by Bob Bearden
All across the nation in what should be the ‘Age of
Enlightenment’ we are seeing attacks on women’s rights; the right of workers in both the public and private sector to collectively bargain together to improve their lot in life, with higher wages, better benefits and work place safety. We are seeing attacks on public education. Attacks on one’s religion. Homophobia has suddenly become a ‘hot button’ campaign issue.
We have candidates wanting to end affirmative action, restrict segments of our society’s right to vote; scrap child labor laws so children can be put back to work at 8 or 9 years old. We have candidates seeking to end the safety net for millions of our seniors by doing away with social security and Medicare and Medicaid.
In short they want to instead of moving forward into the 21st Century, take us back to a time when a communist red devil was lurking around every corner. Duck and cover was touted as a way to survive a nuclear attack and women, African-Americans and anyone who didn’t look like Ronald Reagan was to be treated as a second class citizen. A time when if you were of dark skin you were limited as to what your career choice was. If you were a woman you were expected to stay home cook gourmet meals and have and raise babies without every aspiring to be all that you could be.
A time when if you were gay you couldn’t tell anyone and if you did you would immediately be ostracized and many times even worse beaten to within an inch of your life. And those were the ‘Good Ole Days’.
We have candidates who want to throw up when they hear John F. Kennedy’s definitive speech on the ‘separation of church and state’. We have candidates who think the poor and disadvantaged don’t count for anything. We have candidates who promote ‘family values’ and yet would put children back to work cleaning schools. We have candidates who would force women who are raped to ‘just grin and bear it’! We have candidates who brag about being ordinary guys while the wife tools around in not one but two Cadillacs.
We have a world seemingly gone mad. Where one candidate attacks our president’s religion as a phony theology and another candidate who questions his citizenship and another candidate who claims if the president is re-elected he will immediately mount an armed attack on the Vatican.
And from all of these pronouncements we can discern what? That these four candidates should be locked up and fitted for straight jackets? That’s one scenario that actually makes more sense to me than some of the crazy things these same candidates have been going around the country saying. At least they would be safe and they couldn’t harm the country, its citizens or themselves.
But, what is even scarier is that there are literally hundreds of thousands of our own fellow citizens out there listening to all of their screeds and saying “Yes Sir! That’s My Baby!” How crazy is that? Too bad we can’t lock all of them up in a padded cell!
It is truly a world gone mad! And all because a few rich old white guys are scared they are losing their masculinity and identities because they are fast becoming not only the minority in this country but also irrelevant! They want their country back and they are willing to spend millions upon millions of dollars to ensure that the only contraception an available to a woman is her knees and an aspirin. They are willing to spend millions upon millions to put gays and lesbians and minorities back in their place and where these old white guys believe women who are raped should be happy and just grin and bear it.
I believe we as a people and we as a nation are better than 5 old guys in black robes (sans pointy hats) and a group of cranky old rich white guys who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing. I believe in we the people not we the Koch Brothers. Not we the Rick Santorum’s. Not we the Mitt Romney’s! I believe we the 99 percent have a better vision of what this country stands for and what we as Americans are about than a bunch of old white guys who know how to hoard, how to be cranky, who know how to tell a woman what she can and can’t do with her body and her health concerns but don’t know a thing about right and wrong.
We the people know that just because a person is gay or just because a person is black or just because a person is Hispanic or just because more than half of our citizens are women, doesn’t mean that they can’t be as good a soldier or teacher or senator or tinker, or tailor or candlestick maker as a bunch old white guys. We the people know that we are a socialist nation founded as Democratic Republic and a grand experiment in social values and the common good.
We the people know that Gandhi and Dr. King and Jesus Christ knew how the world should be and the visions they strived for and taught to the world were more in tune with what is right than any vision the Koch Brothers ever had on their best day.
My friend Vera said it best, “It seems that all those evangelical , Bible thumping, so-called Christian citizens have overlooked the fact that Jesus was what is now called a tree hugging, pacifist, welfare loving, socialist/liberal who believed in the equality and worth of everyone – with which I am happy to say I totally agree!” Amen! —– Bob Bearden