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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/6/10

Dems Must Make Jobs The Message

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For far too many Americans, there wasn't much to celebrate this Labor Day holiday. It's hard to sincerely celebrate the American workforce when you've been out of work, or underemployed, for a year or more. It's hard to celebrate when CEOs continue to rake in obscene salaries while shipping U.S. jobs overseas to exploit cheap sweatshop labor. And you can't appreciate the extra Monday off from work when you're off from work every Monday against your will.

It may be especially hard for Democrats who voted for President Obama and the Democratic majority in Congress, many of whom are feeling ripped off and disillusioned. Continued unemployment is no change we can believe in.

Obama has tried, mind you. He just hasn't tried hard enough. He just hasn't been effective in standing up to the Republicans who only want him - and ordinary working Americans - to fail. It's time for Obama to stop playing the community organizer and start being a strong leader and a champion for the American worker.

Obama and the Democrats in Congress need to work on their message, and then they need to take the message on the road. When the Republicans scream "deficit", the Democrats need to scream "jobs".

They need to stand outside empty factories with bullhorns and point out that the Republicans allowed the Wall Street bailout but won't let Obama bail out Main Street.

They need to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with small business owners who are ready to start hiring - if only the Republicans would stop holding up the small business bill that would make it possible for them to do so.

They need to stand by the unemployed Americans who are losing their homes, or have underwater mortgages, and ask: How can the Republicans oppose additional job-creating stimulus funds when the deficit they decry is largely a result of their own spending on an unnecessary war in Iraq and unnecessary tax breaks for the richest two percent?

They need to loudly make it clear that the Republicans are working for their rich corporate bed partners, not the American workers.

And they need to do it in a way that will stand up to the dirty, twisted campaign messages that the same corporations will be funding limitlessly as November 2 draws near.

They need to demonstrate - in terms that even the tea party crowd (many of whom are themselves unemployed) can understand - that returning Republicans to power in Congress would mean a return to the same policies that created this mess in the first place.

And, perhaps most importantly, they need to do it in a way that will once again inspire the kind of movement that led to the unlikely election of President Obama in 2008.

Can it happen in time for this year's elections? I doubt it. But without that kind of change, things can only get worse.

So I cautiously cling to the audacity of hope.

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Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist, with a focus on politics, human rights, and social justice. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views (more...)
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