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Wednesday, 02 March 2016 09:47

Serody: Anger, Desperation, and Hope

Written by  Bob Serody

Posted March 2, 2016
National Presidential Debates Commentary / Hillary-Bernie
Member Opinion*


A Year of Anger, Desperation, and Hope
By Bob Sereody

During this critical year, shock waves of discontent and then the untimely death of Justice Antonin Scalia have caused upheavals in the Republican Party. It is even possible that the GOP may be on the eve of a permanent split. It is apparent that the Republican Party has imploded (perhaps a better word is ‘rotted’). In fact, the last four years will be known as the years of 'Republican political putrefaction.' We can’t simply argue that the former party of Lincoln has deteriorated simply by championing racial segregation after the movement of Dixiecrats to the Republican Party after the sixties. Deterioration has also resulted in the dissolution of the Middle Class, an economic segment of the population, which neither party sees as in need of accumulating wealth and power in the global economy. The bottom ninety-nine percent of Americans are in trouble when wealth and power are the only things that really matter. And after securing and misusing this monetary advantage of wealth and power over our fellow citizens, our party technocrats then rationalize that this is a necessary adjustment brought about by the age of information technology. It’s the old message that those in control know what’s good for us. In effect, we are told that life is too complex to allow us to make our own decisions.

We’ve seen all levels of government, federal, state, and local, shrink from supporting public education and neighborhood desegregation, two critical prerequisites for diminishing racial bias and for giving our children the gift of learning how to think independently. Instead, our elected leaders encourage privatization of education not only to withhold from us the gift of knowledge and independent thought, but also to divide and conquer us.  

We are used as a consumer workforce to move the flow of wealth into the hands of the few. Along with the elimination of manufacturing jobs and the creation of overseas factories for producing and shipping goods back into this country, our nation has been transformed into an oligarchy, a point that Bernie Sanders has often made when he discusses the control over the nation’s economy by the wealthiest one tenth of one percent.  

We expected so much from the introduction of the digital age. Instead, giant corporations while racking up incredible profits are doing so with increased efficiency. Daily activities have become superficial as ordinary people spend more time just to survive, while quality of life is diminished. The promise of a better life from advances in digital technology has resulted in fewer jobs with machines replacing manual labor. Education and retraining has not kept up with the demand. Now many workers find that the only jobs available are in the fast food industry, where starvation wages are supplemented with tips.  

With lowered incomes and the lack of basic necessities, many of us lack health insurance, no longer dream of owning a home, and cannot afford to provide our children with a college education. With the dissolution of the middle class, an ever growing angry group of citizens has emerged that look on our elected leaders as bloated royalty out of touch with its serfs. The fat cats of Washington can handle this discontent with their lies and their ability to redirect the blame at those who would dare to change the status quo.

The answer, the GOP claims, is to lower taxes, especially on the rich, by eliminating entitlements, while at the same time doing away with capital gains and estate taxes. Republicans claim we need to treat corporations as people when it comes to individual rights and political donations. Loopholes exist to allow corporations to avoid taxes from profits and to declare bankruptcy to shed debt. While deregulation provides little protection for citizens, laws need to be in place to protect the largest banks when a citizen defaults on his credit card debt or loses his home. Then they have the nerve to tell us that this double standard is good for the economy.

Aside from the anger people harbor against Washington, where the only laws that get passed benefit the rich, they are also afraid. They fear what the future may bring, feel disappointment in a spiritual deity that allowed a hurricane to destroy homes and kill innocent children, or watch personal reserves dwindle as they grow older, and it dawns on them that they will work until they die, most likely from an incurable disease. However, some of them hold onto the message of Donald Trump that we will become a great nation again if he is elected. That is the sum-total of his message.  

Ordinary Americans today are not the only ones who are afraid. The GOP establishment is scared to death because they feel that Trump is a loose cannon. He is not only unpredictable, he is uncontrollable, and his prospects for becoming our next president are practically nil.

That brings us to the Democratic candidates. There is Hillary Clinton whom the Democratic Party feels it can trust to maintain the status quo when it comes to the economy. They don’t believe she will throw a monkey wrench into an already inequitable system.  The party leaders back her because they trust her. She is one of them. After all, her husband is Bill Clinton, the guy who moved the Democratic Party to the right, where the money is. The middle class will remain as it did under President Obama.  

Finally, there is Bernie Sanders. His record speaks for itself. He has kept to his principles all his life, namely to promote an economy that is fair and gives all the people a chance to live a decent and productive life. He has looked at other advanced countries and found our own system lacking. There are no questionable financial interests backing his campaign.

His opponents attempt to belittle him in by saying his platform is unworkable. They cry out that what he proposes is too good to be true. Hillary uses this point to argue that pragmatism is more practical than idealism. She maintains that the country can’t afford these worthwhile changes; in any case, she states that congress will never accept health care for all or provide tuition-free public colleges and universities as a right. Instead, she argues for incremental steps that might make some of us feel good that we’re doing something. What she doesn’t say is that the economy will remain essentially the same, just as it did under Obama.  

Sanders’ counterargument is simple. He is leading a revolution – not a revolution fought with guns, but a political revolution that will result in the significant changes necessary to restore economic balance to our country’s citizens. The revolution depends on convincing enough voters to embrace his message. If enough people vote, it will result in massive change, and that’s no hopeless dream for those who believe this is the only alternative to politics as usual. It takes a tidal force to change a village, Hillary.

Many influential people in Hillary’s camp are happy with her message of restraint. But there are others who believe that not only can our country’s economy be restored to include a decent wage for working people, but that the cost will be affordable. Former Secretary of Labor under President Clinton, Robert Reich, has thrown his support to the Vermont senator, because he knows that Bernie stands for economic and social justice.  

It is now Super Tuesday. Fighting the establishment is no easy task. Even if Bernie Sanders doesn’t win the Democratic nomination, his message on mostly young voters won’t be lost. They realize that time for effective change is quickly running out. Global warming is like a time bomb, and its effect will negatively alter our planet over millennia. Again, no one running for president except for Bernie will effectively address this issue. Other countries will fall in line only if the United States leads the effort. The fact remains that there is only one candidate available to address the major issues that count, and that includes restoring the middle class.  Only Bernie Sanders has the guts to tackle them. Let’s hope it’s not too late.

Bob Serody is a member of Space Coast Progressive Alliance.

*ED. NOTE: The views expressed here are solely those of the author. SCPA does not endorse candidates and welcomes commentary on a wide range of issues, including political campaigns, local, regional and national. If interested in contributing commentary, contact SCPA, please click here.


Last modified on Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:47
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