Given the seriousness of the times we live in it should have been a million people in the streets of my city yesterday demanding change.
Why a million marching? Because we're witness to bailouts for banker/criminals but no bailouts for the people who are losing their homes by the thousands a day. Because obscene multi-million dollar bonuses are handed to the very crooks who brought us what might be the new Great Depression but nothing for the almost 700,000 newly-jobless in March.
And while we're at it, here's a sobering statistic: since Reagan inhabited the White House there have been some seven million industrial jobs scrapped. Disappeared. Shipped abroad where super-profits can be made while factories are closed in our home towns and cities. The latest crisis is the net result, the end game, of that stinking an decadent process of de-industrialization brought to us by those great patriots: the U.S. Senate and Congress, our past presidents and the corporate bosses who run this country. Free Trade has been their mantra as they foisted their NAFTAs and other get-rich-quick trade deals on Americans and then shipped the jobs to low wage countries leaving a vast and rusty wasteland in their wake. The Great American Dream has become a nightmare as decent, union jobs that gave dignity and a decent standard of living to millions of American families have been lost forever.
So it should have been millions marching in the streets of our cities today as they are marching around the world to protest the great unfairness that haunts society: unfairness in that the very ones who brought us to this crisis seem to be the ones who are being rewarded even as they are blamed for the stinking mess they've created! Something is drastically wrong with this picture. And that must be set right in the months ahead.
Our new President has inherited this terrible mess which has been made so much more terribly worse over the last eight years by the bandits and thieves that ran our country into the ground. It wasn't just greed on Wall Street as much as it was greed coupled with a Bush-wacking government that intentionally looked the other way, or even lent a helping hands to the bankers, as the crimes were being perpetrated.
Grover Norquist, one of the leading ideologues of the Neo-Con movement and a prime architect of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy once said:
"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."And that was precisely what Bush and his gang did for eight years. They packed government agencies and departments with corporate lackeys who then proceeded to eviscerate regulations and undo laws designed to safeguard Americans in every aspect of their lives: the protection of our environment and nature, the safety of our food and medicines, the right of American workers to a safe workplace, the maintenance of our health standards, the right of women to control their bodies and the maintenance of our democracy and constitutional liberties.
Then they launched an illegal war based on outright lies so the oil companies could occupy and control a country known to possess the second largest oil reserves in the world. Over 4,000 young soldiers have lost their lives in that illegal adventure. Countless Iraqi citizens were wounded, made homeless or killed and their country destroyed. While the war raged, the Bush and Cheney crony corporations such as Halliburton and Blackwater (and dozens more) emptied our Treasury with no-bid contracts handed out without oversight or control, profiting on the blood of our troops and of the tragic and poor citizens of Iraq.
Just as the corporate bandits have not been punished so has the Bush administration been allowed to retire without any restitution for the terrible crimes they committed: they sullied and dragged our Constitution into the mud of illegal arrests and detentions, rendition (kidnapping) and torture.
This is the terrible legacy of the Bush years. And this destructive regime was finally retired by the American people in November of last year. President Obama has promised to reverse these crimes and, to a large extent, he has begun to do exactly that. But the forces that brought us to ruination are still alive and well. Though defeated in November, they are wealthy and strong - many still inhabit the halls of Congress and live in the corporate board rooms throughout our country and will do their best to restore the previous direction taken under Bush. We need to counter them with the loud voice of protest and continued demands for changes not yet fulfilled.
Yesterday, thousands marched in New York. They were in high spirits and filled with high expectations that the "Yes, we can" hopes of yesterday's elections will be turned into a "Yes we did!" reality in the months and years ahead.
Brooklyn For Peace was well represented.
Thousands marched on Wall Street - the symbol of all that's wrong in our country.
Were you there? You can still do your part by calling your Congress member at (800) 828-0498 and the White House at(202) 456-1111.
President Obama has said that he wants to hear from the American people who elected him. So it is entirely appropriate, indeed necessary, to tell him:
"End the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.The good folks from Fort Greene Peace were there.
Bring all our troops home now - safe and alive.
Negotiate don't escalate!
Cut the Pentagon war budget in order to fix the economy and build a new society based on peace not war, human needs not greed."
If you want to see a slideshow of
all of yesterday's photos, just CLICK HERE.