It's been forever since I've blogged about politics. I've been busy with holidays, and unpacking, the loss of a friend, and the conclusion of Dancing with the Stars. Yes, it's been a busy time, which normally wouldn't stop me from waxing political, but I've been so disheartened lately that I haven't wanted to talk about politics much.
On Thanksgiving weekend there was a beautiful interview from the White House with the President and First Lady. I loved seeing the grandure of the location, and I wanted to feel that old familiar awe and admiration for this man who took so many of our hopes and dreams with him into that beautiful place. I wanted to convince myself that he was doing a good job, the best one he could do under the worst set of circumstances imaginable. I longed to feel reinvigorated as I searched for proof of a backbone I haven't seen exercised very much, and I tried my hardest to convince myself that President Obama was representing me the best he could and knew how. The only problem was I didn't believe it.
I think there is a difference between compromising and conceding, and thus far I've seen the latter. The banks are doing better and the public is doing worse. We've got healthcare reform with no public option and no structured oversight or serious regulations or ramifications for the insurance companies. Gays still can't serve openly in the military. Now we're arguing about taxes. The President wants to grant an extension of the Bush tax cuts to everyone including the wealthiest in exchange for extending unemployment for another 13 months. Why are those two things in the same sentence? They shouldn't be. Let the Republicans have to come out and stand in front of declining unemployment benefits while people don't have food to eat. Call them on their bluff. But that would take backbone.
As for the tax cuts for the wealthy, here's what I have to say about that. When you watch children playing in the sandbox, some willingly want to share their toys and others will not unless it is plucked from their greedy little hands by a grownup. Some wealthy people will gladly pay their share of taxes because they know that that is the price they pay for living the American dream. Others will not willingly give unless they are forced to. Unfortunately, those are the ones who scream loudest and they get the ear of politicians who rely on their donations for future political campaigns.
"Oh Ilene, you're being so cynical!" you say. No, I'm being honest. And just when I was about to lose hope in my party altogether, I'm reminded that 54 Democrats are opposing the President's "compromise." It's about time.
And just when I'm weeping with disappointment about President Obama, there's Anthony Weiner on TV being, well, Anthony Weiner. And I'm reminded that there are still a handful of people who share my beliefs and political ideals, and at least one of them is in Congress.
This brings me to my stump speech. I really think it's time I run for Congress myself. Oh, it's not because I love the press, the cameras, the handshaking, and fundraising. It's because I have realized that for as shy as I am, I will not back down when the going gets tough. Hell, I've been in the music business for nearly twenty-five years. How much worse can politics be?! And also, in the interest of full disclosure, let me be completely honest - I need health insurance and I hear Congress does pretty well in that regard. So there you go. I could live longer and fight the good fight. I would ask one question before deciding how I cast my votes on the floor: Will this be good for the poor, the working poor, and the middle class? That's my question. Period. I know, I know, you billionaires out there who are reading my blog are really pissed. I'm sorry I can't help you. Even if I was one of you, I couldn't help you. I see it as my moral responsibility to speak for people who do not have a voice. Okay, so maybe I'm currently one of those people, and I wish there was someone doing that for me, but Ted Kennedy is dead. So here we are, and here I am, and I may weep from time to time, but here's hoping that my voice and fortitude can count for something of value in this country. And there you have it, ladies and gentlemen - my first stump speech.
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