Posted by: minnow | February 10, 2014

Storm Clouds

I am not impressed with the state of the Union and I wasn’t impressed with President Obama’s State of the Union address.  In fact, I second Mark Shield’s comment on the PBS NEWSHOUR that it was “utterly forgettable”.  Sadly, or perhaps the only good news for President Obama was, the response from Cathy McMorris, Representative from the state of Washington, was worse.

Congresswoman McMorris told us five times that the Republicans had a plan to help Americans and twice that they had solutions to joblessness, unequal opportunity, and the problems with our education and healthcare systems.  Yet, nowhere in her speech did she actually explain what any of those plans or solutions were.  With just a bit of fact checking we discover her sad story about Bette in Spokane, who supposedly suffered because of the Affordable Care Act, was misleading.  Ms McMorris also wanted to make a distinction between what she called President Obama’s focus on inequality and the republican’s focus on opportunity.  FYI Ms McMorris, the president talked about opportunity more than three times as often as he mentioned inequality.  Additionally, he mention our need to give people a chance four different times, which is another way of talking about providing opportunity.

Before you jump to the wrong conclusion and think I was “all in” with the president.  I am actually pretty frustrated.  The talking head that makes the most sense to me these days is Robert Reich.  The politician I’d vote for in a heart beat is Elizabeth Warren.  I know that Hilary Clinton appears to be the democrats darling these days.  With instant recognition and an infamous husband she would be fast out of the gate.  I’m afraid after that however Clinton doesn’t really make it around the track for me.  Her health is a concern.  Her husband in the long term is a liability.  And, I haven’t really heard her say anything new.  We will see what happens with the mid term elections.  Now that  Senator Baucus will be replaced by John Walsh the probability that the democrats will hold on to this particular senate seat has increased.  My question is–just how are the democrats any different from the republicans?

Until we get money out of elections we are destine to have money control what happens in America.  We need representatives who are willing to buck the system.  We need representatives who are willing to do what’s right even if it means their financial backers look for someone else to back.  We need representatives who care more about preserving the planet than maintaining their re-election funds.  We need representatives who care more about educating students in the ways that they learn than about standardized testing that never measures the skills students can turn around and use.  We need representatives who understand that building the middle class via jobs to restore our infrastructure and training programs that reroute the working class to new markets with new skills is the kind of long term vision we need and will ultimately benefit everyone.  Sadly, too few politicians are willing to sound THAT call, including the democrats.

I predict our situation will probably get worse before it gets better.  I also predict that if we don’t act soon the scales will tip beyond our ability to correct our problems peacefully.  Internally the United States has faced some difficult times in the past–the civil rights riots in the sixties and seventies, the dust bowl and the Great Depression in the thirties, the American Civil War from 1861 to 1865.  And, we’ve recovered.  I don’t like sounding like a doomsday predictor.  I want to have more faith in our ability to rally together, to be responsible, to take our role as leader of the free world seriously.  But, I’m just not seeing the signs to indicate such faith is warranted.  In truth, those in power are likely to remain in power especially when you consider our last general election only had a 58% voter turn out.  That means 42 percent of the population who could have voted found nothing to vote for worth the effort it would take to get to the polls.  Many of those who made the effort waited in line for hours in order to exercise their rights.  And, instead of making it easier to vote  in the future several states have enacted laws which ultimately will suppress the vote rather than increase it.  Additionally, the economic climate is so brutal most are too afraid of losing their jobs to make noise.

Our mid-term elections will certainly signal any shift that may be happening in the political climate.  But, in all likelihood, though a storm may be brewing, very little will change.  Fear keeps us immobile.  And, desperation has not yet hit.

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