(Update of Feb. Post. Perfect for July 4th...Independence from special interests)
“Whenever they’s a
fight so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Whenever they’s a cop
beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there . . . . I’ll be in the way guys yell
when they’re mad an’—I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry
an’ they know supper’s ready. An’ when our folks eat the stuff they
raise an’ live in the houses they build—why, I’ll be there.” Tom Joad,
Chapter 28/Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck.
When I was ranting and raving about how my Democratic Party has done nothing to take a stand on the amount of special interest money it takes to run for President of the United States....about 500 million dollars...My close friend, a Marine Vietnam Veteran, Howard,got close to my face and looked at me and said, "Ya, what ever happened to the Democrats Tom Joad!"
That was a statement.
When the California Democratic Party wants to push up the primary date from June to February in 2008, at a cost of anywhere from 60-90 million dollars, not one of our statewide or national leaders said, "wait a minute..we have social programs that need funding, we have horrible homeless problems, drug problems...let's not waste this amount of money on changing the date of the primary."
So, Howard Dean and Art Torres (CA. State Dem Chairman), what is your answer?
A year or so ago, we had the Latino version of Tom Joad, die in the fields along I-5 from heat stroke, picking produce. Why don't we fix this problem first?
What we have is an over-bought, over-privileged, elected class, with personal drivers,100% health coverage, great pensions---who are going to save the world, but forget about Tom Joad.
I can criticize my own Democratic Party, because I've been a registered Democrat since I voted for LBJ in 1964...and then he drafted me in 1965.(President Johnson was the "peace" candidate)
We can't have national health care, a broader middle class, a positive alternative energy policy, when every special interest is holding a fundraiser 24/7 for all of the elected officials running around.
The GOP get a pass, again, on this one, because they are supposed to be the representatives of the greedy upper class.
While my party may criticize President Bush for spending 60 billion bucks a year on the war in Iraq, we do nothing to reform our election process in America.
The late, US Senator Frank Church (D-ID) once told me that LBJ used to say, "If you don't have a guy's pecker in your front pocket, you don't have his vote."
An insurance, cable, cell phone, or oil company may say, "if you haven't given your $2,300 dollars and business card into his or her front pocket...you don't have his or her vote."
A special Democratic Party Convention on reforming the cost of elections and reducing special interest money.
The Watergate and post 1968 Chicago Convention reforms are a joke.
Most of our candidates for President are millionaires, running around with other wealthy people. Don't get me wrong....I have met just as many mean spirited and out of touch poor people as wealthy ones.....but that does not excuse the party of the people from the obligation of pulling us out of this special interest mess, which prevents us from getting sorely needed social programs.
Free televising time, eliminating some of our expensive public primaries, shortening the election season, and creating standards for accepting special interest money, should all be on the table at a special Democratic Party convention to reform the entire political process.
We also need party leaders, statewide and national, who have the guts to step in when two candidates, such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama....or Steve Westly and Phil Angelides(Ca. Gov Candidates) get into a "pissing match" which will eventually hurt us during the general campaign.
Tom Joad may be fed better now, but his quality of life and health care are now a disaster.
It is up to the Democratic Party to fix it.
Thanks for reading: