Democratic Underground

It's Hard To Be a Democrat

September 3, 2004
By Todd Smyth

I was checking George Bush's play book the other day for the passages that say "Steal from the poor and give to the rich because they know how to dodge their taxes" and "Attack people with depleted uranium cluster bombs."

But the Bible I have says, "Blessed are the peacemakers," "Love your enemies," "Heal the sick," "Give to the poor," and "Plead the cause of the poor and needy."

I thought: Do I have the wrong version? Does Bush have a special translation? Or... does Bush's simply understand things as the opposite of what they really mean?

It's hard to be a Democrat because we have to be so many things to so many different people. We're undisciplined, disorganized, and we're up against billionaires who don't like to share and don't play well with others.

These billionaires own the corporations and sit on the boards of all the major media outlets. They control the message and they use fear to divide us, so many will vote against their own best interests. They embrace the uninformed, paranoid and gullible among us, and they call themselves and their minions Republicans. They are well funded, organized and unified around the basic emotions of fear and greed.

George Bush's chief advisor, Karl Rove, once said: "As people do better, they start voting like Republicans - unless they have too much education and vote Democratic, which proves there can be too much of a good thing."

Despite the fact that in the last century Democrats performed better on National Security and the Economy, Republicans have reversed the general perception. While Republicans won the invasion of Grenada, Democrats won WWI (Wilson), WWII (FDR/Truman) and Korea (Truman). While Republicans paid for economic performance with reckless deficit spending, Democrats created more jobs, increased the stock market and GNP while doing better at reducing deficit spending, balancing the budget, and still protecting the poor.

In the past, Republicans have used coded language like the "Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations," "Welfare Queens," and "Quotas" to mask their assault on social programs that protect the poor. Pleasant sounding lies like "Compassionate Conservative" and claiming to be a "Uniter not a Divider" were used to make the 2000 election close enough so the Santa Claus of the wealthy could be installed by the Supreme Court.

George W. Bush has used deceptive language like "No Child Left Behind" to dismantle funding for education in poor neighborhoods. He uses doubletalk like "Clear Skies" and "Healthy Forests Initiatives" to roll back pollution and logging restrictions. All to favor and maximize profits for super-rich Republican cronies.

Republicans cry "class warfare" when we point out what they do. Like a pick pocket complaining, you looked at his hands as he robbed you blind. When the news is bad they blame the "liberal media" even though they own the companies and sit on the boards that make the decisions that shape the news. If Al Gore had been president during the 9/11 attacks and had failed to act on the August 6, 2001 PDB: "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in US" he would have been burned alive by the same Republican witch hunters that made national scandals out of Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate and Troopergate.

Republicans wasted $45 million dollars on a four-year persecution that cleared Bill Clinton of all charges. They had to settle for a job favor for an intern, while Dick Cheney and Ken Lay were stealing billions from taxpayers, investors and employees of Halliburton and Enron by declaring false profits and receiving no-bid contracts from our government.

While Democrats are not without flaws, the Republican Party is the one pressing the agenda of the super-rich and powerful. While these may not be the original ideals of the party, they are a cancer that has taken over our government. Before you wince too hard, read the concerns of former presidents who wrote about the threat to our Democracy of corporate wealth and power.

"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country." - Thomas Jefferson 1816, (U.S. President 1801-09)

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country... Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." - Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 (U.S. President 1861-65)

"This is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is a government of corporations, by corporations, and for corporations." - Rutherford B. Hayes, 1876 (U.S. President 1877-81)

"Corporations, which should be the carefully restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people's masters." - Grover Cleveland, 1888 (U.S. President 1885-89 and 1892-96)

"The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have themselves called into being. There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains. To put an end to it will be neither a short nor an easy task, but it can be done." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1910 (U.S. President 1901-09)

"The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1938 (U.S. President 1933-45)

And then it happened. The concerns of our former presidents came to pass while we were numb to the mutation of Jeffersonian democracy into a feudal plutocracy where only the very wealthy have reliable access to political power. There was no need for conspiracy, just the natural result of mutual self interest and greed, growing unchecked like mold on our society.

What use to be known as "the rich get richer and the poor get poorer" is now called a "jobless recovery." Over the last 30 years, the poor and middle class have been squeezed tighter and tighter while the wealthy have become filthy rich. The richest 10% in the US now own over 70% of our total accumulated wealth. In 1970 there were 190 billionaires and now there are more than 3,100 billionaires while middle-class jobs are outsourced, work hours increase, income declines, and poverty has reached an all time high in our country.

Benito Mussolini claimed credit for defining fascism stating: "Fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." In 1938, Mussolini established the first fascist state by replacing the Italian Parliament with the "Camera dei Fasci e delle Corporazioni" - the Chamber of Fascist Corporations.

During World War II the New York Times asked U.S. Vice President Henry Wallace: What is a fascist and how dangerous are they in America?"

Wallace responded:

"The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power." … "The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact.

"They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution. They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

"…to crush fascism internally, (democracy) must develop the ability to keep people fully employed and at the same time balance the budget. It must put human beings first and dollars second. It must appeal to reason and decency and not to violence and deceit. We must not tolerate oppressive government or industrial oligarchy in the form of monopolies and cartels."

Republicans call Democrats "socialists" because it makes them look less like fascists as they persistently move our country closer to Mussolini's definition. George Bush has tried to make liberal a dirty and unpatriotic word when it actually means warmhearted, generous and freethinking. George Bush has played on our fears, questioned our patriotism and divided the country with his "with us or against us" message.

"The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger." - Herman Goering (Testimony from the Nuremberg trials)

George Bush's radical neocon Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars to brainwash Americans into believing that John Kerry and John Edwards have done something wrong when they tried to stop Bush from stealing from and endangering our children.

Bush has sacrificed public safety, seeking tort reform and relaxed regulations that would poison the air and water and endanger our children by producing dangerous products, all to maximize rich Republican profits. Bush has tried to buy his way out of economic quicksand with reckless deficit spending that piles up massive debt on our children.

And here is another item that might surprise you.

Despite common belief, the Boston Tea Party was not a protest against a tax increase. The Tea Act of 1773, which led to the Boston Tea Party, was a tax refund and exemption for the East India Company that actually lowered the price of tea in the colonies. Powerful members of the British Parliament were heavily connected to the East India Company which was poised to gain a monopoly over the American tea trade.

The Boston Tea Party was a protest against corporate corruption and unfair influence on a corrupt British Parliament - corruption that pales in comparison to the influence-peddling and war profiteering that has favored Cheney's Halliburton and Bush Sr.'s Carlyle Group as a result of the Iraq war. Notice that Ken Lay and Osama bin Laden are still free while Martha Stewart is going to jail.

Now that Bush has turned over the government in Iraq more than $8.8 billion is missing from US tax dollars along with more than $20 billion in Iraqi oil revenue. From Halliburton alone tens of millions are unaccounted for in overcharges and missing equipment. Bush is presiding over a fleecing of both the American and the Iraqi people.

Based on Dick Cheney's blueprint Halliburton offshores their profits and pays less than 1% in US taxes. They are repeatedly fined by the SEC for accounting fraud, defrauding the government in overcharges, price gouging and ignoring health and safety regulations and yet they continue to receive no-bid sweetheart contracts from George Bush and Dick Cheney.

Prominent Republicans have publicly stated they want to reduce government control over private industry. Some have said they want it small enough that government can be drowned in a bathtub. They accomplish this by massive deficit spending that racks up the national debt and weakens our government. It prevents us from enforcing trade, labor and environmental controls which empowers US corporations to abuse and exploit people around the world which has led to the terrorism and hatred we face today.

The terrorists don't hate our freedom. They don't hate our Social Security or our desire for affordable healthcare, clean air or clean water. Terrorists hate that our government supports brutal dictatorships that cooperate with US corporations to abuse and exploit their people. From their point of view, terrorists and the people who support them believe that Americans profit at their expense and suffering. In reality, only a small minority of the wealthiest profit but the American people are targeted.

George Bush has made this situation much worse by using the war on terrorism as an excuse to accomplish his agenda. Our reputation around the world has never been lower and our alliances are weakened.

Before the attacks on 9/11, George Bush did nothing to protect us from terrorists; demoting his chief counter-terrorism expert and ignoring warnings from the previous administration. The official report that named Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda responsible for the USS Cole bombing came out two months before Bush took office, but he did nothing to pursue the growing threat.

Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz criticized Bill Clinton for his obsession with Osama bin Laden. Despite repeated warnings John Ashcroft told his people he didn't want to hear any more about terrorism.

After 9/11 Bush turned the world against us by insulting our allies and misleading the world into a war for his own re-election and war profiteering. He sent our troops to war unprepared and poorly equipped. He failed to pursue Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan and turned to invade the one country in the Middle East that had the fewest ties with al Qaeda.

Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Egypt all had significant ties and contact with al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad. Iraq is a secular country and had the fewest ties with al Qaeda of all the Islamic countries in the Middle East. But Iraq had the second largest oil reserves in the world and once he got access to that oil George Bush announced "Mission Accomplished."

George Bush fulfilled Osama bin Laden's wildest dreams by invading a country in the Middle East. With no one held accountable for the widespread abuse and torture of prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Bush has further outraged 1.4 billion Muslims around the world against the United States. Bush has increased the number of al Qaeda terrorists from 3,000 in 2001 to more than 18,000 now.

We found no weapons of mass destruction. There was never any connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks. There were no mobile labs or stock piles of biological or chemical weapons. There was no uranium or aluminum tubes intended for nuclear weapons. There were no unmanned aerial drones that could be launched within 45 minutes resulting in a mushroom cloud on US soil. These were some of the lies that were told to the American people by the Bush administration.

Tony Blair has now admitted that the claim of 400,000 mass graves in Iraq was exaggerated. They have only found about 5,000 bodies which correlate to the uprising after the first Gulf War when Bush Sr. encouraged the people of Iraq to overthrow Saddam but then failed to back them up and they were slaughtered.

In a global war on terror, you can not win without the support of the global community. And in a global economy you can't get ahead by pissing off the global part of that equation. Democrats engage our allies not because it's easy but because it's the smart way to fight terrorism and grow a healthy economy. Democrats balance the budget because it makes our democracy stronger and more efficient.

"Peace cannot be kept by force - it can only be achieved by understanding" - Albert Einstein

It requires effort to think of others first, keep an open mind and include everyone. Democrats don't use God as an excuse to ignore science; we thank God for the science he gives us to perform miracles like healing the sick and feeding the poor. We are thankful for the science that warns us about global warming and tells us why missile defense won't work. We are skeptical when Bush and Cheney ignore the same science because it benefits Halliburton and their cronies. We don't have much faith in the benevolence of corporate generosity or trickle down economics. Democrats don't try to take God's place by legislating discrimination into the Constitution in God's name.

It's hard to be a Democrat because you have to go up to people you don't know and beg them to register to vote, volunteer and donate money. Republicans just scrub Democrats from the voter rolls. We Democrats are fighting to restore our democracy on a field that is rigged against us. It's easier to hate your enemies, insult your allies, ignore the poor and ignore science because the alternatives are complex and difficult. And that is why it's hard to be a Democrat.

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