Democracy in Action

by Andrew Osborne

For all my bitching about politics (sometimes against the Democrats, mostly against the Republicans), it’s nevertheless downright inspiring to see the actual ground troops of democracy in action.

Specifically, my mother opened her house to about 30 volunteers in one of the most conservative towns in MA over the weekend, and former Governor (and presidential nominee) Mike Dukakis actually showed up to give them a pep talk in the driveway before the group went door-to-door canvassing to (hopefully) help Elizabeth Warren defeat Scott Brown for Senate in November. The Duke apologized for not running a better campaign against Bush, Sr. back in 1988 (since maybe then George W. never would have been elected taken office and we wouldn’t be in the mess we are today). He felt his biggest mistake was sticking to the high road and not fighting back harder against G.O.P. smears. But he said the key to winning against billionaire bad guys is and always has been sustained, organized, precinct-by-precinct personal contact.

After her her door-to-door visits, my mother said that most of the people she spoke with were friendly and willing to hear what she had to say, though one old white guy snarled, “I’m lifelong G.O.P. — get off my property.”

Now, personally, I know that I’m a hothead, and so encountering people like that would send me into the red zone far too quickly for me to be effective in the field…but I was happy to offer what help I could with set-up and clean-up for the event “in the rear with the gear” (and also to make an online contribution to Warren’s campaign).

I salute the ongoing activism of my parents and their friends (not to mention my home town neighbor Roger Brunelle, who’s actually running for state rep against a “Tea Party” incumbent), and I urge everyone to spend at least a day volunteering on some aspect of a campaign. Win or lose, it reminds you of the actual hard work required by those (of all political persuasions) who really want to change things at the national, state and/or local level…and, win or lose, volunteering (however briefly) made me feel just a little less helpless in Election Year 2012.

Oh, and while we’re on the subject, here’s a few reasons why you should vote for ELIZABETH WARREN and not Scott Brown:

TAXES

Taxes, for those who’ve forgotten, pay for things like roads, bridges, police, skilled workers and tons of other things that citizens and businesses need in a strong nation.  Freedom isn’t free.

* ELIZABETH WARREN believes that we should ensure millionaires pay their fair share.  She favors a plan to restore the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans that we had during the Clinton years (since those taxes clearly didn’t stop the economy from booming in the nineties, nor did the tax cuts for millionaires prevent the economy from going off a cliff under George W. Bush).  Warren also supports ending special tax breaks for hedge fund managers.

* Brown supports giving tax breaks to millionaires, and voted to block the Buffett Rule, which would have required the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share in taxes.

WALL STREET

* At the Consumer Protection Financial Protection Bureau, ELIZABETH WARREN worked to hold big banks and other financial institutions accountable, to level the playing field for consumers on mortgages, credit cards, bank fees and student loans.

* Brown works to protect Wall Street.  When Congress worked to rein in Wall Street, Brown was personally negotiating to weaken the rules and give the big banks a $19 billion break.

JOBS

* ELIZABETH WARREN supports rebuilding roads, bridges, mass transit and rail in MA and protecting the jobs of the state’s teachers, firefighters and police officers.  She also supports streamlining regulations so small-business owners don’t get tied up in red tape or strangled by hidden tricks and traps.

* Brown voted against jobs for cops, firefighters and teachers to protect millionaires.  Last fall, with almost a quarter of a million people out of work here in MA, he also voted against three jobs bills.

Etc., etc.  If you’ve been paying attention, you already know the G.O.P. is not your friend (unless you’re a straight, white multi-millionaire who agrees with them on everything they say).

And if you haven’t been paying attention, now would be a good time to start.

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1 Response to “Democracy in Action”


  1. 1 John J August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Excellent stuff. I have a soft spot for Dukakis; I suspect he was fundamentally too decent and not ruthless enough to win at presidential politics, but that’s an indictment of the U.S., not of Dukakis.


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