Wednesday :: Feb 1, 2006

The Real State Of The Union

by pessimist

As several readers pointed out in previous SOTU threads, there were other and better assessments of where America stands today. I offer several excerpts on the flip side that I found pertinent - and one that I found most telling.

John Edwards on the State of the Union

America risks losing our position as a global leader and our reputation for being the land of opportunity if we continue on the course that President Bush has set for us.

America is losing the most important element of our national character: We are no longer the land of opportunity for all. [H]ard work does not guarantee a decent standard of living, and our children do not believe they can achieve the successes of their parents.

[T]he Census Bureau reported that more than 37 million Americans live in poverty; 13 million of them children.
Our work here on earth is clear. My friend, Rev. Jim Wallis, has said that the Bible talks about fighting poverty more than 3,000 times. Three thousand times. When history judges us, as a nation and as individuals, it will ask: What did we do to end poverty?

How we answer this call will forever define us as a nation—showing the world how America leads or how we fail to live up to our most cherished values.

Dennis J. Kucinich

Our economy is struggling and leaving tens of millions of Americans behind.

Today, almost 6 million more Americans do not have any health insurance than when President Bush took office. In total, over 45.5 million Americans, or over 15% of our total population, have no health care coverage at all. According to the non-partisan National Journal, since President Bush first stood before Congress and the nation in 2001, the median income in this country has decreased, the jobless rate has jumped from 3.9% to 4.9% and the number of families living in poverty has increased from 8.7% to 10.2% Our trade deficit has doubled. Inflation has gone up. Personal bankruptcies have gone up. Consumer debt has gone up. College tuition has gone up. And, the price of gas has gone up.

All the while, this Administration has turned a $128 billion federal budget surplus into a $319 billion deficit.

Antonio Villaraigosa, Mayor of the City of Los Angeles

I'm concerned about the direction our country is headed in. I'm worried that too many hardworking Americans are earning less and losing faith. Under this administration, 4 million people have fallen from the working class into the ranks of the poor.

My mother, Natalia - a woman of indomitable spirit, a single mother who raised four kids in East Los Angeles who rode the bus nearly every day of her life, who worked two jobs just to put me and my siblings through college - she taught us all the things worth knowing in her quiet way and in her infinite grace. She taught us about working hard, [and] about the
obligation we all have to create a better life for our kids.

Next month, because of the reckless policies of this administration, America’s national debt will rise to nearly $8.2 trillion dollars. [W]e are mortgaging our children's futures, and it is morally wrong. Six million children are on the verge of failing out of school; and eleven million Americans can't read a bus schedule or fill out a job application. It is time to put the issue of fixing our public schools to the front and center of the national debate.

Fine words from all the above, but these politicians are too close to the forest to see the trees. Bernard Weiner has the best take on The Real State of the Union:

[O]ur current voting system is a corrupted mess.

It outsources ballot-counting to private corporations with secret software easily open to manipulation from the companies that own the e-voting machines and vote-counting computers, or to hacking from without. Those corporations are Republican-supporters at present, and key recent elections probably were fiddled with, according to scholars and other experts who have examined the shoddy system.

If we can't overhaul the current manner of voting and ballot-counting, taking corruption and partisanship out of it, it won't matter how clean and transparent and dynamic our refurbished party is. We'll still continue to 'lose' even when we win.

As Lily Tomlin's free-speaking Edith Ann character puts it "And that's the Truthhhhhhhhhhhh!" That IS the State of the Union. We ARE losing each time Bu$hco wins. Until people care about repairing the broken electoral system, nothing is going to change. No high-toned appeal to improving the lot of the typical American can make any progress if the people can't electorally express their will in an honest and reliable manner.

That isn't the Bu$hCo way!

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