Sunday, 11 November 2012

Obama's inaugural speech: the liberal majority

We have no idea what Obama will say at his second inauguration. But it should sound something like this.

My fellow Americans, last November we as a nation came to realize what many of us had suspected for a long time, that America is a center-left nation, with a liberal majority.

We know that in November, America voted for liberalism. We voted to put a hard-core bank regulator in the Senate, and expanded Democratic control of the Senate in spite of all those vulnerable seats, and elected Democrats in red states, and sent Alan Grayson back to Washington, and voted for gay politicians and gay rights and gay-supporting judges, and voted for marijuana and unions and tax increases and the minimum wage, and for funding for schools rather than churches, and college for immigrants, and lots and lots of female candidates. Right-wing candidates didn’t do so well – all that rape talk. More Americans voted for Democrats than Republicans, even in the House races; we overcame Republican vote suppression, but we just couldn’t overcome Republican gerrymandering.

We, the liberal majority, know that seventy percent of the national debt was incurred during Republican administrations and most of the rest was incurred by Democratic presidents cleaning up Republican messes. We know that the current economic crisis was created by Republicans, that tax cuts don’t create jobs, and that even Reagan raised taxes twelve times. We wonder why the Republicans change their minds about deficits every eight years – deficits are okay for Republican presidents, but when Democrats do it, it’s treason.

We, the liberal majority, know that it isn’t frivolous to spend money on schools, roads and bridges, policemen and firefighters, paramedics and nurses, and protecting air and water and food and our children. And FEMA. We don’t think the teachers who care for our kids and turn them into adults are overpaid or greedy; we think the solution for underfunded schools is to increase funding, not decrease it. We thank unions for giving us sick leave, workmen’s compensation, maternity leave, fair pay, child labor protection, health care, and protection for whistleblowers. We know that if anti-government zealots want to experience life without any government protection, flights to Somalia leave daily.

We, the liberal majority, wonder why Republican seniors are consuming government entitlements while condemning them, and pretending that your entitlements don’t come from government, and voting in large numbers for the party that wants to take your entitlements away, and quaking in your shoes about death panels that don’t exist and never will. We believe that if conservatives demanded the right to use our tax money to pay for Iraq, we can use their tax money to save Medicare.

We, the liberal majority, try not to roll our eyes when John Boehner puts the phrase “job-killing” in front of everything I do – Obama’s “job-killing” foreign policy speech, Obama’s “job-killing” trip to the bathroom – but then blocks every job proposal I submit, and proposes no jobs bills of his own. But plenty of bills to fight abortion.

We, the liberal majority, know that the real job creators are consumers, not corporations. Demand drives supply, as it has for five thousand years of human commerce. We know the nation would be better off if corporations worked to create jobs here in America instead of overseas, and if they would invest in jobs, rather than spending a billion dollars to try to buy the elections. We know that there are a lot of things that government does better than corporations, and that perhaps we’ve gone far enough to try to privatize schools and warfare and prisons and Social Security. We know that if folks really think that corporations are people, the big firms should play by the same rules as everyone else, that Wall Street should have cops on the beat just like Main Street, that corporations who want the same freedoms as the rest of us have the same responsibilities.

We, the liberal majority, know that all those businessmen who think they are self-made men, got a ton of help from banks and investors and the federal government and the state government and, you know, their employees. We think that corporate leaders who take home million-dollar salaries while destroying their firms through incompetence and criminality should be a little less petulant about paying 17 percent in taxes when their janitors pay 25 percent.  Or paying no taxes at all. We know that elitists really have declared class warfare, in the form of the conservative effort to undermine the middle class and the American dream; we know that their contempt for the rest of us doesn’t just apply to the 47 percent – it applies to the 99 percent.

We, the liberal majority, look forward to the day when conservatives set aside fallacy and delusion and Orwellian lies and bad spelling, and embrace science and fact and reality and established economic theory. We look forward to the day when any conservative who lies in public can be fact-checked by Candy Crowley. We view with alarm the effort by conservatives to hide reality from their children via homeschooling. We find it fascinating that conservatives jam up the shelves of bookstores with mountains of books by people like Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter – for an audience that doesn’t read. We look back fondly to the era of our founding fathers; all of them, even the conservatives, loved reason and science, embracing the humanism of European thinkers and the works of the pagan Romans and Greeks. Both of the men who wrote the Declaration of Independence loathed most of the Bible and publicly embraced reason.

We, the rational majority, know that global warming is an established scientific fact, and even if it was a hoax, fighting to stop it would save money, free us of dependence on our cars and Middle East oil, create jobs, and save our forests and our air and our health. We know that there is no such thing as clean coal. We know that my first administration increased oil drilling here at home, to help free us from  the Arabs. We know that politicizing the weather is silly. We know that evolution is an established fact, that the world is older than six thousand years, and that Jesus never did ride that dinosaur.

We, the liberal majority, know that if the conservatives who are sitting in their megachurches waiting for the Rapture were to actually read the Bible, they would know that Jesus cared for the poor and the sick, and hated war and organized religion. We want to pray in church, not in school, like the Constitution says. We wonder why the people who cheer the “God Hates Fags” signs of the Westboro Church are same people who burned Dixie Chicks CDs for exercising their First-Amendment rights. We wonder why people take celibate priests seriously when they give us their expertise on marriage, and take pedophile priests seriously when they lecture us on morality.

We, the liberal majority, try to keep a straight face when conservatives spend thirty years hijacking the national political agenda and forcing us to endlessly debate abortion, school vouchers, school prayer, intelligent design, putting the Commandments in courtrooms, stem cell research, euthanasia, cloning, civil unions, HPV shots, contraception, sex education, faith-based initiatives, banning books, assisted suicide…and then complain that there is a war against Christianity and that they are afraid to talk about God.

We, the liberal majority, don’t believe that the millions of women who want access to reproductive care and contraception are all sluts. We know that abstinence education has failed to stop teen sex, pregnancy or STDs. We think that supporters of small government should embrace keeping government out of our bedrooms. We know that the people who demand that a baby be born, shouldn’t be trying to cut off support services for mother and child after the birth. We are not sure what we’re going to do if one more “pro-marriage” conservative is caught cheating on his wife. We wonder what would happen to all those conservatives who want to interfere in the lives of women, gays and lesbians, if the tables were turned, and Big Bad Government came to interfere with their private lives and reproductive choices.

We, the liberal majority, know that the gays don’t have a secret agenda, they have an open demand for fairness and equality. We know that God doesn’t hate gays because he created millions of them; we know the Founding Fathers didn’t hate gays because they signed the Declaration of Independence wearing wigs and satin tights. We know that you can’t pray away the Gay, although it would be great if you could pray away the Stupid.

We, the liberal majority, know that if you’re worried that homosexuality will lead to polygamy, you should go bother the Mormons; if you’re worried about homosexuality causing pedophilia, go bother the Catholic Church and the Boy Scouts; if you’re worried about incest, go ask our Republican friends in West Virginia; if you’re worried about sex with animals, go ask our friends up in sheep country in Montana; if you’re worried about weakening heterosexual marriage, go ask Newt Gingrich, Herman Cain, Mark Sanford, Larry Craig, John Ensign, Bill O’Reilly, Rudy Giuliani, David Vitter, Ted Haggard, Mark Foley, Strom Thurmond, and our friend Arnold Schwarzenegger.

We, the liberal majority, know that 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch and that Obama killed bin Laden after Bush gave up. We believe that the conservatives who scream at liberals for not supporting the troops, should support armor for our troops and services for our veterans.

We, the liberal majority, that know that my administration really isn’t coming to take anyone’s guns. And we think that the people who are obsessed with the Second Amendment might want to take a look at the First. And all the other Amendments too, for good measure.

We, the liberal majority, no longer want to be led by a national brain trust consisting of Drudge, Fox, Rush and the dittoheads, Beck, Coulter, Bachmann, Palin, Rick Perry, Christine O’Donnell, Pat Robertson, Angle, Brewer, Romney, Trump, Murdoch, Cain, Gingrich, the Koch brothers, Shel Adelson the casino boss, Scott Walker, Rick Scott the felon, Santorum, and of course Bush and Cheney. And Karl Rove.

We, the liberal majority, try to restrain our laughter when we are called un-American by people who wave Confederate flags, call for secession, call it “tyranny” when they lose an election, deliberately trash the inner workings of Congress so that it can’t function, and deliberately crash the economy for political purposes. We know the movement of independent grass-roots tea party patriots isn’t grass-roots, isn’t independent, and isn’t patriotic. It is a paid, organized arm of the Republican party. We grow weary of conservatives who think the White House belongs to them by birthright and work to demonize every Democrat to occupy the Oval Office for the last 40 years; we know we have a President who was born in America and that nobody can be a fascist and a communist all at the same time, no matter how many times the conservatives insist it’s true. We know the birthright of American citizenship doesn’t belong solely to terrified white people.

And we, the people, have one question for our Republican friends, at long last. Are there any patriots left in your party? Is there one leader in your party who is willing to attack America’s problems, instead of America’s Democrats?

Ask not what you can do for your party. Ask what you can do for your country. It’s about time.

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