The Day After

by Cari Oleskewicz

...............Congratulations to the Republicans! My goodness, itís a wonder what a popular president can do on the campaign trail when he isnít busy with pesky things like a slipping economy. Tax cuts for billionaires, drilling in the Arctic refuge and corporate welfare should be a breeze now!
...............It is not a good day for anyone who truly cares about the direction of this country. The Republicans now control the White House and Congress, and it should leave us all very uneasy. The only Senator principled enough to say what he thought and not care about the political fallout died two weeks ago, and his seat will represent everything he fought against.
...............The blame, however, lies not with the right wing, but with the Democrats. Of course the president is popular Ė no one has dared to criticize him. The Democrats in Congress have rolled over on everything, from forests to war, and if they canít take a stand against the president, these are the repercussions.
...............The Democrats should have heard the wake up call after the 2000 election. They slept through it, though, and this morning they are blindly wondering what went wrong. Itís so simple.
...............Maybe they should have challenged a dangerous policy on Iraq.
...............Maybe they should have pointed out, during the wave of corporate crime, that these CEOs are the folks that the Republicans work for.
...............Maybe they should have asked our senior citizens how they like paying abominable prices for prescription drugs.
...............Maybe they should have asked the victims of violent crime how they like having guns available to anyone who wants one.
...............Maybe they should have insisted that the tax cut for the wealthy be repealed, or at the very least, delayed.
...............And on, and on, and on.
...............All of the pundits in Washington are dizzy predicting what this will mean for the election in 2004.
...............The silver lining is that perhaps people like Richard Gephardt, Tom Daschle and Terry McAuliffe will be replaced by real leaders who are able to stand up for the principles and values of middle-class Americans, an economic group which is rapidly shrinking because of Republican policies. Perhaps the Democrats will allow some self-exploration, and theyíll find a presidential candidate who really is interested in preserving the environment, achieving a sound foreign policy, getting health insurance for poor children, creating jobs, and calling on corporate chiefs to justify their billions while the people working for them can barely live paycheck to paycheck.
...............Dare we hope? Or will it be the usual suspects in 2004; Democrats like John Kerry, a veteran who expressed reservations about a war in Iraq, but in the end told the president he could bomb anyone he wants. Or Joe Lieberman, who, according to Ralph Nader, ďnever met an insurance company he didnít like.Ē
...............A revolution needs to take place, within the Democratic Party and within the country. The Republicans have two years to completely blow it. Even if they do, even if the divide between rich and poor is deeper, even if weíre embroiled in World War III, even if they have dismantled everything we care about - will anyone have the guts to say so?


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