To My Republican Friends (and to the President)
After four years of horrendous behavior from one party and lack of backbone from another, President Obama emerges with a clear mandate for change.
As a nation, we must recognize that any directive from either party that willfully hurts the nation in order to fulfill a partisan agenda is treason.
To my Republican friends: the level of uncivil discourse coming from you in the name of your party was so severe that, out of over 100 of you, only one person was able to continue speaking about politics without denying objective truth. I live for good political debate, and what I got from all but one of you was sophomoric and paranoid. All but one.
Treason committed by Republican leadership (both in government and in the media) does not include the nonsensical resistance to the First Lady’s call for a healthier diet. Anti-environment legislation endangers the lives of Americans, but in itself is not treasonous, and anti-science is a threat to national security in the long term (as well as just plain stupid) but is not quite treason. Harassment of women going to Planned Parenthood is thuggish, but not treason, as is legislation aimed at taking away a woman’s access to birth control and her right to choose. Booing an American soldier because he was brave enough to say on national television that he is Gay was not treason, but it was unpatriotic. Labeling the rich as "job creators" is un-Christian (there is only one Creator, and his Son was very critical of the rich) but not treasonous.
Here is where treason sets in: spreading the doctrine that the USA is a republic, not a democracy (in other words, seeking to undermine the principle of citizen ownership of government, including citizens who are poor). Applauding legislative attempts to suppress voter turnout while organizations within your party actively engaged in voter fraud and voter intimidation. Failing to enact real Wall Street reform might not seem treasonous at face value, but after seeing the devastation done to this country in 2008, letting bankers play games with the lifeblood of the economy is an immediate threat to US security and world stability.
It is also treasonous when you refuse to acknowledge when the President does something for the benefit of the country such as the assassination of Bin Laden, then blame him for a so-called "apology tour" and the deaths of our people in Benghazi. The level of hatred for the man has at that point gone beyond love of country. In other words, you are willing to hurt us all by undermining national unity and international standing in order to further a partisan agenda. Calling the President a communist, atheist, Muslim etc. reflects a serious disconnect with fact and common civility that such discourse must be recognized as a call for anarchy and is therefore treasonous as well.
Republican leadership committed the biggest treason of all when they made attacking Obama their first priority rather than helping our country out of the Great Recession. The President was correct in framing the vote as revenge, as acceptable response to a party willing to reduce the country to shambles in order to make him look bad.
My Republican friends, all of you except for one bought into some portion of treason. Many of you rejected the racism, sexism and homophobia running rampant among your ranks, but did not call it out publicly, all the while finding nothing but fault with Obama. More than once, I asked you to prove to me you were reasonable and worthy debaters, to affirm that Obama is a decent American who loves his country, but that you respectfully disagree with his policies. Only one of you, a Born Again Christian who does his best to live by the Gospel, could discuss politics in good faith.
My advice to you is to do some soul searching. Abandon your unreasonable hate. Punish those in your party who continue to foment it. Call them out. America is healthier when both parties clash in honest debate, so bring the GOP back to America, but to America as it is rather than how they insist it should be.
Now, let’s engage in meaningful debate.
To our President and Congress: there is now no excuse for real reform. Here is my wish list:
1. Let the Bush tax cuts for those making over $500,000 a year expire.
2. The super-rich should pay more, much more. They and their businesses depend on a country with a strong infrastructure and an educated workforce. Corporations use the roads and our collective brainpower much more than the average citizen, so it is in their best interest in the long term to invest through taxes. Unfortunately, too many of them only see as far as their bank accounts.
3. Invest in education as an important facet of national security.
4. Let’s get healthcare on track for single-payer and public option.
5. Enforce greater protections for the environment and for food/air/water quality. The proper job of government is to be a watchdog, so give the dog some teeth.
6. Forget cap and trade - the entire project reeks of the potential for corruption. Instead, create incentives for cleaner energy by increasing support for businesses that produce it. Having solar panels in every home should be a national priority, if only to ensure national security as fossil fuels run out.
7. Wall Street reform: there is no excuse not to ban the multitude of clever rip-offs that are part and parcel of derivative trading.
8. End all incentives for sheltering money in tax havens. Stop rewarding companies that send jobs overseas. Take away the false construct called "blind trust" - we all know it is a con.
9. Overturn Citizens United. Come up with theoretical constructs for economic entities that do not include personhood for corporations.
10. Phase out affirmative action based on race or ethnicity. Base such programs solely on economic hardship - racial and ethnic discrepancies will be addressed appropriately if poverty is the baseline. There is also nothing wrong with aiding impoverished communities as well as individuals.
11. Recognize undocumented Americans as potential citizens rather than criminals.
12. Enact real firearms reform. Severely restrict access to all automatic and semi-automatic assault rifles, and ban ammo clips that hold more than 10 rounds. Regulate gun shows.
13. Push for greater restrictions on exotic animal ownership. No private citizen should own a Bengal tiger or any other endangered species.
14. Restrict tax exemptions for religious institutions. If they are charitable, make tax-exempt status contingent on how they aid all Americans, not just their own members.
15. Begin a significant reduction on military spending that does not include slashing troop numbers or benefits. The greatest strength of the US Armed Forces is not the high-tech toys - it is our people in uniform. Emphasize the dual role of military personnel as defenders of the country and first responders for natural disasters. End the war in Afghanistan ASAP.
16. Allow all citizens 18 and older to vote, even convicted felons.
17. End the war on drugs.
18. Begin phasing out private prisons.
19. Keep up the good work concerning LGBT rights.