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Should I Stay or Should I Go?
By David Michael Rothschild May 21, 2003

Over the last few weeks, I have come to believe that the 2004 election is one of the most important elections in our history, not necessarily because of the potential for great good by our nominee (although that is important), but because of the guarantee of great harm by an out-of-control government that will become even more dangerous backed by the legitimacy of an election victory.

There are a litany of ways, big and small, that George has traded the good of the country for short-term economic gain. His government has assaulted government regulations against industry like no previous administration has either dared to - or would even want to - since Teddy Roosevelt spearheaded government oversight of business and the environment. While rich businessmen have been given the green-light to continue deceiving and stealing from their shareholders (Enron), their workers (American Airlines), and the citizens (Halliburton), other rich businessmen have been doing real well destroying priceless natural resources for their short term economic gain.

Following current trends, after eight years of Republican control, tens of millions fewer Americans will have healthcare than the day the government began. That does not even delve into the declining breadth of coverage for those who retain healthcare. Their poorly constructed education plan remains an unfunded mandate (do I need to say more?)

Yet, three other assaults on the American Dream harden my resolve for change even more.

First, there is the government's reckless pursuit of upper-class tax cuts, in the face of overwhelming condemnation by economists and skepticism by the American people. This policy threatens the solvency of the American government (as well as condemning the less fortunate 99% of American citizens). How large a debt can this country carry? 10 trillion dollars? 100 trillion dollars? Every year we contribute a higher and higher percentage of our budget to paying off interest on the debt, the dollar is falling next the Euro, and we are reaching the point of no return in regard to controlling the debt's growth.

Furthermore, we are returning to "Voodoo Economics," the same policy that in the 1980s opened larger and larger economic gaps between rich and poor. How is Dick Cheney's $350,000 tax cut going put food on the plates of an unemployed families in Arkansas or give a booster shot to an uninsured baby in Washington? I know the theory, but it makes it seem all the more ridiculous when you think of it in personal terms. How are we going to keep the after school programs running, the libraries open, and the emergency rooms fully staffed?

Second, John Ashcroft has redefined the boundaries of how the federal government can intrude into the private lives of Americans. I will not bother to expand upon the countless hypocrisies in the way that the federal government takes the time to arrest medicinal marijuana users in California but allows the states to "deal" with less pressing issues of civil rights. Along with the attacks on abortion rights and the federally funded building of churches, they are all connected to George Bush's new outlook on controlling the morality of America. I could write a book on the issue, but I will sum it up with the book's title I am Scared the Government Will Bug My Phone and Spy on Me, Because I am Writing About All of the Harm It is Doing to My Country.

Finally, our foreign policy can best be described as one big photo-op designed to make the President look good at the expense of our safety and security. (I cannot wait to see the television ad of W's tailhook landing; some things money cannot buy, other things are bought and paid for by the American public.) We need to send in the Peace Corps and humanitarian aid - void of puritanical stipulations about healthcare - not the Calvary. If we continue to disregard how our actions have pissed of the rest of the world, it is only a matter of time before we are hit again. We need to concentrate on the War on Terror by eliminating the leaders and their grievances. Until the grievances disappear, they will continue to generate two new terrorists for every one we kill.

On Election Day 2004 the white folks in suburban St. Louis will wait five minutes to use a fancy voting machine while the black folks in East St. Louis may wait up to 3-4 hours to have a chance at voting using an oft-broken old voting machine. The country that demands and expects (although does not nurture, read Afghanistan) democracy will once again make a mockery of it. If you are looking for a simple reason to doubt the sincerity of the current regime, be "shocked and awed" that they have failed to replace the faulty voting mechanism that allowed them to come to power!

I have faith that we can restore legitimacy to our government and our country, and that is why this election is so important. That is why I decided, late last week, not to leave the country and join the Peace Corps. I needed to be here to march in the streets, to speak in the papers, and to do everything I can to take back my country's institutions, its laws, and its humanity. Get angry, volunteer, talk to your friends, register, and register your neighbors. This election will affect the country for the rest of your life.

David Rothschild can be reached at David@DemStore.com

Copyright © 2003 by David Michael Rothschild

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