Foreign aid is always the easy target for people who talk about cutting the Federal budget. American voters never seem to want cuts to any domestic program. And of course, one must always point out that this only accounts for the barest of an iota of a fraction of a percentage of our fiscal situation.
However, it can be instructive to consider such aid in the context of what it is used for and how it could be used back home.
Yes, this is true:
The massacre in Tucson is, in a sense, irrelevant to the important point. Whatever drove Jared Lee Loughner, America's political frequencies are full of violent static.
But the point is larger than that:
As Krugman says, "there is a case for the tax cut deal, as the best of a very bad situation."
I understand that a lot of people are pissed about breaks for the wealthy, as well as the smoke-filled room way of cutting the deal, and the administration's pattern of failing to fight for what's right, then lashing out at us--I'm right there with ya. I understand Obama's frustration, too, as he has accomplished some good things but seems unable to sell them.
Perhaps all of us should consider our own roles in the problem and how we can best regroup to be more effective going forward.
I have always been an Independent for myriad reasons. As a voter and an activist, I could afford to be, and even as a candidate it offered a great deal of freedom to reach out to people across the political spectrum. During the campaign I had success--admittedly to varying degree--with Republicans, Libertarians, Progressives, Democrats and Independents, and I was very happy with how well we performed without any party support.
That said, of course I would have enjoyed greater success at the ballot box if I'd had a different label next to my name. There's an inherent premium just having a party affiliation which is completely understandable. As humans we are wired to make quick decisions based on categories as part of our survival skills--not rational, but completely natural.
So I have to consider the overall political climate as I shift gears in how I'm trying to effect change.
Twenty-four years ago tomorrow the four-day nonviolent People Power Revolution began in the Philippines. I find it a curious historical coincidence that Thursday--the day Obama is holding his "bipartisan" HCR summit--marks the anniversary of the people's victory over the dictator Marcos.
I tend to focus on direct action over electoral politics, but of course one way to effect change is through the normal process of campaigning and voting. The problem in our two-party system is that the Democrats can generally count on progressive voters, if only through the fear that voting for an alternative candidate will aid the GOP.
However, we cannot be afraid to press our points and even exercise some political muscle.
Jeannette Rankin is a hero of Ericka's and mine, and a major inspiration ("mascot" seems wrong) for Green Mountain Code Pink. The first female Member of Congress, a leader in the suffrage movement, she became a devotee of MLK in the Civil Rights/Vietname War era. In January of 1968 she led 5000 women in the Rankin Brigade to confront Congress and famously said, "If we had 10,000 mothers willing to go to prison, we could end this war."
I wonder what it would be like if we formed a new Health Brigade to fight for single-payer. Perhaps the Brigade could kick things off with a day of action after some low-level electronic lobbying leading up to Obama's HCR summit.
Representative Michelle Bachmann says President Barack Obama's "bipartisan" health summit on Feb 25th is an assault on our intelligence. I can't disagree with her assessment--she's nuttier than a Skippy manufacturing plant, but a blind squirrel, etc.
I hear tell there's some sort of athletic contest being held today.
Hey, I like football. I like sports in general. But last year our nascent family (more on that in a postscript) started a new tradition and quit the Super Bowl.
As this long-lived protest marks its second year today, I thought I'd revisit the Method it's an example of even though I'm sure blog traffic will be down as everybody's watching the game and ads so nobody will read this post.
In light of last Sunday's post about the strike as a force for social and policy change, I'd been meaning to discuss what's been happening in Greece recently. Deutsche Welle:
Greek tax collectors and customs officials went on strike on Thursday, beginning a spate of anticipated strikes in the country to protest at government budget plans.