Friday, September 19, 2008


The upcoming Presidential election may be one of the most important elections of our lifetime. For many years, people said that it did not matter who was running the White House and that there was no difference between the two parties. So much has occurred in the past eight years that has proven that this is not the case. There are stark differences between the platforms of the two parties and what their nominees for President are promising for our future.

The basis for the Republican Party’s political platform is that government and taxes are bad; rules and regulations on business are bad, but strict rules and regulations on individuals are necessary to maintain a decent society; “free market” forces will solve societal problems if government stays out of the way; and government programs (including education, healthcare, or social security) are bad; we don’t need a “nanny” government. Republicans support removing regulations from industry, and so deregulated the banking, insurance and financial services industries, resulting in our current economic recession and market crash. Republicans advocate eradication of all taxpayer-funded social safety nets. They support privatization of social security, see no use for welfare programs, believe healthcare is a commodity to be bought and sold, have privatized our national defense (resulting in huge profits for a handful of large corporations, even to the detriment of our troops and military strategy) and would like to either privatize or eradicate public education. They have established a record of being pro-corporate “rights” and anti-individual rights, and claim to be the party of law and order but appear to believe that the law does not apply to them and refuse to honor court-ordered subpoenas. The past three Republican Presidential administrations have established a record of war, huge budget deficits, and increased unemployment, homelessness and poverty. The current administration has destroyed our reputation abroad by use of illegal, unilateral military action, exhibiting a complete disdain for diplomacy and making arrogant foreign policy statements. It has advanced the radical idea of the “unitary executive” which gives broader powers to the executive branch OVER the other two branches of government in direct conflict with the US Constitution.

John McCain wants to make tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans permanent and give small tax cuts to working families. He is a believer in the “trickle-down theory” of economics which advocates policies to enrich the wealthiest portion of society in the hopes that some of that wealth will trickle down to the working class. He wants to tax your employer-provided health insurance benefits as income that would be applied as a payroll tax on your paycheck. To make up for the extra tax burden, he offers a “tax credit” ($2500 for individuals, $5000 for families) that is payable directly to your insurance provider. He has a record of advocating for and participating in the deregulation of banking, financial services and insurance because he believes that rules are an unnecessary hindrance to the free market. He has supported school vouchers to publicly subsidize the cost of private school education. He has stated that he is willing to allow our military to remain in Iraq for one hundred years and has advocated “pre-emptive military strikes” on Iran and Pakistan. Though he experienced torture firsthand as a prisoner of war, he has advocated our government’s use of torture and “extraordinary rendition” (kidnapping). John McCain calls himself a “maverick” but has staunchly supported the current administration’s policies and has completely changed his stand on many political issues in the past eight years so that he is now in lock-step with the Party he says he stood up against. He states that he is against special interests and wants to change Washington, but he has surrounded himself with special interest lobbyists and revolving door insiders and he chose a running mate that would appeal to certain voting blocks instead of someone who would be a knowledgeable, strong contributor to his administration.

The basis for the Democratic Party’s political platform is that government has an obligation to provide necessary services and protections for the people of the country and funds these services by taxes; common-sense rules and regulations on individuals and commerce are necessary to maintain a balance of power and a stable society and economy; national security can be maintained without sacrificing individual civil rights; fair market policies will create a stable economy and better foreign policy and promote a strong middle class which is the backbone of our economy and society ; and healthcare is not a commodity, but a right of all people. They support increased benefits for veterans and military families; equality; civil rights; healthcare for all, regardless of income; and will not privatize or do away with social security because they understand that this is a necessary program. They have established a record of policies that lift up the middle class, use our military as a last resort, utilize diplomacy to avoid conflict in foreign policy, fund education and healthcare for children and the elderly and create policies to assist with the costs of college education and the American dream of home ownership. The most recent Democratic Presidential administration took a budget deficit and turned it into a surplus while still managing to fund education, healthcare, and social safety net programs; overhauled a social security system that Republicans insisted was broken beyond repair; stimulated the economy, providing jobs that decreased unemployment; maintained our moral standing abroad; lifted the hopes and means of the working class and left behind decreased poverty and a budget surplus.

Barack Obama wants to work within the current employer and government provided healthcare system to expand healthcare and insurance to all citizens regardless of income. He wants to cut taxes to everyone making less than $265,000 a year and repeal the Bush taxcuts for the wealthiest portion of society. He wants to fund education and programs that will make college education possible for all. He advocates the use of regulations to protect consumers from bad products, fraudulent practices in banking and lending, and promotes policies that reward corporations for keeping jobs in the United States. He has a record of working with and for America’s working classes, supporting our troops, supporting equality and working in government in a bi-partisan fashion to solve problems. He has promised to bring an end to the Iraq occupation in a safe and responsible manner and go after Osama Bin Laden in Afghanistan. He promotes raising the minimum wage, affordable housing, equal pay for women and wants to create policies that will support the growth of “Green” industries, providing more jobs. He supports increased consumer protection, farm programs and policies that support family farms instead of corporate farms, upgrading rural infrastructure, and increased access to healthcare in rural communities. He promises to bring change to Washington and backed that statement up by refusing to take campaign funds from Political Action Committees and special interest lobbyists. He has proven that he can stand up against unwarranted personal attacks on his character and patriotism, dirty whisper and smear campaigns questioning his religious beliefs and family origins, and a steady stream of outright lies about him promoted by the McCain campaign. And he chose as his running mate a qualified, knowledgeable, experienced person who will not act as a "Yes man" but will contribute fresh and differing points of view to his administration.

There are obvious philosophical, ethical and economic differences between the two political parties. What you have to decide is which party’s philosophies and which candidate’s policies will best serve the interests of this country and her people for the next four years and beyond. If you prefer candidates and policies that will continue the “trickle-down” theories, divisiveness, souring economy and endless war that has been the hallmark of the Republican party, McCain/Palin is your ticket. If you believe that this country is on the wrong track, are ready for logical economic policies that create jobs and promise hope for the future and that we can all act NOW to change the system and get things working for the citizens again, Obama/Biden is your ticket. That’s the choice we are all faced with on November 4th.

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