The battle for the Presidency has captivated America as it always has, from the time of Washington’s oath of inauguration to the present day. Americans read about the candidates and their message and yearn for a leader that will unite the country and solve our differences. We might be Republicans, Democrats or Independents but party is not the overriding concern of the majority of Americans, it is the message of each candidate that drives us to the polling booths. The message and the small glimmer of hope that is held out to each and every one of us that longs for something better, something that can unite us and help us to overcome the many problems we face as a nation.
This election is no different. It seems that no matter how many times we have believed in one politician or another, only to find that we have been deceived again, in four short years we again grasp the mantle of hope and find ourselves again passionately supporting another “agent of change” that will right the wrongs and bring a balance to domestic and foreign policy that lives up to the ideals that we all believe America stands for, only to be let down with a crashing thud as we see the partisan bickering and the negative “spin” put on all of the ideas that we had supported just months before. This election of 2008 is no different than any other election before it
While the problems that confront us as a nation have grown to a point in our history that almost dwarfs the problems that came before this election, the individuals that have surfaced to lead us in perhaps one of the most troubling times of American history, are mediocre at best. The ideas that they have presented us with are lackluster and offer no true vision. The ideas that have been presented for American consumption offer no new ways to bring us together, nor do they offer salient ideas of how to fix a system that has shown itself to be incompetent and deadlocked in partisan bickering. The new America that so many Americans yearn for has not found a champion in those that are now vying for the Presidency. Here are five categories that no major candidates have addressed specifically. The five categories listed have been the subject of numerous articles written by people from all walks of life. While we are in the heat of the Primary season in the Presidential campaigns, I believe it is important not to overlook these issues. This may be our only opportunity to get the right person for the job of President before we lose our representative republic forever.
1. The corporate hold on the American political system.
While some candidates decry the way that corporations have managed to control who gets nominated and thus elected, there is no candidate that speaks about how this nation can rid itself from corporate influence. Some candidates allude to the fact that corporate forces including the mainstream media that is owned by a small number of individuals and corporations including General Electric and Westinghouse as well as individuals such as Rupert Murdock and corporatists such as Mitt Romney (Whose company owns a controlling interest in Clear Channel Communications), they have not proposed anything to rectify the situation. The corporate PAC’s and the corporate donations through “bundling” have a stranglehold on Congress that has become accustomed to relying on this money to fund their multi-million dollar campaigns. Between controlling the media and the purse strings for campaign money, they have effectively become the deciding arbiter of who runs for office and who doesn’t. Meanwhile there isn’t a candidate that has proposed anything to stop the corporate excesses from continuing.
2. The erosion of our civil liberties.
In this particular area of American life, nothing has been as dramatic as our loss of civil liberties. We have had a President in office that has thought nothing of using electronic surveillance on American citizens without going through a secret FISA Court that was expressly set up so that the Federal Government could monitor conversations that could affect our national security as long as the government requested a warrant 90 days after the fact! Yet this President could not even do that and Congress still has failed to address this issue. Not one of the candidates has decried the use of electronic “eavesdropping” on American citizens. This isn’t the only case of our civil liberties being usurped. A National ID Card is scheduled to be implemented in May of this year. Now, as Americans we must prove to any government official that we are American citizens and that we have a right to be here. The Military Commissions Act of 2006 takes away the writ of Habeas Corpus from any individual suspected of being a terrorist. The Patriot Act allows the home of anyone suspected of being a terrorist to be searched without the presence of the occupant and without even telling the occupant that their home was searched. The Warner Defense Bill (The revamped Insurrection Act) takes the power of the States National Guards away from the Governors of the States by the President to be used as law enforcement in violation of posse comitatus, thereby letting the National Guards of each State to be used against the people in the event of martial law. Presidential Signing Statements in which the President has the ability to only follow those bills in which he signs into law that he agrees with. First Amendment Zones that are roped of or fenced areas that people are allowed to demonstrate in that are mostly away from sight of the media or the participants of the event that is being demonstrated against, effectively muzzling Americans First Amendment rights.
3. The Military Industrial Complex
The point here is not to blame everything on the MIC, but to take a good look at how much this nation chooses to spend on its military. When we spend 51% of our budget on military expenditures (this does not include the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), we must also look at what we are sacrificing in other areas to compete with the two closest nations as it comes to military spending, Russia and China that spend 6% of the money that we do on their defense capabilities.* *http://www.globalissues.org/Geopolitics/ArmsTrade/Spending.asp
The only candidates that address this issue are Paul, Gravel and Kuchinich. Where are the other candidates on this issue? If you listen to the Republican field of Presidential contenders, they call for more spending on our military. How can the candidates fund health insurance for all and better schools and better pay for teachers when fully half of our budget goes to military procurement? Who are we defending this nation from that we would sacrifice 50 cents out of every dollar? This is happening as the number of people in uniform gets smaller every year. How do we defend this massive spending to the other nations on earth? Since when is the way we manage our budget not part of the election rhetoric?
4. The Crimes committed by the Bush Administration.
This is not an attack section of this article. The facts are that President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have repeatedly lied about issues that led us into a war with Iraq. They have engaged in illegal surveillance of American citizens, they have condoned the use of torture on suspected terrorists and they have engaged in a practice called “extraordinary rendition” in which suspected terrorists have been put on an aircraft and delivered to countries that practice torture to gain information. Where is the outrage on this issue by any of the leading candidates? I could go on at length but I choose only to bring up those things that have been proven. Before I leave this particular subject however, I would also like to hear any of the candidates’ views on Administration officials that expose a covert CIA Officer’s cover.
5. The Truth about September 11th, 2001.
Some polls show that over 50% of the American people do not believe that the official report by the 9/11 Commission answered all the questions that have been asked about 9/11. There are many engineers and other professional people that believe that the timeline and the consequences of two jetliners crashing into The World Trade Center are flawed. There are many unsolved puzzles as to why people took out “puts” on the airlines the next day and made extraordinary amounts of money. There are also questions as to why the Bin Laden family was given preferential treatment to get them out of the country when all other aircraft were grounded. I will not get into any conspiracy theories but only wonder why these things that are known facts were not investigated. The Presidential candidates ask none of these questions and I wonder if when one of them takes office will these questions remain forever unanswered?
Most of the candidates speak of “change”. My question is change to what? This nation certainly needs change, not to become something new, but to regain what seems to have been lost. We need to regain our sense of purpose, to allow America to become once again the shining light of opportunity. We need to see integrity in our elected officials. Instead of doing what is best for the party they belong to, to do the best for the American people. We need to return to the rule of law, not only for the citizens to follow, but also for government officials to follow. We need to help Americans at home instead of spending taxpayer’s money to ensure that everyone in the world thinks and acts as we do. We need to see the lock on public office that the two-party system has in place broken so that party politics will not override the will of the people. We need to stop the mega-wealthy and trans-national corporations from using loophole in the tax code to hide money in offshore accounts. We need regulation of trade so that huge monopolies such as the one that controls our mass media doesn’t take place again. We need to stop giving tax-breaks and subsidies to the oil companies such as Exxon/Mobile that posted the largest corporate profits in history this year.