I am a lifelong Democrat. Ever since I was 18, I proudly carried that banner with me everywhere and into the voting booth – well, at least most of the time. However, in the last few big elections, the lines have blurred and the centrists of both parties are sitting on the fence amid the quagmire known as the “healthjobseconwar.” Oh yes, we can lump it all together which is just what they did in Massachusetts last night.
Yes, up north, in Kennedy territory, the blues were seeing red and overhwhelmingly jumped the aisle into the GOP zone. The election of little known Republican Scott Brown, to a seat held by the late Senator Ted Kennedy for nearly half a century, is a clear indicator that Americans are simply fed up with the void in Washington. It was not just a referendum on health care; it was a referendum on the empty promises of a new President whom the world sees as the anti-Bush while Americans are increasingly viewing as the burning bush.
The White House is ground zero for the vacuum on health care reform. Anything that enters is just sucked into a black hole and spit out the other side into some rhetoric about how this will all be better when the dust settles. Really? Has Mr. Obama and his Congressional leaders (what few followers he may still have after last night) seen the numbers on this economy?
I think he’s so busy admiring his Nobel peace Prize that he forgot to humbly listen to his own advisors. Elizabeth Warren, whom Obama appointed to chair the congressional oversight panel to oversee the banking bailouts, painted a very dim picture last month in her article, “America Without a Middle Class.” She cited, “Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed, or just plain out of work. One in nine families can’t make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put 10 million homeowners out on the street.”
Yes, the new guy in the White House happens to be a Democrat but to be perfectly frank, the Republican before him wasn’t doing such a great job either. He was focused on war and nothing but war. This one is focused on health care and nothing but health care. When will the powers that be in Washington start listening to something beyond the echo of rhetoric inside the halls of Congress? When will they realize that Americans are scared, more so than their tough veneer will let on under constant global scrutiny? When will they realize that Americans are angry that their mothers and fathers, grandmothers and grandfathers, are too embarrassed to ask their adult children for financial aid because they see their children struggling to take care of themselves? When will America, the great charitable foundation for the world at large, stop giving away money it doesn’t have to help people elsewhere? These are tough times and much of it was caused by the people who used to think they owned Washington. Now those people are in hiding or in jail and Washington has turned into the wild west. It’s time to circle the wagons and concentrate on helping our own.
Back in Massachusetts, they’ve just elected a man who’s bared it all and presumably has nothing to hide. Maybe the rest of Congress should take his lead – strip down to basics and start over before it’s too late.