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The American people have spoken. In spite of the hundreds of millions of dollars poured into the 2006 election by corporations and special interests, We the People have prevailed. We have rejected the policies of George W. Bush, we have rejected his war on Iraq, and we have rejected the corruption that has defined the Republican Party for the past decade.
"Yesterday's resounding victories are a testament to the power of ordinary working Americans working together to change the course of our country. We stood together and rejected the Bush administration's agenda. We said no special favors to the privileged while blocking the minimum wage. No to lousy trade deals that have exported good jobs. No to privatizing Social Security. No to spending hundreds of billions of dollars and thousands of lives in Iraq while ignoring the war on the middle class at home. No to energy and health care policies that have fattened oil and pharmaceutical industry profits without helping working families." --Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO, 11/8/06
In Wisconsin, Illinois and Massachusetts millions of voters decided ballot measures concerning the Iraq War. In every case, they voted to end the war.
"In Milwaukee, fully 72 percent of those voting supported the 'orderly, rapid and comprehensive withdrawal' U.S. troops from Iraq....Massachusetts had 139 communities all voting yes to an immediate end to the Iraq war with a directive to bring all of the troops home now....[These communities] join 110 cities, including Chicago and Philadelphia, which have already passed city council resolutions and ballot measures calling to end the war and bring troops home." -- Karen Dolan, Director of the Cities for Peace and Cities for Progress Projects, TomPaine.com, 11/10/06
In January, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) will become the first woman Speaker of the House of Representatives.
"Pelosi has already promised that within the first hundred hours, her Democrats will approve bills that raise the minimum wage, increase funding for homeland security, lower interest rates on student loans and permit the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to lower drug prices." --David Corn, Washington editor of The Nation, TomPaine.com, 11/8/06
"Today the American people voted for change and they voted for Democrats to take their country in a new direction, and that is exactly what we intend to do." --Nancy Pelosi, 11/7/06
"We cannot continue down this catastrophic path. And so we say to the president, Mr. President, we need a new direction in Iraq. Let us work together to find a solution to the war in Iraq." --Nancy Pelosi
On the Senate side, Harry Reid (D-NV) will be the new Majority Leader. He says:
"The American people have cleaned house in this election, and we're going to clean up Washington for them. From here on out, Halliburton is out. Hardworking families are in. Special Interests are out. People's interests are in. Rubber-stamping? Out. Checks and Balances? In. Staying the course? Out. A new direction? In. The days of the Do Nothing Congress are numbered. And the rubber-stamping Senate is on its way out. From this day forward, the Bush White House will be held accountable for its mistakes so that we can make the necessary changes to grow and succeed at home and abroad." --E-mail message, 11/8/06
Election Day 2006 was a great victory for the Democratic Party, but it is not yet a victory for the American people. It is not time to don our flight suits and declare "Mission Accomplished" --the mission has just begun. It is not "Morning in America" --there is but a faint glow in the eastern sky. We have not scored a touchdown--we have only recovered a fumble, deep in our own territory.
The Republicans have done everything they could do to close the door on democracy, but We the People have managed to stick our toe in the door. Now we have to push the door open and take back our rightful place in our government (The Boss). If we let the Democrats and the lobbyists continue to conduct the people's business behind closed doors, we will be no better off than before. We did not elect leaders, we elected representatives, and we have to make that perfectly clear to them from the start.
To do that, we must stay informed; and I don't mean listening to Rush Limbaugh or the network newscasts. If you have internet access, check out:
Then, depending on personal priorities, we can band together in groups that amplify our voices, so our representatives can hear us--loud and clear. For example:
So, get active, stay informed, and speak up. It is up to us to take back our government and complete the victory that we started on Election Day.
Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a Christian, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been aroused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.