Thank you for visiting our website

Featuring breaking political news and commentary on local, state, and national issues.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Democrats will Unite for Change

George Wenschhof

Some die hard Democratic supporters of Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton might beg to differ, but this primary campaign has been exciting to voters all across the country. In fact, even voters in U.S. territories are weighing in as to who they believe is the best Democratic candidate for President.

In less than one week, all the states, American Samoa, Virgin Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and "Democrats Abroad" will have voted. It is also likely the vote from Michigan and Florida will be included in some sort of compromise when the Democratic National Committee "rules and bylaws committee" meets on May 31.

In 2000 and 2004 the Democratic Party presidential nominee was known early in the primary process. The results were unfortunate, a questionable loss in 2000 followed by a narrow loss in 2004 resulting in eight years of the Republican George W. Bush administration. After eight years of failed policies under the Bush administration, it is critical for the the country as a whole, for significant change to occur in domestic and foreign policy.

Republicans can no longer talk of fiscal responsibility when the national debt is at an all time high with the majority of this debt secured by foreign investment. The quiet "recession" we are in could easily tip in favor of a depression if more consumers find it difficult or impossible to pay the monthly charges on the record credit card debt that exits today. It is becoming painfully clear that a strategy of lowering interest rates is not helping consumers as gasoline prices exceed $4.00 a gallon.

The current policy of allowing U.S. companies to move overseas without concern for labor or environmental issues has exacerbated the U.S. economic problems and led foreigners to view our country in a less then flattering manner. As many companies have sought out cheap labor and less regulatory constraints overseas U.S. job development and manufacturing has decreased. All of this aimed at allowing firms to make more money by providing goods to Americans at lower prices.

As if the economic policies were not offensive enough, the Bush administration, has also created a adversarial feeling of many around the world toward the U.S. with a foreign policy based on a view that I am right and the rest of you are wrong. A descriptive foreign policy saying attributed to former President Theodore Roosevelt, "speak softly, but carry a big stick", has been replaced with it's opposite, "yell loudly and use the stick". This "cowboy bravado" preemptive style of diplomacy of act first and explain later has been a disaster.

The U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq has done little to aid in stabilizing the volatile Middle East region. Instead, the U.S. action has worsened an already tenuous situation. The terms "Axis of Evil", Al Qaeda, and Terrorist Organizations, used to label some countries or opponents have now replaced the former ominous label of "Communist" used on foes during the cold war period.

While evil and corrupt governments do exist around the world, not everyone who disagrees with the U.S. is a Terrorist or Al Qaeda. We painfully learned this lesson from the cold war years ago when a popular slogan was "better dead than red". Years after a failed U.S. policy ( remember the Domino theory?) in the Viet Nam conflict, the U.S. today has trade relations there and with surrounding communist countries.

A U.S. foreign policy should include promoting human rights along with respect of the sovereignty of another country. The military might of the U.S. is unparalleled and this is well known around the world. As this military strength must be maintained so should diplomatic efforts aimed at peaceful negotiations to conflicts around the world.

A major component of a domestic policy must include a comprehensive energy program that alters dramatically the current way Americans consume energy. As the aging infrastructure in the country is replaced, emphasis should be put on rebuilding what was once a premier train system used to transport people and goods across the country.

Expansion of mass transit should continue but more important is the development of competitive jobs closer to home and increasing telecommuting opportunities offered by employers. Federal government efforts need to be undertaken with the private sector and local government to encourage the implementation of these changes.

Instead of trying to legislate "no child left behind" in our educational system, a comprehensive study needs to be undertaken to review the public educational system that exists in the U.S. today. The review should include the cost of including the first two years of college. A high school diploma is an outdated yardstick and is no longer sufficient in providing opportunities for our youth.

There is no question the current public education system is broken and like the aging infrastructure in the country, in bad need of repair. Older schools in disrepair that offer no hope to students need to be replaced with new schools with solutions.

Rather than play on the fears of Americans and spending astronomical funds in a questionable war in Iraq, let's promote public education and energy conservation as number one priorities of the federal government for all Americans.

With the same level of concentration of expertise and funds that has been focused on the Iraq war, advances in public education and energy conservation could grow in leaps and bounds in this country.

It is also time for the sad old refrain that "we" do not need socialized medicine in the U.S. to be put to rest. What is needed is affordable health care for all. It is outrageous and sad that the U.S. remains the only developed country in the world without some form of national health care.

Democrats recognize a Republican John McCain administration would be four more years of the same failed policies of President George W. Bush. Although, this has been a hard fought Democratic primary with many qualified candidates, Democratic voters across the country will unite to support the nominee. They recognize how important a change in direction and new leadership is to the future of their families.

It is critical, not only for Democrats, but for all Americans, this Presidential election results in a new direction for our country. This massive overhaul in the domestic and foreign policy direction of the U.S. is long overdo and will not be easy.

However, as the presumptive Democratic candidate for President, Barack Obama says, "Yes We Can"!

No comments: