Opinion Columns & Blogs

Eyes on the prize

So far no one has taken up the challenge, posed in my last column, to discuss real issues and meaningful solutions like mature adults. Instead they doubled down on their strengths – salacious innuendos, scandals from 20 years ago, ad-hominem attacks, and red-baiting. That’s what I expect in “The Star,” you know, the tabloid on the checkout aisles of Raley’s and Vons.

I suppose it should come as no surprise, since the trend is fueled at the national level by Tea Potty mouth Rudy Giuliani when he said Obama doesn’t love America because he criticized America’s past actions. Of course, Giuliani gives McCain a pass when McCain said he was ashamed of his country on Face the Nation.

As a child, I was criticized by my parents for my behavior. I’m sure many of you have had similar experiences. At the time, you may have felt unloved but as you grew up, you understood that your parents did that out of love. Maybe when little Rudy grows up he, too, will understand that.

Tea Potty mouth Giuliani also spouted this: “I’m at a stage of real, real worry for my country... ISIS, ISIL, Al Qaeda – very dangerous. Horrible people.” If little Rudy is truly sincere about his worry about country, ISIS, ISIL and Al Qaeda, shouldn’t he be going after House Republicans for not cleanly funding the Department of Homeland Security, the agency that protects our country from terrorists?

Scott Walker played the same card. At CPAC, he said, “I want a commander in chief who will do everything in their power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists does not wash up on American soil,” unlike Obama who actually captured and killed Osama Bin Laden. Yes, Walker, Giuliani (Mr. 9-11 and Mr. Homeland Security) and the new Republican Congress pledge their undying love of country whilst putting America at risk by playing politics with national security funding. How about first starting with a Congress that is will stop terrorists from washing up on American soil? “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that [Republicans] love America.”

Had Al Gore instead of George W. Bush been president, there would not have been a 9-11. Gore would have heeded all the blaring warning signs, particularly the Aug. 6, 2001 president’s daily brief “Osama Bin Laden determined to strike in the U.S.” If there were no 9-11, there would be no Afghanistan, no Iraq, no ISIL, no ISIS and no growing ranks of Al Qaeda. Without 9-11, we would have $3 trillion less in debt, and 6,800 American soldiers would still be alive. There would be one million less veterans injured and no PTSD epidemic.

The VA would not be overburdened and military families would still have their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, mothers and fathers. Okay, I’ve indulged the purposeful distractions of the mud-slingers but let’s keep our eyes on the prize, that which reflects true love of country and its people.

Jobs, educational opportunities, fair wages, consumer and financial protections, reducing the debt, clean energy, protecting the environment, equal treatment for all ethnic groups, genders, transgenders and sexual orientations, ending xenophobia, accepting religious differences, and protecting workers, these and more are the makings for a great, prosperous and safe America.

For lack of space, I can only address a few issues. My last column identified High Speed Rail and Green jobs (i.e. renewable energy, energy conservation, and infrastructure) as real job creation. Those are long term, skilled and labor intensive jobs, which means well-paying, quality jobs for many years. In a 2013 report card, the American Society of Civil Engineers estimated that by 2020, we need $3.6 trillion in infrastructure investments. Senator Bernie Sanders proposed the “Rebuild America Act” to spend $1T over five years. The republican solution – tax cuts and deregulation.

Everyone knows the best path to prosperity is a good education. Not everyone needs to go to college but everyone needs a good job. That’s why the president proposed free tuition for community college, subsidized job training, and funding partnerships with companies instituting apprenticeship programs, which upon completion garners an average salary of $50,000 yearly. The republican solution – tax cuts and deregulation.

Ted Cruz at the same CPAC convention said, “Demand action not words.” I agree. These proposals are actionable items that put money directly into middle class pockets.

What are the comparable actions from Republicans?