I’ve been remiss in posting here because tomato, apple and fig harvests overtook my spare time and a stream of writing jobs kept me busy for weeks. One friend who lives in Colorado is doing her part regarding November’s mid-terms by working through party politics to get her almost-unbelievably awful congressional representative, Lauren Boebert, defeated.
Besides voting (lucky to live in California where the secretary of state’s office called to tell me that my mail-in ballot was on the way!) I pondered what I could do to help. What first came to mind was to share the message I received from Senator Bernie Sanders – a great man who never stops working for you and me.
“…In my view, while the abortion issue must remain on the front burner, it would be political malpractice for Democrats to ignore the state of the economy and allow Republican lies and distortions to go unanswered. This country has, for decades, faced structural economic crises that have caused the decline of the American middle class. Now is the time for Democrats to take the fight to the reactionary Republican Party and expose their anti-worker views on the most important issues facing ordinary Americans. That is both the right thing to do from a policy perspective and good politics.
“We have more income and wealth inequality than at any time in the modern history of this country, with three people owning more wealth than the bottom half of our nation. Is there one Republican prepared to raise taxes on billionaires, or do they want to make a bad situation worse by extending Trump’s tax breaks for the rich and repealing the estate tax?
“Today, 60% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and millions work for starvation wages. Is there one Republican in Congress who is prepared to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $15 an hour?
“The United States pays, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Is there one Republican prepared to allow Medicare to immediately begin negotiating prescription drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry and cut the cost of medicine by half?
“We have a dysfunctional healthcare system which, despite being the most expensive in the world, allows 85 million Americans to be uninsured or underinsured. Is there one Republican who believes that healthcare is a human right and supports universal coverage?
“We remain the only major country on earth not to guarantee time off for moms who have babies or need to take care of sick children. Is there one Republican who supports at least 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave?
“The list goes on: childcare, housing, home health care, college affordability. On every one of these enormously important issues the Republican Party has virtually nothing to say to address the desperate needs of low and moderate income Americans. And what they do propose will most often make a bad situation worse.
“I believe that if Democrats do not fight back on economic issues and present a strong pro-worker agenda, they could well be in the minority in both the House and the Senate next year.
“And it’s not only the long-term structural crises that Democrats must address. It is the outrageous level of corporate greed that we now see every day that is fueling the inflation hurting so many people. While the price of gas has soared over the last year, the five big oil companies made $59 billion in profits during the 2nd quarter of this year alone and are spending $88 billion on stock buybacks and dividends to benefit their wealthy shareholders.
“While global food prices soared by over 33% last year and are expected to go up another 23% this year, billionaires in the global food and agri-business industry became $382 billion richer during the pandemic.
“While we continue to pay, by far, the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs, 3 of the largest pharmaceutical companies in America – Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and AbbVie – increased their profits by 90% last year to $54 billion.
“While 46% of Americans either skipped or delayed the healthcare they need because they could not afford it, the six largest health insurance companies in America last year made over $60 billion in profits.
“What do Republicans have to say about corporations that are charging Americans outrageously high prices, while enjoying record breaking profits? Does one of them have the courage to consider a windfall, profits tax? Absolutely not.
“Whether it is extending the $300 a month child tax credit that expired in December that slashed the child poverty rate by over 40%, or increasing Social Security benefits, or expanding Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision or making childcare affordable, the Democrats must stand with the working class of this country and expose the Republicans for the phonies that they are.
“None of what I am suggesting here is “radical”. It is, in fact, extremely popular. It is what the American people want. If we close this critical midterm campaign with a clear, unified vision to meet the needs of working families, to take on corporate greed, and protect a woman’s right to choose, we will begin to rebuild the trust between Democrats in Washington and the working families of this country. And we’ll win the election.”
I’m writing an article on Seniors in the Workplace and today I’ve heard from two wise men–Noam Chomsky and Bernie Sanders–who make me feel good about those of us over 75 who are still paying attention. I hope you, whatever your age, will do so too.