Day: July 4, 2010

The True Meaning Of July 4th!

Today marks the 234th Anniversary of The Declaration of Independence by the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia!

It is a day to celebrate the greatest political experiment in freedom, democracy, liberty, and opportunity in human history!

It is a day to commemorate the significance of the Founding Fathers, who this nation was blessed with, a group of talented and committed men who sacrificed their safety and security to bring about a nation committed to principles not celebrated elsewhere in human history before their time, and rarely practiced fully, if at all, in most nations since their time!

This nation has gone through many crises and emergency situations, but we have always met the challenges that we have been faced with!

This is a time, in the minds of many Americans, of gloom and doom, as we deal with a terrible economic crisis, two foreign wars, and an assault on our shores by a massive, disastrous oil spill out of control!

But this is not the time to promote hate, division, mistrust, and insecurity, all of which many right wing groups see as an opportunity to advance their narrow based agendas!

This is the time to celebrate the diversity of America, and honor the contributions, past and present, of immigrants from all over the world, who have been and will continue to be part of the story of the miracle that America has been!

America is a beacon of hope, and no nay saying can be allowed to divide us, as we progress into a future, despite skepticism, with as much potential for success and happiness as our past has brought us!

We must admit our past shortcomings, while working to advance the welfare of over 300 million Americans on this Independence Day!

Progressive forces have brought us to this anniversary, and progressive forces will continue to advance our commitment to excellence and equal opportunity! A positive outlook and optimism toward the future will promote the continued greatness of the American democratic experiment!

The Tea Party Movement: Back To The Past!

The Tea Party Movement has drawn a lot of attention in the past year and a half, since its inception in the spring of 2009, shortly after Barack Obama became President of the United States!

Political observers have tried to figure out the “nuts and bolts” of this movement, which is clearly seen now as an attempt at nostalgia, to bring back the past, and reject much of what has happened in the past 80 years of American history!

The Tea Party Movement worships the Second and Tenth Amendments, and despises the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Amendments! They promote gun rights and states rights, and hate the income tax and direct election of US Senators!

The Tea Party Movement rejects the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, including Social Security, minimum wages, labor unions, deficit spending, government bureaucracy and growth in Presidential authority!

The Tea Party Movement repudiates the Great Society of Lyndon B. Johnson, including Medicare, Medicaid, immigration reform, Affirmative Action and civil rights enforcement, and further growth in government bureaucracy, and even more Presidential authority!

The Tea Party Movement resents big national government and the rapid changes in the makeup of the American people, brought about by immigration, and the growing birth rate among minority groups, which is moving America toward a nation which will be majority minority by the middle of the 21st century!

In many ways, the Tea Party Movement wants back the 1950s, the so called “Good Old Days”, when society seemed more stable, and we were unchallenged as a world power, and white Christians were the dominant group in America, as they had always been, but no longer will be in the next two generations!

The problem is that nostalgia is nostalgia! It is not the future of America, and the Tea Party Movement offers no prospect of facing the future, as it is mired in a “romantic past” which cannot be revived, and was never as ideal as they perceive!

Barack Obama Needs To Act Like Ronald Reagan In 1982! Huh?

In 1982, the United States was in the depths of the greatest recession since the Great Depression, but President Ronald Reagan, facing a midterm election, refused to give in on his economic program!

In 2010, the United States is in The Great Recession, the worst since the Great Depression, although the unemployment rate has never reached the 10.8 percent it reached in 1982, and President Barack Obama faces a midterm election, which if one goes by history, the party in the White House will lose seats, as it did in 1982!

What President Obama needs to do, however, is to act like Ronald Reagan! That leads one to say “Huh?”, but what is meant here is that Obama needs to “stick to his guns”, and continue to fight for economic stimulus and keep his economic plans alive, just as Reagan did 28 years ago!

The Republicans suffered in 1982, but the economy turned around and Reagan won an easy reelection in 1984! The Democrats will lose seats in 2010, but the odds for an Obama reelection victory at this point are good, and Obama needs to avoid caving in to conservative and GOP opposition and fight for his principles!

Elena Kagan’s Inheritance: Louis Brandeis, William O. Douglas, And John Paul Stevens!

Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan went through two full days of questioning by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week, and most observers would say she fared well in her performance!

The members of the committee, and the American people, wanted to know how she thought about constitutional issues, and of course, were disappointed that she refused to tip her hand, just the same as other Supreme Court nominees who did not wish to be tied down to any specific commitments on future issues and cases!

But her background gives hope that she will follow in the tradition of the Justices who held the seat she will gain after confirmation: Louis Brandeis (1916-1939), William O. Douglas (1939-1975), and John Paul Stevens (1975-2010)!

What a distinguished group of Justices these three men were, enough to humble anyone! 🙂 All three are among the very best who have ever served on the Supreme Court. The first two would rank among the top ten of all time, and Stevens would rank in the 25 of all time!

No seat has only had three Justices in the past almost one hundred years, with Douglas being the longest serving Justice in history, and Stevens being third longest serving, only three days fewer than Justice Stephen Field, who served from 1863-1897!

So Kagan has a responsibility to keep this history in mind, as she inherits the seat of these great men, and carries on the progressive tradition they represented, into the future of constitutional law!

Senator Al Franken Of Minnesota: A Freshman Senator Making Good Impression!

Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, who had to face a battle for more than six months to be seated, after the hotly contested battle with Senator Norm Coleman dragged on after the 2008 election, has become an impressive, serious minded legislator in the year since he took the oath of office!

Famous, or infamous, for being a comedian, and constantly under attack by conservatives because of his strongly liberal views which annoyed the Right Wing during his show business career, Franken has been a very principled, thoughtful, and insightful legislator!

Although he can still tell a joke with finesse and lighten up a room with his humor, Franken has worked very hard to show he is no longer a comedian, but a person who has deep thoughts and ideas, particularly in regards to the Supreme Court!

He might be the last person to speak at Senate Judiciary Committee hearings, but he has asked significant questions of Supreme Court nominees Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan!

He has also led the attack on the Roberts Supreme Court for its Citizens United decision in January, giving corporations total freedom to get involved in political campaigns without any kinds of limits!

Franken has proved to be a progressive in the best tradition–there for the American people, and calling for regulation and oversight of big business in the public interest!

On the first anniversary of his becoming a Senator, Al Franken deserves a salute for his fine performance! 🙂