Once again Mr. Tom Hall has delivered a wonderful piece of writing and leads the way on clear, concise coverage of an issue. After attending the Democratic National Convention (well, I was in Denver, not in the convention hall, alas) I made myself a promise that I guess I ought to make public, if only so that should I not follow through, there will be ample evidence. That promise was to write, often and passionately, about the upcoming election and why Barack Obama needs to be the next president of the United States. Thanks for kicking me in the ass, Tom!
I believe this is the most important election of the past 28 years and in hindsight, maybe the most important since 1960. Hell, why not since ever? In 1980, many of us were convinced that Reagan would lead us to nuclear war, but the threat of Mutually Assured Destruction (a better nickname, MAD, was never invented) and the inevitable destabilization of the Soviet Union prevented that fear from becoming reality. However, the Reagan presidency sharply reversed the social and civil rights gains achieved over the previous 15-20 years and continued the US policy of turning Latin America into our own little death squad playground.
But back to why this particular election is so important. Two words: Supreme Court. If you think that we barely survived the 5-4 decisions of the “Kennedy Court” of the past few years (2008 notwithstanding) wait until Justices Stevens (88 years old), Ginsberg (75, rumored to be ill) and possibly Souter (68 and fed up with the partisan court) and Kennedy (72) retire.
To the former supporters of Hillary Clinton who are now supporting John McCain and think their right to choose won’t be affected by a McCain presidency: You’re living in dreamland. I hope you’re ready for Roe v. Wade to be overturned by a vote of 7-2 or 8-1 because most experts think the next president will have at least 2, possibly as many as 4 positions to fill. If you think Roe v. Wade won’t be challenged early and often, won’t speed through the federal judiciary packed by Bush and won’t wind up in a decidedly anti-choice Supreme Court, should McCain win, you’re delusional. Of course, that’s just one issue. Id the radical right retains control of the white house, there’s a whole laundry list of rights set to be rolled back or destroyed.
We’ve already lost habeas corpus and with it a large part of the bill of rights. Care for a list of rights and freedoms that George W. Bush, congress and the Patriot Act have removed from our grasp? If you don’t want to click through, just tick off the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th amendments. That’s right. 80% of the Bill of Rights, one of the greatest documents ever written, has effectively been thrown out the window. Don’t believe me? Click here and tell me if we still really have freedom of assembly (ask the DNC and RNC protesters), protection against unreasonable search and seizure, due process, protection against eminent domain seizures, Prohibition of excessive bail and cruel and unusual punishment (Guantanamo), etc., etc.
What’s next? My right to publish these very words? A furthering of this post-9/11 reactionary government will make McCarthy-era persecution seem like the good old days. Libraries closed, books banned (and burned), women seeking back alley abortions and dying from them, gay rights rolled back, illegal wire tapping of citizens by the government (of wait, we already have that)…If McCain and Palin are elected, Orwell will only have been off by 20-odd years.
I meant it when I wrote a few days ago that “if we elect Brack Obama, we can ALL be proud.” I am proud of what this country is supposed to stand for and if we elect Obama, I will be truly proud of us as a nation for the first time in perhaps my entire life.
The preamble to the Constitution of The United States reads:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Thus begins what has been called the single greatest, most defining document in the history of the world. By me, at least. Reading it now makes me weep. It has been so shredded as to be unrecognizable. Please, can someone tell me where the current administration and it’s McCain-Palin clones plan to ” establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” I want to be there to see it.
It’s more like:
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice for rich white people,
insurethreaten domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defencestart needless wars making things more dangerous around the world, promote the generaldecrease Welfare benefits for poor people, and securedismantle the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
Doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?
So what am I asking? Get out there. Write, march, call, door knock, speak. Speak loudly and with purpose, conviction and knowledge. Know that while he is by no means perfect (despite what the religious right will tell you, no one is), Barack Obama is the clear choice to save America from itself. We’re headed down a long, dark road and we have a real chance to turn around.