Robert Redford asks, perhaps rhetorically, at the end of the movie, "What do we do now?"
That statement/question is possibly an apt analogy to describe just what happened across this country yesterday, Election Day. What do we do now? As a radical progressive I view the Democratic victories with a note of cautious optimism. As a writer who has frequently criticized the laissez-faire policies of the Democrats, I believe it is a fair question to put forth.
In reading the myriad of blogs and news opinions, which cross my desk via this computer, I'm struck by the outlook held by many that, okay, "it's time for payback." Many writers and so-called progressives feel that it is now time to jump in with all four feet and begin to look at impeachment proceedings and other assorted hearings relating to the Repugs' criminal and moral turpitude of the past many years. It is extremely difficult to argue against taking that approach, I wholeheartedly agree that Bush and Company should be tried, convicted and sentenced to hang along with their (former) underling Saddam Hussein.
The problem with that tactic though is the inherent danger of becoming bogged down in an endless series of hearings, along with the attendant rhetoric, which would only serve to inflame the public even more against politics and politicians. Bush and Company had no desire to see Saddam brought to justice before an international tribunal, for the reason that within that type venue the crimes of aiding and abetting against past administrations would have been brought to light.
So too, the Democrats will bear all of that in mind before rushing in to any hearings regarding impeachment, etc. For, indeed, any public hearings regarding the crimes committed by the Republicans, vis-à-vis lies, crimes against humanity, war profiteering etcetera, would also ensnare many, many Democrats. After all, George Bush could not have accomplished and sustained his criminality without the shameless aiding and abetting of the Democrats in Congress. No matter how much of a hue and cry may be raised across the land for impeachment, the Democrats are not going to pursue that route because it will only shine a brighter spotlight on their own self-serving behavior.
Lest anyone begin taking pot shots at me for being a closet Republican, or suggesting that I'm espousing a type of political forgiveness let me reiterate, I do believe that Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Gonzales, Rice et al, should be strung up from the nearest lamp post. They are criminals, they are profiteers of the worst magnitude and they should be afforded the same level of justice and compassion which they have shown to over one-half million dead Iraqis. If one is a believer (and I am) in the old "what goes around comes around," Bush and his co-conspirators will come to no good end.
The people across this country who voted for a change (I believe) did so because they are desirous of wanting a change for the better. I believe that those people are tired of seeing young men and women dying for profiteers and criminals and they will hold the Democrat's feet to the fire until they see an end to death and destruction. Folks are no longer buying into the bullshit of the scare tactics of gay marriage, abortion and God, as the ultimate Republican trendsetter for all that is right.
People are hurting, economically and socially. This country is damn near broke and the divorced from reality politicians are responsible for that malaise which has most of us in a deep state of depression. During this past election cycle the Comptroller General of the United States, David Walker was touring around the country sounding the alarm over the upcoming fiscal crisis we find ourselves in. Mr. Walker carried his crusade to many different venues and his campaign was notable for the amount of disinterest generated. His alarm sounding was also for the most part ignored by the so-called mainstream media.
But Walker has a distressing message he, as well as most budget experts predict that this country will soon face a fiscal crisis not seen since 1983 when Social Security bordered on bankruptcy. The national debt (propped up by China, India, South Korea and Saudi Arabia) is expected to grow more than $3 trillion through 2010 to over $11 trillion, that equates to $38,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. The projected interest on this debt alone would be $561 billion. That is a crisis of gigantic proportions and our supposed Democratic saviors have blissfully ignored this during their tenure in the aptly named "do-nothing Congress."
This past Congress was notable for a few things, but none more evident than the fact that they met fewer days than any Congress since 1948. This dubious fact has earned them the outrageous sobriquet: "the Tuesday to Thursday Club." Its members get in (DC) on Tuesday night, cast a few innocuous votes on Wednesday and then it's back home on Thursday. Will our new Democratic majority be any different this time around? Don't hold your breath waiting.
The average Joe and Jane American are suffering out here, this election campaign saw many promises, now the Democrats are in a majority; will promises made be promises kept? Remember, Bush could not have instituted his Draconian policies without the votes of the Democrats. I mentioned hurting economically so I throw out this little factoid, the unconscionable creditor friendly bankruptcy bill (written by the credit card companies) passed into law with the votes of 18 Democrats. Never mind that over half of all bankruptcies are the result of soaring medical bills.
The Congress with its complicit Democrats also voted to cut $13 billion in college-student aid. The Democrats also cast deciding votes on so-called free-trade agreements that have allowed Corporate Amerika to offshore jobs to the cheapest sources of labor. Are these the folks who are going to save us? I cannot help but wonder, just what the hell it is they are going to save us from? Remember, the same corporate monies go into all the pockets in Washington, Democrat and Republican.
Here are a few facts about just what this Congress has accomplished since January 2001.
They amassed the largest budget deficit in history, and squandered damn near a trillion dollars; 3,000 American (and over one-half million Iraqi and Afghani) lives lost on failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; not to mention the thousands wounded and maimed for life.
They tried to rename French Fries and pass amendments banning flag burning and gay marriage, they also ranted, raved and otherwise fulminated on just how they could "protect" Terry Schiavo.
They restructured FEMA and the intelligence agencies into the many-headed bureaucratic Department of Homeland Security. They censured baseball players for using steroids. They discussed placing ratings on video games; and by golly, they voted themselves a pay hike.
It remains to be seen what will happen in (and with) the future Congress as Bush now goes into "lame duck" mode. Should Bush be impeached? Yes, indeed! Should the USA Patriot Act be rescinded? Yes, indeed! Should the torture bill with all of its attendant chicanery be repealed? Yes, indeed! Should George W. Bush swing alongside Saddam Hussein? Yes indeed! Will the newly elected majority in Congress see that progress is made in these things as well as the many ills besetting this country? The jury remains out on that.