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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 9/6/11

The Speech Mr. Obama should give this Thursday night

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Message Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice-President, Members of Congress, and -- most important of all --  my fellow-Americans:

Tonight, fourteen million desperate Americans  are fervently seeking jobs -- and cannot find them. Millions more have tried so hard, so long, that they have given up in despair.

Millions are losing their homes.

Our bridges, our water systems, our sewer systems, our schools, our railroads, our community health centers, are rotting away.

We have work that needs doing, and workers to do it -- but Wall Street is refusing to lend Main Street the money to get our economy going at full speed. When Wall Street goes on strike, it is government of the people, by the people, for the people that must invest in Main Street, for the future of our people.

 The earth that grows our food, the air we breathe, the water we drink are failing to sustain us.

Despite prayers to our Ever-Loving, compassionate God, Texas has suffered, is still suffering, one of the worst droughts in our history -- while other great regions of our great Republic, our bountiful continent, are drowning in unprecedented floods.

Action to heal these encroaching disasters has been impossible for me to mobilize.

There have been two reasons for this:

One is that pyramids of arrogant wealth and power have seized control over our political process, have turned huge corporations into churning out obscene profits for themselves while small businesses, workers, our school children, our parents and grandparents, our sick -- all are handed pink slips, are threatened with losing Social Security and Medicare, are forced to breathe air that will give our children asthma --  all of this, all of this, to let global corporations escape their fair share of taxes and evade independent regulation.

Healthy food, drinkable water, breathable air can only be achieved by effective, practical, and independent regulation. But these corporate profiteers have opposed sensible regulations whenever they think that keeping poison out of our lungs and bellies may reduce their swollen profits. 

The second reason is that I myself have made a profound mistake, over and over during these thirty-some months. I thought that even among the profit-hungry corporations, there would be a sense of the public good, a willingness to cooperate with me and respond to the outcries of the great American majority  -- you, the People.  I thought there would be more than a couple of Warren Buffets, ready to pay their fair share in taxes to make our country great again. For as Mr. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes taught us, taxes are the price we pay for civilization.

So again and again, I have reached out to compromise with them. But each time I suggested that they invest a small part of their abundance with the people so as to renew abundance for us all, they have refused.

I have tried to draw on two great strands of spiritual leadership: Moses, who challenged Pharaoh's power, and his brother Aaron, who tried to compromise with those who built the Golden Calf. It was not possible to walk both paths at once. The first is what our country needs now.  

It is time for a new voice and new vigor at the helm of our Democracy. Through these years in the White House, I have been able to watch the bravery and the good sense of our Vice-President.  Often he has disagreed with me. I am now convinced that often he was right. 

And I am convinced that he will be able to do what I have not:  face the pyramids of corrupt and arrogant power, and -- most important --mobilize the people of the United States once more to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

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Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Ph. D., founded (in 1983) and directs The Shalom Center , a prophetic voice in Jewish, multireligious, and American life that brings Jewish and other spiritual thought and practice to bear on seeking peace, pursuing justice, (more...)
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