Saturday, 12 April 2014

Slaves


One of the many things liberals do wrong, is debate today’s issues with the other side, as though the things we’re fighting for are merely viewpoints, alternatives. As though the other team has viewpoints that are equally valid. Currently in America we are in a very unusual position: we liberals are not defending opinions or policy proposals right now, for the most part. We are defending rights. Rights that have already been established.

This is why poll after poll shows us that the American people support liberal positions on issue after issue. The American people and the liberal movement are united in fighting, not for policies, but for our rights.

The American people demand the constitutional right to vote, without facing the seventy different ways conservatives are trying to stop us from voting, without corporations buying and selling elections with their pocket change, without conservative statehouses gerrymandering House seats to preserve their power even when the other party gets more votes. America, the liberals are with you – it is the conservatives who want to take your voting rights away.

The American people demand the constitutional right to a functioning government, with an end to the endless obstruction, the endless filibusters, the threats to shut down the government when the minority of one party in one half of Congress doesn’t get their way, the judges who can’t get confirmed because the conservatives want those benches vacant when the next Republican president is elected, the agencies that are crippled because their directors can’t even get a confirmation vote, the abuse of government oversight to pursue politically motivated conspiracy theories, the insulting argument that all government is bad. The liberals are with you, America – so why are the conservatives trying to destroy our democratic system of government?

The American people demand the constitutional right to make their voices heard, without accusations of treason, and threats of violence and secession, when extremists don’t get their way. We liberals didn’t try to shoot Congressmen or secede from the union when Bush led us into an illegal, dishonest war and trashed the Constitution, so why are the conservatives threatening all that now?

The American people demand the constitutional right to keep religion out of our lawmaking process, as the founders intended, so that unelected preachers aren’t making policy for us on abortion and contraception and marriage and divorce and the teaching of science. And that goes also for unelected activists like Grover Norquist who demand that congressmen swear pledges to him and his policies, rather than to the Constitution, or else they will be primaried out of office. Who elected Grover Norquist? Who elected Wayne LaPierre and Jim deMint?

The American people demand the constitutional right to actually vote on laws which everyone knows we need, like passing jobs bills, launching a 21st-century energy plan, fighting climate change, immigration reform, raising the minimum wage. America, we liberals are with you: the other team is not. When can we finally vote on the jobs bills, Mister Speaker?

The constitutional rights of women to access health care and abortion services and contraception, issues which have already been decided by the courts, and the right to be taken seriously in cases of rape – all at risk.

The constitutional right to equality under the law when it’s time to get married, and attain the rights of marriage, including health care and rights under family law.

The constitutional right to assemble, and to form a labor union.

The constitutional rights of our citizens of color not to be shot down in cold blood because a white man is afraid of you, the right not to be jailed by the thousands for picayune drug possession charges while white offenders go free.

The right to be protected from mentally ill people who obtained guns because there was no background check to stop them.

The right to be paid back our own contributions to Social Security and Medicare when we need them.

These are not just opinions. These are not just policy alternatives. They are rights. They are our r-i-g-h-t-s, established years ago, the rights which the founders and the courts affirmed, the rights which our veterans risked their lives to defend. These are the things that enjoy the support of any sane American who loves democracy and freedom, justice and equality, and wants to defend them.

But all these rights are threatened by the same tea-party people who pretend they are defending our rights, and by the political prostitutes who are exploiting the delusions of the tea party for crass political purposes.

The liberals revere freedom and justice and democracy and equality: the other team doesn’t. So why hasn’t the conservative movement gone the way of T Rex? Because liberals don’t fight, and the other team does.

There is a name for people who can’t be bothered to fight for their rights. Slaves. They’re slipping the chains on you right now. 


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