Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Open Letter to Republicans from The Opinionated Liberal's blog

I know you all are not expecting me to keep quiet about the election...are you?? I will be getting back onto my soapbox shortly, but for now The Opinionated Liberal has formulated a letter to Republicans that I wish I had written. See below:

"Dear Republican-controlled House,

I am writing this as a concerned citizen. You won the election this year, but why? While I respect the election process, I do have some things to say about the process and its outcome. Did the Democrats have weak candidates? Do Americans not like their ideas? Was the Democratic base unmotivated? Sure, maybe these are partly true. But, I have to say the major reason Americans voted against the Democrats was the economy. While we may not technically be in a recession any longer, there are still a lot of people without jobs. So was this a referendum on Obama, or was he made a scapegoat for the economic situation? My vote is for the latter.

And on the election process; with the SCOTUS decision in Citizens United v. FEC, corporations can spend unlimited money secretly to influence campaigns. And to whom will they be donating that money? Conservatives, who promise to deregulate their industries and save them billions of dollars. And in 2010, the corporations were spending. Corporate influence is the driving force behind so much corruption in Washington. So what will you do to resolve the issues raised by this decision?

Now I would like to talk about some of your campaign talking points. If your new message is truly that of fiscal responsibility, what programs will you be cutting? Medicare or Social Security (thus alienating seniors from your party)? The bloated army (thus alienating your own base)? How about your own pay? Since taxpayers are on the hook for your paycheck, shouldn't you cut your pay? Isn't this just another form of a government handout? And about the healthcare thing; if you defund the healthcare bill, you should say no to the insurance that you get because of your job. If regular Americans don't deserve good healthcare, why should you be getting it at our expense? Will you raise taxes on Americans to reduce the deficit? Don't just say that you'll cut waste/fraud. That is a talking point, not a real solution to reducing the national debt.

What will you be doing to help create jobs? This leads me to a side note: You know, if government doesn't create jobs, and what we need is a smaller government, then why do Republicans even run for office? Doesn't that contribute to the problem as they see it?

And with regards to deregulation of the market to "get government out of the way," let's explore what that has led to in the past:

1. The housing bubble collapse.
2. Fraudulent, predatory loan practices.
3. The Deepwater Horizon disaster.
4. The credit crisis.

# The practices on Wall Street, such as trading derivatives, that contributed to the recession.
# Decreasing value of the dollar.
# Oil shortages.
# Deadly mining disasters.
# Increased prices of things like oil, gold, and materials for manufacturing.
# Lots more billionaires.

All of this eventually required Bush programs like TARP, the bank bailouts, and the "stimulus bill," which cost taxpayers about $1 TRILLION to prevent a worldwide depression.

On the flip-side, what has regulation given Americans?

1. The 40-hour work week (as opposed to working 60 or more for little pay).
2. The right to unionize and petition for better working conditions.
3. Laws against child labor.
4. Safe food and medicines.
5. Safe railroads, roads, airports, and other infrastructure.
6. Safe working conditions.
7. A minimum wage.
8. Social security and Medicare.
9. Clean air and water.
10. Beautiful natural parks for our children and grandchildren to appreciate.
11. The FDIC, which protects you in case of runs on banks.
12. A credit card bill of rights.
13. Allowing children to stay on their parents' healthcare until age 26.
14. Health insurance companies can no longer deny coverage because of pre-existing conditions, or drop you if you get sick.
15. Much more.

So I think I have made a good case for regulation. It isn't perfect, and isn't always right, but it is better than allowing kids to work in sweatshops and having the fear of losing your job because someone else will work for lower wages. Deregulation may make companies richer, but it doesn't make them hire. It gives them incentives to avoid that.

So, what is your real plan for America? If you give tax cuts, you raise the deficit, and you are not fiscally responsible. If you cut social programs, you will reduce the deficit, but you will lose voters. If you cut the size of the military (which I think is practical), you will lose your own base. If you use Keynesian fiscal stimulus to get the economy going and create jobs (and create programs like FDR did in the New Deal), you will raise the deficit, and look like complete hypocrites to those who voted for you. So how can you possibly stay true to your supposed values without losing almost everyone who would vote for you?

In addition, I have some concerns about your platform in regards to civil rights. Why can't gay people openly serve in the armed forces to defend the country they love? Why do you say you oppose the government intruding in private lives, but want to deny gays the right to marry? This is government intrusion in the bedroom. The common argument I hear is that if homosexuality is allowed, then bestiality and pedophilia will follow; however, this is a fallacious slippery slope argument. In addition, I have a problem with those who speak out against gays, but are either secretly homosexual themselves, or are committing adultery. If you are the party of family values, why isn't adultery a crime? Why is it OK to allow adultery, divorce, and domestic abuse for straight couples, but it is not OK for two people who love each other to get married?

And why should Freedom of Religion apply only to Christians? Placing the Ten Commandments (which it is absurd to say our government is based on, and I could write a whole book in support of my view) in public places discriminates against all other faiths, and against non-believers. And about the "Ground Zero Mosque," why can't a house of worship be placed in New York? It is OK for a strip club to be on the street, but not a mosque? This is bigotry, and is an example of blunt racism. Religious extremists attacked America, not Islam. And denying Muslims the right to build a house of worship, besides being unconstitutional according to the First Amendment, is no less than religious extremism.

Also, what will you do about immigration? Demonizing all immigrants as drug traffickers or as lazy, welfare-sucking bums sends the wrong image to the world. It also avoids the problem we have; that is, it is hard for people to become American citizens. We need institutions to teach immigrants the English language, and allow these people to become taxpaying, patriotic, hardworking citizens. And, we need to punish businesses who hire illegals. So what is your plan?

Also, what will you be doing about education? Because many of our jobs are lost permanently overseas, education will be the key to revitalizing America, and create a long-term solution to the jobs crisis. An educated workforce will create the innovators that create the jobs of tomorrow, and the technology of the future. These could be jobs in medicine and curing disease, or the green technology that will free us from our dependence on foreign oil. Yet study after study shows we lag far behind the world in areas like reading, science, and mathematics. What will you do to address this crisis?

As you can see, I have some problems with your platform, and serious questions about your economic plans and promises. In conclusion, I have this to say:

The rhetoric worked during the election; you won the seats. Now it is time to own up to those big words with bigger deeds. Get to work. Help restore America, and make us a world leader again. You burned America once, and we won't tolerate it again.

The Opinionated Liberal"

That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it? We have so much work to do and so little time. I'm taking suggestions on how we can change from a nation that can only understand instant gratification into a nation prepared to be patient and support the one's elected to change the ugliness, even if politics doesn't always allow us to revel in the whole pie...we have a portion for now....patience is a virtue.


  1. Carolyn (From C*n*d*)November 15, 2010 at 9:33 AM

    An excellent, excellent letter. And thanks to you for bringing it to our attention.