As I sit here the day after Independence Day, I ask myself, are we really that Independent? I am conflicted because on one hand I love this country and on the other hand I am so frustrated by the direction that America is going that I must speak out at the injustices going on everyday. This piece actually started out as a comedy bit between my friends and I as we were venting over Congressman Anthony Weiner resigning.

“In my America you can tweet pictures of your junk without consequences as long as you are doing your job”
I was and still am upset that the media blew this so out of proportion, and combined with the hypocrisy of his fellow politicians throwing him under the bus, almost made my head explode. Not that I am defending his actions, I just think it’s none of my business what he does on his twitter account, his wife should be pissed not me. It is just appalling to me that the US Congress basically shut down to deal with this crap. The unemployment rate is around 10% nationally (in the Bronx it is much higher), the Republicans want to cut Medicare and Medicaid while giving tax credits to billionaires just to name a few, but NO let’s worry about Weiner’s wiener.

“In my America, there will be no apathy”
I’m not sure what it is about politics in this country that people can continually vote for the people who have the least interest in them. I seriously believe that there are elected officials in this country who wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire, and they get re-elected every time. Has America become stupid? Have we become so disenchanted that we have given up? I’m not even talking about Republicans and Democrats yet, I’ll get to them later. How embarrassing must it be for us to vote 300 million times for the American Idol contestant and yet every two years we are lucky to get a 30% voter turnout. Yes we did have an amazing turnout in 2008, but that was because of the historic nature of the election. Not to mention the fact that they spent over $1B just on the Presidential candidates. So that seems to be the going rate now, $1B to become President, $500M to become Senator and about $250M to be elected to the House of Representatives. Where does all of that money come from? Well lets just say it would be more fitting for the candidates to wear jumpsuits adorned with the logos of their corporate sponsors like NASCAR drivers. When we see commercials from big corporations like GE, Halliburton, Exxon, BP any of the pharmaceutical or insurance companies there should be a voice over at the end that says something like “insert any big corporation here, is a proud sponsor of the 2012 elections. Seriously how much more blatant could they get?
“In my America, the budget will not be balanced off the backs of the working class and those who are the most vulnerable”
I may be a Socialist villain bent on redistributing the wealth in America (would that be so bad?), but I think it is criminal that the richest 1% control 90% of the wealth in this country and still have their hand out looking for their next tax break. The top 400 families in America have 6900 times the wealth of the average American family, that’s not a typo it is 6900. Last year 25 “hedge Fund Managers” made $22B and only paid about 15% of that in taxes, that is about half the rate that teachers, firefighters, police officers, construction workers and just about every other working American pays. If they were to pay the same rate as those other working people we would have had an additional $4.4B ($44B over 10 years)in revenue and not needed to talk about cutting Medicare. The USA spends more money on defense than most of the other world powers combined and it’s not going to our soldiers, that’s for damn sure. Back in the day President Eisenhower (a Republican), warned of the Military Industrial Complex but I don’t think in his wildest dreams it would ever have been this bad. All of our elected officials keep saying “There must be a shared sacrifice” if we are going to reduce the debt, but why do I feel that the poor (of which I am one) and middle class in this country are like the “Virgin” being thrown in the volcano? When these corporate sell outs say “Shared Sacrifice” they mean fight it out among yourselves, because I’m not seeing a lot of “Sacrifice” from the people who can most afford it.
“In my America, entitlements will include Corporate Welfare and Tax Loopholes”
They keep telling us that the biggest drain on the American economy is all of the “entitlements”, maybe it’s just me but if you have a corporation that gets $25M in government contracts (cough GE cough) to help get the economy back on track and then fire 18,000 American workers and move those jobs overseas, the elected officials in their pockets must declare that those and all other types of Corporate Welfare are entitlements. I am amazed that Social Security is considered an “entitlement”, when we pay into it our entire working life. It is going to be a battle to keep it from being privatized and after what happened to our economy over the past few years, I’m not in any rush to give away my Social Security to crooked Wall Street executives any time soon. These same corporations pay no taxes and are defended by their minions in Washington by saying that by relieving them of their tax burden they will create more jobs. Unfortunately the jobs that are being created are in China, Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines where workers are exploited and there aren’t any safe working conditions. They whine that they have to do this because it is a global economy, it’s funny how they can support some things that are called global except for the real things like Global Warming (Climate Change).

“In my America,  there will no longer be NAFTA”
The North American Free Trade Agreement was the biggest job killer this country has seen since the Great Depression and yes that was enacted under a Democratic President. Once NAFTA went into effect the US started hemorrhaging  jobs. Despite all the hype about what a great agreement this was, we should have made sure it was a “Fair” trade agreement instead of “Free” trade. While you may believe that “Free” was a good thing it actually turned out to be that to American companies were “free” to move their factories to a country where basic human rights did not exist, not to mention what impact it had on the environment. Basically the companies were “free” of all those pesky regulations that have ruined America.

“In my America, we will worry more about a jobs deficit than a budget deficit“… 
If you’ve turned on the news in the past few months all you hear is talk of the deficit and how we need to raise the debt ceiling in order to stave off an entire Global economic meltdown. I agree completely that we have to be concerned about our debt and how we are making future generations pay for it, but I don’t want to hear any more rhetoric about cutting spending (as in funding) things like Social Security, Education, Medicare/Medicaid and NPR and the like, as if cutting the funding for NPR & Planned Parenthood will make up for 30 years of tax credits for the rich, deregulation of the banking industry and all will be right with the world. Give me a break, I’m not an economist by any means but even I know that if we were serious about paying off our debt, we would invest money to create more jobs. People that work pay taxes, hence creating more revenue and guess what? When unemployment drops back to about 4 or 5% our deficit will start to vanish. I have been clamoring for years how the federal government should start building schools the same way it built the nations highways back in the 50’s. Just imagine for a second how many people could be back at work building new schools, and the financial burden that would take off the States and Cities across the country so they could use the money they are currently using to build and repair schools to invest in actual education. For the most part in this country we aren’t even preparing our kids for a 20th Century economy, let alone a 21st Century.

“In my America, we will govern out of love and compassion rather than greed and hate”
Imagine an America where people who got sick didn’t lose everything they worked for their entire life just to survive. Imagine an America where people were put ahead of profits. Imagine an America where we put aside our differences in race, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation and embraced the things we have in common, because when you think about it we have more in common than we do not. Imagine an America where our leaders didn’t use fear to push forward their agenda’s. Imagine an America that stopped invading other countries under the guise of spreading Democracy, they’re spreading something alright but it sure as hell isn’t Democracy.

“In my America, all of these things and more are possible”
I know that these things might seem far fetched or out of reach, but if this is truly the kind of America you want to be part of then please join together and become part of “The New American Revolution”, where we will peacefully take back our country from the greedy, self serving despots who are now making this “The Incorporated States of America”, we don’t have to live like this anymore. Stop and ask yourself as you get ready to go to the voting booths next November, are my self interests being looked after by the people that are currently in office? If not then vote them the hell out of there and elect someone who will put people first. It is amazing to me how every election time the polls all say that America is fed up with Congress and the way Washington works but keep electing the same people to hurt them for another term. In many ways the American voter is like a domestic violence victim staying in the dysfunctional relationship because they fear they can do no better or that it’s their fault. We do not have to be the victims anymore, lets stand together and demand what is right and just. Let’s make the “dream” become the “American Reality” .

Peace, Love and Justice for All