The giddiness will pass; while I’ve been feeling like it’s 1992 all over again, there are some hard realities that must be faced now by our newly-minted opposition congress. The question is whether they’re up to it or not.
We’ve got six years of concentrated evil to overcome, savage beatings to our nation perpetrated by selfish, greedy, short-sighted traitors … and a little under two years in which to do it. The worst thing the Democrats can do right now is try to win a popularity contest. That’s what the Republicans were attempting, and reality (as it always does) caught up to them.
I’m not a Democrat or a Republican; I’m unaffiliated. I can see the merits of both parties’ core ideals (untouched by demagoguery or religiosity), which I hope lets me offer some advice to the Dems that will be sure to make them loathed, at least initially, by a vocal and spoiled minority.
I’d suggest they ride out the criticism and do what’s necessary.
The list is very short, and it is consistent in that it adheres to Republicans’ anathema: Reality.
1. We must commit more fully to Iraq.
We can’t withdraw precipitously. Eric Shinseki, way the hell back in 2002, predicted that in order for the US to be an occupying force for peacekeeping in Iraq we’d have to commit a massive number of troops — about 10 times the number necessary to invade. For his honesty, he was forced out. (By Donald Rumsfeld, who is reaping the whirlwind now.)
The problem is simply that Shinseki was right. We do need to commit, heavily, to enforce peace in Iraq. Unfortunately, we don’t have the assets at this point. This means either reinstating a draft; or buddying up to nations we have been ignoring and asking them to help us, via the UN.
The former option isn’t. We can’t start up a draft. No one can. It’s just not an acceptable alternative. Conscripting our boys and girls to enjoin an elective war is the height of national hypocrisy.
This means swallowing our Texas cowboy-sized pride and asking the United Nations for help. It means putting on our big-boy pants and behaving as adults for a while.
I know how unlikely that seems as well, but it’s preferable to the alternative.
The third option — abandoning Iraq — is inhuman. We put them where they are. We owe it to them to clean it up. That’s how grown-ups behave in the real world.
2. We must raise taxes.
The nation that was handed to Bush in 2000 had a projected surplus; in half a decade that has become a crushing debt, mostly by Bush sucking his cronies off with money.
That’s simply got to change.
We’re hemorrhaging money, most of it in the name of war upkeep costs. Dems may be tarred as “tax and spend” — but the Repubs are basically borrow and spend. Which is the more sensible approach? Which is the more sustainable approach?
Reality must be recognized. Until it is, our national downward spiral will continue until it bottoms out on its own. That would be catastrophic.
We literally cannot afford to continue the spendthriftery. And ironically it will be the Democrats who have to force fiscal responsiblity on the Republicans.
3. We must impeach Bush.
While this might look unwise — the way the Repubs dogged Clinton for years did result in a backlash — the fact is almost certain that Bush and his cadre have engaged in illegal activity. (Unlike Clinton, who was not breaking laws on a more or less daily basis.)
It would not be political suicide for the Dems to expose and prosecute crimes committed by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfield or Rice; it is their duty as Americans. And when the American people are shown how badly they have been duped by Bush, most of them will demand prosecution.
Impeachment in this case is not a revenge tactic. It’s simple cause and effect, another manifestation of reality. Commit a crime, get punished.
To this add sundry nuances such as better social support and protections; improved care for seniors and war veterans; better education and the usual lot of things that, for some reason, the Republicans never seem to care about but that always score high on most people’s compassion meters, and you have a genuine recipe for turning the nation around.
Let it be business as usual, though … and that’s precisely what we’ll have.
Until reality destroys us.
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