Blueprint for a New American Revolution [ a rant]
I am not a Democrat. I am certainly not a Republican. I am a Goddamned Independent. And the reason I am a Goddamned Independent is that the major political parties have abandoned me, while the minor ones are either too kooky or too narrow.
I don't think I'm alone. I'm willing to bet 20 to 25 percent of the voting public feels the same way. Maybe more, maybe less -- but certainly enough to swing an election. And of course, come November, I'm going to hold my nose and vote Democrat (again), and I'll do it once more in 2008, because the Bushpublicans are evil. That's not even debatable. But I won't enjoy it very much, and I won't be nearly as active in helping the Demos to win as I could be.
Why? Because there's not a single Democrat out there with any balls. There's certainly nobody who's willing to stake out original positions or piss off traditional constituency groups, not to mention major campaign donors. But that's what I want. I want somebody who has original ideas and isn't afraid to share them, even if I don't always agree with them. I want someone who doesn't stick a finger in the air to gauge the wind -- or hires pollsters to do it for her -- before she opens her mouth. (And yes, Hillary, I'm talking to you.)
So here's my ten-point plan to win the White House and get our country back, more or less in order of importance. I'm not pretending any of these are original or even grand ideas. But they might just work.
Attack the Republicans on national security. The Democrats are seen as weaker because they never engage in the debate. Why the f**k not? Who didn't even have al Qaeda on their radar? Who ignored the warnings that they were going to attack inside the US a month before they actually did? Who botched the hunt for Osama? Who failed to finish the job in Afghanistan? Who failed to engage Iran when they came to us three years ago? Who turned Iraq into a terrorist Disneyland? The answer to every question is the same. Why aren't the Demos asking them?
Come up with a plan for Iraq. And by "plan," I mean "timetable." Treat it like the civil war it has become, and bring in UN peacekeepers instead of US troops. Be specific about when, how, and who. Get all our allies involved (assuming we've got any left).
Balance the friggin' budget. Even if it hurts. Undoing those disastrous Bush tax cuts would be a start. New sources of revenue -- like taxes on corporations that do 99% of their business here despite having "headquarters" in Bermuda, or a windfall profit tax on oil companies -- would also help. Expose the earmarks and blatant pork in the budget, even when they benefit Democrats. Make it known that the days of easy pickins are over.
Punish the wicked. The Republican frat party in DC has to end. They need to have their snouts yanked out of the public trough and get what's coming to them. The Democrats must be able to reassure people that justice and fairness will prevail, and the rule of law applies equally to those in power. Otherwise, the only people who follow the rules will be the suckers.
Wake up and smell the diesel fumes. Our planet is dying. No sane person believes that global warming is either a) a myth, or b) harmless, despite what you'll hear on Fox News. We need a national environmental policy that raises emission standards and punishes companies that fail to meet the guidelines. And yes, we need a gas tax -- one that taxes oil companies as well -- with the revenues going toward NASA-like research into renewable energy sources. We sent men to the moon, but we can't make a better battery? I don't buy it.
Emphasize shared sacrifice. What is JFK's most famous line? I don't even have to repeat it, it's so well known. He began his administration with a call for shared sacrifice, and it worked. So here's one idea: All Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 owe their country at least one year of service, whether it's in the military, the Peace Corps, or teaching inner city kids how to read. In return they get room, board, and the equivalent amount of college tuition. No deferments allowed (and I'm talking to you, Dick Cheney). This concept can apply equally to environmental issues, budgets, etc. This country has a history of pulling together and making sacrifices when it has to. We're good at it.
Reduce the size of government. Government sucks. It sucks money, time, people, resources... and gives very little back. So let's cut it by 20 percent in four years. Corporations do this all the time when they get too bloated, and Wall Street rewards them. Make it a goal to reduce the federal government, even if it means reducing some services, and start with the military. I don't believe a bigger military is necessarily a better military. Who you'd rather have defending your home -- the US Army or Israel's?
Roll back the corporate takeover. Multinational corporations now have more power than governments, and they ensure that proxies are elected to do their bidding (that means you, George). We need to restore the rights of the individual to fight back against the corporate power grab.
Just say no to corporate money. You can't tell Chevron no and then take their money, so you can't take their money. In fact, I'd vow to accept no campaign donations more than $200 from any person, and preferably less. Getting corporate money and influence out of politics is essential.
Appeal to people's innate sense of patriotism. It's not Enron's country, it's not Halliburton's country, it's not Diebold's country, it's my country. I want it back. The first American revolution began 230 years ago based on the premise that it was the people who mattered. They still do.