Saturday, November 19, 2011

Senator Bernie Sanders

“This country does in fact have a serious deficit problem. But the reality is that the deficit was caused by two wars — unpaid for. It was caused by huge tax breaks for the wealthiest people in this country. It was caused by a recession as result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street. And if those are the causes of the deficit, I will be damned if we’re going to balance the budget on backs of the elderly, the sick, the children, and the poor. That’s wrong.”
                                         Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
It won't do to dismiss Sanders as a "socialist." Where is the socialism in this statement? Why aren't Republicans capable of uttering it? When I was a kid there were Republicans absolutely committed to expanding the middle class  even if it meant squeezing more out of the wealthy.  This led them to support, gasp, civil rights & even unions. My eight-term Congresswoman, Flo  Dwyer (served 1956-1972), co-sponsored the Equal  Rights Amendment, & was very interested in the minimum wage. Before Medicare she campaigned on the need to make  medical care a component of Social Security to protect the elderly, & wanted a more transparent legislative process.    Yet, nobody mistook  her for a Democrat. She embodied white suburban values, recognized that more women were going on to higher education & professional careers, & that an increasing number of families had two wage-earners (& not always just to make ends meet).  I grew up believing it was possible to be a Republican, have integrity, & take the just side of important issues. Those Republicans, the last connections to the party of Lincoln & Teddy Roosevelt, are long gone.


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