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I'm no longer interested in hearing how a Democratic candidate for office will defend worker rights - I want to hear their plan for expanding them to more people, in more circumstances, in more parts of the country.  I don't want to hear them pledge to defend abortion rights - I want to hear their plan for invading the Bible Belt with more abortion clinics than the GOP's rank-in-file can bomb.  I don't want to hear a promise to stop the bleeding of America's public schools - I want to know exactly how they plan to reinstate every last thing cut from this nation's education system since Ronald Reagan kerplopped on to the scene, and then how they intend to expand beyond that.  

I want a pledge: No new tax cuts for the rich and big corporations.  Not one cent, not ever, not in any form.  And then I want to hear their plan for restoring the tax code to the form it was in at the height of America's prosperity in the 1960s, when top marginal tax rates were upwards of 70%.  Stop soft-selling with Clinton administration rates - let Republicans beg for those rates as an alternative to returning to full fiscal sanity.  

I want candidates running on a "law & order" platform as it pertains to corporate behavior, investing the same demagoguery and tough language in addressing criminal business as generic conservative politicians invest in talking about poor people stealing crumbs, because the truth is that the rich thieves are the ones taking our jobs, destroying our communities, and opening the door to all the lower orders of criminal to swoop in.  

I want to hear a Democratic politician raise the idea of draconian mandatory minimum sentences for white-collar crimes, not because I actually want to further pervert our justice system with sadistic punishments, but to finally achieve some balance in the rhetoric of criminal justice between how ordinary people are treated in politics vs. the rich.

I want someone in office to engage in an objective study of how far we've fallen under backwards right-wing policies since the onset of Ayatollah Reagan's multi-generational jihad against competent governance, across all areas of economics and public policy, and then I want them to study where we would be if we made the right decisions.  Then I want them to come up with a plan for how to get to that point - the place we should already be - as soon as a reasonably mobilized republic could manage.  I don't care how outlandish the numbers involved would sound to ears accustomed to Grover Norquist's nightmare Bizarro politics, I want them spoken seriously and competent efforts made toward achieving them in our public institutions.

I want to hear public officials explain the plan for full implementation of science curriculum in schools across the entire United States, including how to overcome the resistance of communities dominated by ignorant religious fanatics and business interests who want people growing up not knowing certain things.  

I want to know that they have a plan for restoring the public sector to the public that actually owns it - including the broadcast media, correctional institutions, police forces, and the United States military - and wrest control of it back from the pig trough of privatized contractors, unaccountable corporate conglomerates, and lobbyists who now operate as if it were their property.  I want to know that they are committed to funding public institutions with public funds, and not creating a shadow private sector by charging user fees and tuition of people who use services that are supposed to be their right.

And if Republicans predictably find this so threatening that they make defeating this leader a priority, and focus the whole might of their propaganda machine against him or her, then I want other leaders to step up and echo the points they're making.  And if they're defeated, I want another leader to step into their shoes, and another, and another - if not from within the ranks of existing leadership, then from below.

I want people who display Confederate flags to feel unwelcome everywhere they go.  I want people who utter racist language to be met with hard stares and ostracism, even in the deepest swamps of racism in this country.  I want liberals in the reddest of the red states to be fearless and walk a hundred feet tall, and not as part of some implicit I'm-okay-you're-okay truce - but as a declaration of war based on the simple, absolute fact that we're right and they're wrong, and we can prove it.  I want them to walk with a dare on their faces, that only right-wingers can see and no right-winger can mistake: "I dare you to try intimidating me.  I dare you to test my love of this country against your hatred of it."  As aggressively conservative as their environment is, I want them to be that much liberal times three, and walk with the strength and undeniable implicit pride of people confident that they represent truth, justice, and the American way - and not the wingnut pieces of shit surrounding them, who exhibit every psychological and political disease imaginable.  

I want FCC obscenity fines levied against broadcast radio talk show hosts who promote violence and racism, or at very least people with some authority putting pressure on the FCC to do so.  I want broadcast licenses revoked from media conglomerates who use their monopolistic control of media to promote propaganda in direct contravention of US law, or at very least people with some authority putting pressure on the relevant institutions to do so.  I want regular hearings of the relevant bodies on whether to revoke the corporate charters of businesses that fail to uphold the public interest according to their explicit obligations, or at very least some leaders spearheading the call for that kind of oversight.

If you don't want this country to be owned by corporations and bigots, stop acting like it already is and wallowing in some fantasy of rebel-hood.  Every decent, creative, generative spirit in this nation has from day one been activated by a fundamentally liberal and progressive impulse, and you either know that or you don't - and if you don't, then you're always going to be fighting a losing battle even when you're winning.

Originally posted to Troubadour on Sat Apr 07, 2012 at 04:39 PM PDT.

Also republished by The Federation, The Rebel Alliance, and Money and Public Purpose.

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