Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Goldwater is a Liberal in Today's America

On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God's name on one's behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom. They are trying to force government leaders into following their position 100 percent. If you disagree with these religious groups on a particular moral issue, they complain, they threaten you with a loss of money or votes or both. I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in "A," "B," "C" and "D." Just who do they think they are? And from where do they presume to claim the right to dictate their moral beliefs to me? And I am even more angry as a legislator who must endure the threats of every religious group who thinks it has some God-granted right to control my vote on every roll call in the Senate. I am warning them today: I will fight them every step of the way if they try to dictate their moral convictions to all Americans in the name of conservatism.”

When you can use a quote by Barry Goldwater as a voice of sanity and moderation, it demonstrates rather dramatically just how far to the right our country has swung. For those too young to remember, Barry Goldwater was considered a right wing extremist in the 1960s, today he would be left of Obama on many issues.
The doomsayers on the right keep telling us as a country we should do less, to aim lower, to shrink government, to invest less in the future, to spend less on education and to privatize everything from prisons to medicare. For the last 30 years the right, both Democratic and Republican, has won nearly every argument from denying climate change to achieving the lowest taxes on the rich. The right has gotten nearly everything they want at every turn and look at what a mess they have made of our country. That is what aiming lower gets you.
So here is an idea, we have tried it their way for the last 30 years and it clearly doesn't work, so let's try something different and progressive for a change. Let's aim higher. Let's try investing more in our future, more in education, more in science, more in single payer health care (medicare for all), let's extend full human rights to all people and invest more in the kind of infrastructure that will make our country a technological world leader again and pay for it by returning tax rates on the rich to the levels they were in the 1950s, 60s and 70s; you know, when we were prosperous. When the country was run by such wild eyed liberals as Republican Richard Nixon who created the EPA, OSHA, increased NASA and supported a woman’s right to choose her own reproductive options. 

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