Oct 07 2007
Dear Next-President Clinton & Other Democratic Nominees:
I have a dream. It’s not an eloquent dream that will rock the nation’s collective conscience. It’s just a simple dream being written from a small apartment in the Midwest, by an average working woman who has carried a promise in her heart for over four decades.
The promise of the American Dream. Where we live in a land of boundless opportunity, and where anyone from any background can succeed with effort and ingenuity. Where it really is about the content of one’s character — their intelligence, talent and drive — and not about color, class, creed, religion, sex, or other push button elements of discrimination.
It didn’t always quite work out that way for me, or countless thousands of others, but I never subscribed to the “life isn’t fair” philosophy as a blanket excuse. As a fact, life isn’t fair. As a goal, as a hope for future generations, we shouldn’t quit trying to make it as fair as possible.
In my dream, the Democratic party will win a resounding victory in the next election. They will refuse to be sidetracked or taken off course by Rove-style created scandals, or the right’s smash-and-dent tactics of character assassination, which are meant only to delude the American public and throw the Democratic party off-message and off-balance.
I have a dream that Democrats will stay focused. Not just eye-on-the-prize focused, but focused as if there are millions of lives depending on the outcome of this election – because there are. The American death toll in Iraq is over 3800. The lowest estimate of Iraqi deaths is over 70,000. Over 46.6 million Americans are without health insurance, and 8.3 million of them are children. (Incidentally, I am one of the uninsured, and my day job is with the U.S. government).
36.5 million Americans are living in poverty, and almost 9.4 million of those are senior citizens. The median price of owning a home in the U.S. rose over 38% from January 2000 to August 2007, when the average reported home price was $225,700. In larger cities, the picture is even bleaker. In Northern Monterey California, the average home in 2005 cost $712,000 while the average income was $48,000. The middle and lower classes are effectively being priced out of the housing market in major cities across America.
I have a dream that Democrats will be the architects of a new, brighter, and wiser America, reigniting the hopes and optimism of its citizens, young and old. An America that does not create wars, but promotes peace. A country that serves as global leader not because it has the most weapons but because it will be, as it once was, a role model for dignity, freedom and democracy.
I have a dream that the average American citizen will not be thrown into poverty or financial crisis by a health issue. No one in America should have to choose between necessary medical care and bread. I don’t know if universal health care is the answer, but we need to discuss it and we need to find some answers. It’s ironic that when I entered the full-time job market in 1978, at sixteen years old, there were more benefits available to workers, at more affordable rates, than there are now, almost 30 years later. That is not progress, but regression. How Republicans can shell out $600B on an offensive war while saying health coverage for all Americans is cost-prohibitive is beyond me, and I don’t stand alone. Beside me stand not only the 46.6 million uninsured, but the countless under-insured, and all those who believe that America has a stake in keeping its citizens healthy.
I have a dream that we can regain our stature in the world and repair our reputation abroad.
We cannot erase the picture of naked men being humiliated and beaten at Abu Ghraib. We cannot undo our breaking of Geneva Convention promises. We cannot turn an unjust war into positive propaganda. No country, but especially one in the leadership role of the U.S., should resort to the humiliation and torture of others, even in times of war. Abu Ghraib was a disgrace to America, a hypocritical slap in the face to the rights and dignity of humanity we promote around the globe.
We can, and must, stand up and take responsibility. For the sake of future generations, we should say never again, and mean it, and we should do whatever needs to be done to ensure that future administrations are not able to abuse the power and authority given to them by the office of President.
I have a dream that the focus of this election will not wander into the appeasement of the various and far-apart agendas of special interests. That, instead, our party will stay on point, stay on message, and trust that the centrist backing necessary to win this election will follow.
I have a dream that the Fairness Doctrine will be reinstated. We have now seen what conglomerate corporate media interests will promote when they are allowed to rule the airwaves. It is disingenuous to say, as opponents of the Doctrine have, that programming is based solely on market demand. Market demand does not stem from any inherent desire in human nature to be sold on this or that product, person, or philosophy. Market demand is, instead, a creation of the media. One bar of soap sells more not because it’s superior, but because it’s promoted. A celebrity is created not only on the basis of talent, but by repeated exposure. Political and social philosophies – the awareness, information, and opinions Americans receive from news sources – should be balanced. Our understanding of relevant issues should not be tainted or swayed by corporate agendas, and should be watched over and considered more important than a bar of soap.
I have a dream that the Patriot Act will be repealed or revised so that it does not attack the civil liberties guaranteed to American citizens. War should not be an excuse to trample over the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.
I have a dream that on November 4, 2008 America will vote for its first female President, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and that Democrats will make up a majority of the House and Senate. In this dream, we do not backpedal and we do not compromise our vision of America as a leader in peace, opportunity, production, and the betterment of humanity. We roll up our sleeves, clean up the mess, and move forward with strength, dignity, and a revitalized sense of commitment.
We become contributors to and beneficiaries of an inclusive, encompassing, compassionate, and once-again believable American Dream.
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