On April 14th, 1906, actually 100 years ago, to be exact, President Theodore Roosevelt gave his famous " Muckrakers " speech to the Senate. History has distorted what was said and the intent of such words. Reality shows us that even he, the famous " trustbuster" populist leader, was not so progressive. Upton Sinclair had just published his groundbreaking indictment of the meat packing industry, The Jungle. President Roosevelt was greatly affected by the book. One anecdote has it that, while reading the book one morning in the White House, during a breakfast of sausage and eggs, he suddenly threw aside his plate and screamed he was being " poisoned ". He had most likely been reading the part describing how sausage was being made: " ... from Europe old sausage that had been rejected, and that was moldy and white- it would be dosed with borax and glycerin, and dumped into hoppers, and made over again for home consumption. There would be meat that had tumbled out on the floor, in the dirt and sawdust, where the workers had tramped and spit uncounted billions of germs; meat stored in great piles in rooms, and thousands of rats would race about on it..... there were things that went into the sausage in comparison with which a poisoned rat was a tidbit." As disgusted as he was by the truth telling of The Jungle, President Roosevelt still made these remarks in his April 14, 1906 speech: " There is filth on the floor that must be attended to, but the man who in this life consistently refuses to see ought that is lofty, and fixes his eyes with solemn intent only on that which is vile and debasing, is not merely misguided, he speedily becomes not a help to society, not an incitement to good, but one of the most potent forces of evil." So said the progressive president.
This two party system has for long been nothing short of a con job. In the vernacular of the confidence game, they call it The Long Con. That being a scam that takes time to be set up and run. How many elections have passed , and how many more must we submit ourselves to, before we realize we have been bamboozled? This time around, 2006, we progressives were so intent on ridding America of the Neo Cons, that we allowed the Democrats to push the country even further to the right. How progressive or conservative is it to allow such a disgraceful, illegal and immoral war on Iraq to continue? What true conservative wishes to send Americans overseas to attack and occupy another sovereign nation, no matter how distasteful its leaders may be, unless that nation poses a clear and present danger? No true patriotic believer in our precious Constitution will agree to " let it go and move on " when certain of our leaders may have committed treasonous acts. Sending young Americans to die for lies, covering up the truth about 9/11, and breaking both domestic and international laws pertaining to privacy and human rights, each act alone deserves hearings and investigations. When someone as respected as Rep. John Conyors states that " Impeachment is not on the table ", after having trumpeted the need for Congressional inquiry not more than 12 months ago, something smells rotten. Conyors almost swore , on national televison, that once the Democrats took the House, he himself would be ready, willing and able to head such a committee, to investigate the runup to the attack on Iraq. Perhaps Conyors recalled the words of William Pitt the Elder, when he summarized the powers of Parliament in 1742: " We are called the grand inquest (my emphasis) of the nation, and as such our duty to inquire into every step of public management, either at home or abroad, in order to see that nothing has been done amiss."
Wha happened? We wake up on the morning of November 8th, after all our hard work and energy to support these Democrats, and they flip on us! Did Pelosi cut a deal with the Bushes- we let you guys off the hook for this phony war, with all the needless death and destruction etc., and you allow us to get a few bills signed. Great, so we get a bone thrown to the public in the form of what, 25 or 50 cents an hour more of minimum wage? Don't get me wrong, its great to even get that. However, what do you say to the police and fire and health care workers who work for peanuts compared to what the fat cats are making across America? How do we justify, morally, ethically or spiritually, the fact that our last line of security, our police officer, has to approach that vehicle, with no backup, on a dark street, not knowing what is about to go down? In my town, they earn what, $30k a year? Or that firefighter who has to run into that deadly and dangerous flame strewn house, and find the crying kid, for what, $ 30k a year? Or, in the nursing home, where your mom or dad or grandparent is too weak to go to the toilet, and that aide must do the unspeakable, for what, $7.00 or $8.00 an hour? Meanwhile, the CEOs of the fortune 500 companies are earning 300 and 400 times what their lowest paid employee makes. Folks pulling in $10 or $20 million a year, while you crawl and climb your way up the ladder, for years, to be earning $50k or $75k a year. Get real folks!
Change needs to occur, and fast. Guess what? It ain't gonna happen, presently, with either of these two parties. What can and should go down is for Americans to finally awaken from their slumber. That is why some of us stand on the same street corner, for 25 months straight, in protest to this terrible war. If you're a Democrat, join the local Democratic club, and demand that change takes place. Same for the Republicans. Tell these party leaders what issues you think are important. Stop reading what the mainstream media tells you what they dictate is important. For this writer, some key issues are a) the war and its consequences, b) the need for public funding of elections (money out of politics) , c) the need for Medicare for all Americans, d) redirecting our tax dollars from a War Economy to one of rebuilding American infrastructure, and e) lower taxes for we who earn below 1 million a year, and much higher taxes for the very wealthy. And, for some reason, if where you live the two parties are filled with short sighted ideologues, then run for office as an independent. You'll have plenty of company, and more importantly, you'll make a statement. Being an orphan is a sad thing, being a fool is even worse.