I’m often asked by people why I am so passionately involved in politics, and I attribute my passion for politics the same way I attribute my passion for reading a short story written in the early twentieth century.
Short stories written in the early twentieth century focused on a set of purposely written words that sparked imagination in the reader to symbolize certain external struggles that can be implied to the many struggles that are happening today. That is why the study of short stories are a mainstay on many college campuses. Many students, seeking out degrees, have to attend a reading in short story class. Every week, a professor would assign their students readings from O’Henry, Kate Chopin, Edgar Allen Poe, Mark Twain, Ambrose Bierce, Nathaniel Hawthorne, as well as many others and ask the students to carefully dissect their words to find a hidden meaning. To me, politics is the same as dissecting a short story.
To me, it doesn’t matter what a politician says. I don’t question what they are saying. Rather, I question why they are saying it. Right now, at this very moment, republicans are chipping away at women’s reproductive rights. Right now, at this very moment, republicans are chipping away at voting rights. Right now, at this very moment, there is a smear campaign waged at Muslims, immigrants and African-American’s. I’m not paying attention to what is done, but why they are doing it.
The right for a woman to choice to have an abortion is the law of the land. It has been the law of the land since the 1972 Supreme Court decision known as Roe vs. Wade. When republican lawmakers legislate to ban abortion they know it is unconstitutional. They know that it will be overturned, and they know that activists will have to spend millions of dollars of raised money to go into the challenges of these new laws. They know that if the activists are forced to spend millions of dollars challenging these new laws then that means they are not allowed to spend millions trying to advance their own agenda of equal rights, equal pay and a higher standard of living for all.
Trying to outlaw abortion is a big win for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood has raised millions of dollars, Planned Parenthood has expanded their subscribers by hundreds of thousands in just a few years. If republicans wanted to eliminate abortion and Planned Parenthood the easiest way to do that would be to ignore them. So, by republicans trying to ban abortion really translates to republicans trying to ban Planned Parenthood and opening the door to new competition that lines their own pockets.
An assault on voter’s rights isn’t necessarily an assault on blacks and the poor in this Country. An assault on voter’s rights is an assault directed at the United States Government, in the Department of Justice. I say this because this assault didn’t exist when there was a republican president with a republican house and a republican senate. When the republicans had the power in the federal government they did not use their power to ban abortion or dismantle The Civil Rights Act. They used their power to go to war, and war is a distraction. Why is war a distraction? War is a distraction to Americans because it makes us focus on the soldiers that are dying, and it distracts us from the profiteers who make money at the expense of our dead. Sadly, most Americans don’t care about the war. Soldiers, sailors and airmen are a small minority in this Country. Soldiers, sailors and airmen make up a little more than a million people in this Country. I was a part of that small minority of people. I spent months on an aircraft carrier, out in the middle of nowhere, working 16 hours a day/7 days a week having the feeling that nobody gave a damn about me or my fellow sailors. That is what happens when we live in a volunteer society. The privileged often never do.
There is this assault on people who have to depend on welfare and food stamps to survive. Why? Because it is easy to paint them as a villain. Many hard-working taxpayers can be easily persuaded into hating these people, because their tax dollars are going to help them survive. However, the bulk of their tax dollars are going into the multi-billion dollar corporate welfare system that we have today. The oil companies, big pharma and the defense industry get more of our tax dollars than someone who lives in the projects of the Bronx bringing in $300 a month.
What we should be asking is why are these people having to rely on welfare and food stamps? That is a question with a very simple answer, and is a problem which has a very simple solution. Too many people in this Country are making minimum wage, and making minimum wage isn’t due to a lack of skills. The making of minimum wage is attributed to the millions of jobs shipped overseas. There will come a point of time in this Country that people with four year college degrees will be making minimum wage or close to minimum wage. Don’t believe me?
The answer to ending welfare and food stamps is to bump up the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Sure, people will say that business won’t hire and that it will cause businesses to not hire people. Why? Because businesses don’t want to pay their workers what they are worth. Businesses like to take the money that is earned by the worker and send it to the top. The truth about a higher minimum wage is that the people that earn the least spend the most. Doubling a persons weekly income will act as a big boom to the economy that businesses will not be able to easily ignore. So, if the democrats really cared about the “middle-class” why didn’t they raise the minimum wage when they held The White House and both majorities in Congress? Why? Because they rely on money generated by Wall Street to fund their large political campaigns. Again, the solution to that problem is easy. Campaigns should be publicly funded, and candidates should be term limited.
The answers to our Nations problems are so easy. I know that, you know that and the politicians definitely know that. However, the more time politicians and the media use to split the electorate the longer they remain in the winners seat. The longer they have to formulate ideals used to pit against democrats and republicans, and the longer they remain in the winners seat–Americans will continue to lose.
The sad fact is that America is no longer #1. Our democracy is failing us right before our eyes. We have a Congress that doesn’t want to do the people’s business. We live in a society that is dictated by what the media makes us focus on. We live in a nation predicated by fear. The brown-skinned, bearded boogeymen is waiting behind the corner looking to inflict harm on Americans. Sadly, the boogeymen are the people in this Country that vote against their own interest. The boogeymen are the people who vote for a democrat to serve as their federal officials while voting for the republican to serve them in their own State. The boogeymen are the people who put a check on power at the national level while letting power run wild in their State legislatures. These are also the same people that give the Congress their lowest approval ratings to date. Why? I think it’s safe to say that the low ratings reflect the low ratings that voters have on themselves. However, these politicians will keep getting re-elected. This should be the reason why people should care about politics, because if you don’t care someone else will. And usually it will be a person that doesn’t care about you, rather themselves.