(This is a response to one of the RLA’s young female students, who recently posted on her Facebook page that she is a proud Republican.)
You say you are sporting a Romney bumper sticker and are a proud Republican. OK. You say you could never be a Democrat. OK. My question for you is this: you are a young, strong, hard-working woman. You have been independent since your early teens. You are tattooed and pierced. You smoke cigarettes and ride a motorcycle. You are not the sort of woman I would expect to be willing to give up any personal freedoms. How, then, can you be willing, no, eager, to vote for two men who would work to legislate changes to this country that would deny all women the most basic freedom of all: ownership of their own bodies.
That is what this election is about. Oh, it has been hidden behind a smokescreen of class warfare, thinly veiled racism and the manipulations of the robber barons over the working man, but it is really an attempt to put women back in their proper place as chattel.
The media calls it choice, but it is more properly a question of ownership. If an individual is not free to determine what happens to their own corpus, what is that state but slavery? Slavery to whom? To the man, institution or government that denies that freedom. If one is not free to own their own body, the next question should be why? Under what conceivable set of circumstances should a human be denied the right of self-determination? Incapacity? If a person is of sound mind and body, there can be no law of nature, only of the law of men.
And you are willing to agree that the condition of being a woman makes you unfit for self-determination? And if you are unfit to own yourself, perhaps you are unfit to own property, unfit to hold certain jobs, to earn an equal wage, incapable of determining if you were raped, incapable of being trusted with the vote, incapable of deciding whom you wish to marry or when. Not only are you willing to agree to that for yourself but you are condemning your sisters, daughters and granddaughters to that fate. Cupcake, you need to remember that it was quite literally the blood of our own grandmothers, mothers and sisters that ended that state of affairs. Forty years ago I had a teacher tell me that as a girl, I was incapable of doing research science. Two fucking generations, and you are ready to go back to being, at best, a second-class citizen, at worst, simply chattel?
The fact that you are proud to be voting against your own best interests makes me afraid that the Republicans might be right not to trust you with the vote.
There is a Vietnam Nam vet sitting in a wheelchair next to me on the train. He is loudly declaimng his politics. This begins with telling the world, or at least the occupants of this car, that he was shot down over Nam, spent two weeks in a hospital and then came back to America where he was denied a job because he wasn’t a minority. Ain’t that right, Freddie, he bellows at the guy on the other side of me. From there, he goes on to explain that this sort of bullshit is why he has never voted for a Democrat in his life and never will. Next up on his litany of grievances is Hippies, and how they took over California and how we still have that crap, but now it’s called diversity.
It is at that point that I cram my earbuds into my decidedly hippie head, mutter asshole under my brreath and turn to Freddie to opine that perhaps if his friend voted for Democrats, there would be fewer wars resulting in fewer disabled vets like his friend, who, I want to add, is on his way for medical care at a VA that his friends, the Republicans, are busy unfunding and dismantling. It’s better that I sit here typing furiously and keeping the sound in my head loud enough to block the Tea Bagger shit pouring out of this douchebag.
So here’s the thing about Anthony Weiner that nobody is willing to talk about. It’s the elephant in the room, connected, if you will, to the trunk in Tony’s crotch shots. Miz Shoes is not going to offer an opinion about Tony being a pervert or a creeper, although, you know, if it sexts like a creeper and lies like a creeper and acts like a creeper, the odds are pretty good that it is, in fact, a creeper. No Miz Shoes doesn’t care about that. Miz Shoes says this as a woman with a history of fondness for men who are not, shall we say, classically handsome (see obsession with Bob Dylan). But LOOK at that man, people. LOOK long and hard. THAT is a man who has never gotten laid for free in his life. Really. Not even a mercy fuck for that monkey. How he scored his wife is a mystery, but the word “beard” comes to mind. He is just a pathetic little man who finally found a medium where he could “charm” with his “wit” and then get his rocks off via e-mail.
In case you haven’t read it lately, or are buying in to the various right-wing and tea party arguments about the right of a mosque to be built near the 9/11 Ground Zero, allow me to refresh your memory concerning the First Amendment to the US constitution. It’s my personal favorite, by the way.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
See, all this blathering about can they or can’t they and is Obama a traitor to America for saying that a mosque can be built on what a very vocal minority thinks is Holy Ground, that’s all bullshit and beside the point. It is really, really simple. Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
It’s in the constitution. Separation of church and state. Right to assemble. Right to worship. No right to abridge the freedom of speech or religion. Done and fucking done, you pin-headed morons. If you want to make America a theocracy, you are the traitor to the basic tenets of the Founders. Simple as that.
No official state religion. Not yours, not mine, not theirs. I think a very wise judge just pointed this out a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco: You cannot legislate morality based on your ideals of religious rightness. This whole mosque debate is moot. Any religion can build a house of worship anywhere they want in this country. Within the local zoning regulations, at any rate.
Even Michael Bloomberg, who has had no problem banning smoking in NYC bars, and who turned the seamy underbelly of Times Square right side out, pressed it, cleaned it and made it into a family-friendly Disney park, knows this much: “We do not honor their lives by denying the very Constitutional rights they died protecting. We honor their lives by defending those rights — and the freedoms that the terrorists attacked.” (referring to the men and women who died in the attacks)
In sum, STFU. Mosque, temple, church, mission house, synagogue, Kingdom Hall, stupa, wat, Gurudwara, atashkada, or shrine, any of these can be built in America. Anywhere. Even in New York City.
I was making copies of advertising tear sheets the other day, standing at the copy machine and daydreaming, when the following caught my eye. It is reprinted with permission from Southern California Physician magazine, the November 2009 issue. This magazine probably doesn’t have the distribution of say, the New York Times, or even Weekly World News, but this essay is too important not to share.
Silence is Consent Speaking up for the public option,by Howard L. Lang, MD
I cannot remain silent. When I read the opinion articles by Drs. Krauss and DiLibero and the predictable answers to the interview with the Libertarian Cato Institute in the September issue, I felt compelled to respond.
The pigeonholing of “government control of health care” puts ideas into a prefabricated box that has infected and distorted the debate about the public option. Simply put, the public option is nothing more than an option for consumers what would expand choice in the insurance marketplace. Without a public option what will restrain the insurance industry? The public option is the key to expanding coverage and choice, bringing down costs and holding the insurance industry accountable. It is not a “government takeover” of health care. Let us not have these labels blind us to the facts.
The facts in the current legislation, as reported in Medscape Business of Medicine, are as follows:
The government would negotiate reimbursement rates directly with physicians. The rates could not be lower than Medicare rates but could not be higher than the average rate paid by provided plans. I believe that medical organizations should require the legislation to provide anti trust relief so physicians could collectively bargain with either the government or other third party payers.
One amendment (Sen. Charles Schumer, D-NY) for the public option would prohibit tying the rates to Medicare. It would be required to pay for itself through premiums collected. It would not be funded by the U.S. Treasury. Also, there would be no bailout if it didn’t support itself.
The plan would be optional for providers to choose whether or not to participate.
To put it simply, only consumers who want to enroll in a government-run health plan would do so. Anyone who preferred private insurance could get it.
Government can enhance human freedom and give people options they would not otherwise have. When you consider the involvement of government in K-12 education, helping students to attend college, and unemployment compensation, you realize that the public insurance option is entirely consistent with the American tradition of using government to open new avenues of choice and opportunity.
The fate of the public option as of late October is still undetermined. There is a public option in the three committees of the House and in the Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pension Committee. There is no public option in the Senate Finance Committee bill.
There is strong support for the public option in the physician community as well as in the public. A recent poll of physicians funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, as reported in the New England Journal of Medicine, showed that 63 percent of physicians supported a plan that contained a public and private alternative with 27 percent supporting a private-only option that would provide subsidies for low income individuals to purchase insurance. The researchers found that 58 percent of physicians surveyed supported expanding Medicare eligibility to those between the ages of 55 and 64. A recent national poll showed that 70 percent of Americans favor a public option as a choice.
Here are more unpleasant facts, not opinion. A Harvard study revealed that 14,000 people per day lose their health insurance and 62 percent of all bankruptcies are from medical costs. This breaks down to 120 people every day, 3,750 people per month, 5 people per hour and 1 American every 12 minutes. All dead because of a broken delivery system which is based on profit, not caring.
The public option uses government as a nudge toward greater competition. The public option is a monopoly and monopsony buster. The 2008 update of Competition in Health Insurance: A Comprehensive Study of U.S. Markets presents new data on the degree of competition in different regions of the country. The study is intended to help identify areas where consolidation among health insurers may have harmful impacts on consumers, providers of care and the economy. Market shares and concentration measures are presented for 314 metropolitan areas and 42 states. This study finds that the vast majority of markets are highly concentrated and are dominated by one or two health insurers. These findings, coupled with higher insurance premiums, higher profits, lower scope of benefits and high barriers to entry, leads to the conclusion that health insurers are exercising market power in many parts of the country. Without a public option providing competition, more of our fellow citizens will be uninsured and more will die.
Another issue is cost to consumers and government which the public option will help moderate. In the October Editors note, one part of the cost issue is addressed. I will add that, as reported in teh Washington Post health care premiums have risen by 300 percent over the past 30 years after adjusting for inflation. Hourly earning for workers, adjusted for inflation, have fallen and any wage increases have been consumed by health care costs. The costs for the approximately 46 million uninsured are shifted to the insured. According to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, this raises premiums for the average family by $1100 a year.
When we look at the entire picture of our health care delivery system it is clear that substantive reform is absolutely necessary. We are talking about the fundamental principles of social justice. Not only would collapse of health reform be a political and policy failure, but a profound moral failure and a blot on our great nation. How we provide health care says a great deal about our country’s heart and soul. Has our soul departed?
The Ayn Rand and Gordon Gecko philosophy of “Greed is Good” is the antitheses of what this country should stand for.
Thucydides was once asked: “When will there be justice in Athens?” His reply: “There will be justice in Athens when those who are not injured are as outraged as those who are.”
I am outraged!
Howard L. Lang, MD is Past President of the California Medical Association and past chair of the AMA Medical Staff Section.
While it is an indisputable fact that you can not underestimate the intelligence of the American public, particularly that portion that forms its political debate around the pap fed them by Fox “News”, and while it is apparent to most anyone with a brain that a significant portion of the right-wing, white, male, conservative, Christian population had its shit seriously fucked up by the (legal, coughcough BUSH coughcough) election of a black man, it still staggers me how virulent and poisonous the health care debate has come, and how quickly.
Friday, while I was standing in line at the local Greek joint, waiting on my gyro, the woman in front of me was dissing the concept of the government having anything to do with health care. (which, of course, we all know they have NOTHING to do with now. The VA, the safety net hospitals throughout the country, Medicare and Medicaid and free clinics are all just run on fairy dust and good will, I suppose.) Her logic went along these lines: “The government can’t run health care. Can you imagine? You already spend the whole day at the DMV.”
I’ve mentioned before that I spent dog years of my life working at the county hospital, where a 24 hour wait in the pharmacy to get your discharge prescription filled was the norm, and the unionized laborers in the pharmacy dumped out the pills that were counted by the time and labor saving automated pill dispensers to make sure the count was right, thereby doubling or tripling the time it took to dispense the meds. Well, that’s government health care for you. And let’s not talk about the rats at the VA hospital. I mean, yeah, I’m a Yellow Dawg Democrat, but even I know waste, fraud and stupid when I see work with it. So it’s not like I’m a gung-hu advocate of government-run health care. But I can also tell you that the reason the county hospital was packed and the waits in the ER were criminal, and it took months and months to get an appointment at the clinics is because thousands and thousands of people in Miami-Dade County didn’t and don’t have private insurance. Because they can’t afford it. Because they have existing conditions. Because of a thousand reasons. But that’s why they were and are willing to subject themselves and their families to the abuse of going to the county hospital. Because it was their only choice.
So. I asked, in a non-confrontational and totally conversational way, how long she, this loud woman, waited to see her doctor now? Well, holy shit. She spun around and started yelling at me that she can see any doctor she wants because she doesn’t have an HMO, she has a PPO. One that she WORKS to pay for. And that I, well, since my ID badge proclaims that I work for a healthcare concern, I should know better. I could see the crazy starting, so (and this may shock long-time readers and real life friends) I backed down and said nothing more to her.
Yeah. See, that’s the problem, bitch. You and I are working like dogs to pay for insurance. If I get sick, I have to call my primary care doctor, what in my childhood was called your general practitioner. He or she will get me right in…in a week or two or three. Assuming I don’t die of pneumonia before then. Once I get to the doctor’s office, I wait. I wait for an hour or two in the waiting room, and then I wait for another half hour or so in the examining room. Because it is all about the money and how many patients you can send through the meat chute in a day. If it is determined that my cough is serious enough, I might get sent to a specialist. Another month of waiting to get an appointment, another few hours of knitting in a waiting room because my time is worth nothing. And another co-payment that is random and arbitrary.
And let’s not talk about meds. OK, twist my arm. At the county hospital, I could get my meds for 10% over cost, or $1.85, whichever was cheaper. My birth control pills cost me $1.85 a month. When I left the hospital, and had to buy them from a pharmacy, they cost me a $10 co-pay. That is, until my insurance company had a change in their formulary, at which point my co-pay became $28 a month. If I’d had to pay out of pocket, it would have been closer to $40. One day I went to the pharmacy to pick up a refill and the insurance company had changed their formulary, again. Guess what? Now I’m paying $10 a month again. But remember the original premise here? At the hospital it was ten percent over cost or $1.85. You do the math and you tell me where the $38 goes when someone has to pay full price. Do you think that the pharmacy is getting that money? The pharmacist herself? Or the pharmaceutical company shareholders. And why should the profit be so fucking high on something so necessary to so many people?
I wish I could be more coherent in my rage against the town hall assholes, and the bullshit media that legitimizes these screechers. But I can’t. The disinformation and the level of hateful rhetoric has me looking to cling to my imaginary guns and imaginary god. Most of all, it makes me want to grab bitches like that self-satisfied woman who works hard for her insurance and throttle her, then take her to the county hospital to see first hand what desperation and poverty looks like. In this country. In this best of all possible, consumer-driven, capitalist nation. Then let her explain to me, in her own words, why health care is not a right for all humans, but just those who can pay through the nose for it.
Here’s a little something my imaginary boyfriend, The Rude Pundit, dug up last week:
“Sometimes they are referred to as the ‘radical Right.’ But the fact is that there is nothing radical about them. They offer no novel solutions to the problems that plague them; indeed, they offer no solutions at all. They are immensely discontented with things as they are and furiously impatient with almost everyone in public office who can in any way be held responsible for their frustrations. But it cannot be said that they hold any clearly stated objectives or have any specific program either in common or individuals. They are fundamentally and temperamentally ‘aginners.’ And perhaps the commonest characteristic among them is anger. They can fairly be called, if nothing else, the Rampageous Right.”
That’s from Alan Barth, writing in the New York Times Magazine on November 26, 1961 (emphasis by Miz Shoes), talking about, among other things, the rise in conservative activist anger about discussions of starting Medicare. Barth continued that to this group of right wingers, “socialism is an epithet applied indiscriminately to almost any form of collective endeavor. Thus, any governmentally operated insurance program to provide medical care for the elderly is denounced as Socialist.” To them, welfare and “even the progressive income tax are all looked upon as satanically inspired deviations from capitalism.” Also driving this anger were groups like the John Birch Society (which still exists) talking about Communist infiltration into the civil rights movement and the Democratic Party, a trifecta of a conspiracy theory. Barth mentions how well-funded the groups were by wealthy donors and corporations.
And here’s one more tidbit: “Most frenetic of the fanatics is the group calling itself the Minutemen…They have actually organized themselves into armed bands of civilian guerrillas.” President John F. Kennedy didn’t say he understood how they felt. He mocked such extremism for being idiotic.
If you can, read the whole article. So many of Barth’s observations hold true for today.
Of course, like most of us, Barth was a bit too optimistic in his conclusions: “Genuine conservatives devoted to the nation’s traditions, values and institutions will be reluctant to identify themselves with the extremists or to make common cause with them.” He saw them losing power. And then Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater in 1964, and they never looked back.
Dammit. I wasn’t going to watch the Inaugural concert on HBO. Too much hype. Too much everything. I even slept through my wake up call from Star, telling me that Springsteen was opening the show. But I got up anyway, and I’m watching from the sofa, fuzzy slippers on, and swathed in my fuzzy bathrobe. I’ve endured a ton of “great” musicians doing heart-felt, but less than magnificent songs. And then came U2. Fuck that Bono. He was the only one to dare. He called this a dream come true for not just America, but for Ireland. For Europe. For Africa. For Israel. And (deep breath, judges the mood of the crowd) for Palestinians. And then sang the most political of the songs.
And here’s our new president, calling out the challenges that we face. If only we could name names, and say that this is all the fault of that rat bastard, George W. Bush and his evil overlord, Dick Cheney.
I am so inspired by Mr.Obama. What an orator. This is a new Camelot. A call to service, a call to unity and a call to reclaim our country from the venality of the past eight years.
Damn it. Maybe it’s my cold, and stress, but I have a feeling that I’m going to be crying a lot over the next few days.
Oh great. Pete Seeger, his grandson, Bruce, and some school glee club and we are all singing “This Land is Your Land”. Do we get my favorite verse? The one about on the other side of the sign, it didn’t say nothing… Oh my fucking god. We do. That side was made for you and me. Dammit. Crying again. And so is Pete.
You know what? After all these years, I think we won. And by we, I mean the liberals and activists of the 60s.
I saw this the other night and knew that as soon as it came on youtube, it was going to go on Girlyshoes. Do you think that Bob Dylan would be hurt to know that he is fast being replaced by Keith Olbermann as my imaginary boyfriend? I’m not having naughty dreams about Keith, that’s still all Bob, all the time, but geez, can Keith do some righteous indignation.
I changed my side bar. I decided that with the election over and Obama in transition mode, that the Bush countdown could go. I read the Newsweek post-election edition cover to cover. I know that the next four years are going to be rough because of what was done to us over the last eight, but I want to look ahead to our bright future.
I had an interesting conversation the other day. A woman I work with told me that she’d been at a time share pitch and the presenter asked “how many of you fought for your country?” And she knew (it being just before Veterans’ Day) that the intent was to find out how many veterans of the armed forces were in the audience. But my friend, she thought of what she does day in and day out, and what her political stance is, and she decided, hell… She fights for her country every day. So she raised her hand as her husband poked her in the ribs and said “you’ve never served in the military.” But, she said, I vote. And I write letters. And I talk about issues. And I make sure people at the end of life have the right sort of support and care. I think that means I’m fighting for this country.
I told her that I agreed. She does. I do. All of us who refused to stand by quietly during this last administration, as it teetered to fascism and stripped away our rights and tore up the constitution, all of us were members of the resistance. Freedom fighters. So yeah, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Those wonderful folks at MoveOn.org are handing out free Shepard Fairey stickers to commemorate the great events of Tuesday. I ordered mine. Go ahead and order yours. The numbers are flying by faster than the digits on a gas pump filling up a Hummer.
And doesn’t the air smell fresh? Isn’t the sky blue and clear? Isn’t it a glorious day in our America? You know the one: the non-fear-mongering, non-hate-mongering, color-blind and intelligent America? The only thing that has taken some of the shine out of my eyes this morning is that my state (which voted blue for the first time since Johnson) also chose to legislate hatred and bigotry under the guise of “marriage protection”. Self-righteous zealots.
Last night as we were toasting the end of our national nightmare known as the Bush presidency, MJ said: “they left us a burning, sinking hulk of a ship of state, but damn it, it’s OUR ship now.” And we drank to that. The scene outside of the White House was a shock to me. Was that a spontaneous demonstration? Was it only my imagination that had the crowd illuminated by burning torches, and were there really buckets of hot tar, barrels of feathers and a large rail? Star (who is in HR) asked if it would be possible for Bush to take an early retirement? Could he join the DROP? (deferred retirement option program).
We all sat and watched as John McCain gave a gracious and seemingly genuine concession speech. And then we all agreed that the man who delivered that was not the same man who had run the dirtiest, slimiest campaign in modern civilization. The John McCain who conceded was the John McCain who ran in 2000 and was destroyed by that same slime-slinging. That man was one that all of us die-hard Yellow Dog Democrats agreed, we could have lived with and respected had he won against the Shrub. But he didn’t and then he sold his soul to the evil overlords in an attempt to get to the White House.
We all watched and speculated as to why Palin was only shown from behind. And then we saw her from the front: squinchy little puss face. I wonder what she was thinking, since she had gone on record with her belief that the election was in the hands of God, whose will would be revealed and that she knew that it was the will of God that she and Johnny Maverick would steer us all to the Rapture. Was she wrestling with her God? Was she considering that maybe a shotgun wedding would not be in Bristol’s future, after all? Was she just peeved that Johnny wasn’t letting her speak, which she clearly was expecting? And what was that murderous look on the face of the First Dude? Was he thinking about what a waste of time it was to be wearing that fancy suit, when he could just be in a flannel shirt and jeans back in the family chopper shooting wolves? Or was he considering the possibilities of a hunting trip with Dick Cheney?
Finally it was our generation’s moment of Camelot, and Barack Obama came out to thank his supporters, and his machine and his people. Who are his people? All of us Americans, whether the bitter and failed right wants to be or not. All that gloating back in 2000 that we whiney liberals should just suck it up, that’s coming back to bite their collective asses, non? Our president-elect called on us all to do the right thing, to accept that this will be a hard fight to bring America back to glory. He told us that we will all be required to sacrifice. And all of us in my living room nodded and said yes, yes we will.
It was a moment or ten of brilliant and impassioned oratory, delivered by a man who can think and reason. My campaign button (Return complete sentences to the White House) seemed even more fitting. What a wonderful speech. What a wonderful contrast to the inarticulate chimp and his demonic overlord that we’ve suffered under for the past eight years.
I repeat: Is this not a beautiful day? How soon can we start with the war crimes trials?
Well, it’s a hukilau at the Casita de Zapatos. We have a full house: MJ & RJ, Star & the Number 3 Surrogate Daughter, and Yogi & BooBoo (the RLA and I are a given). The first howl of delight fantastic came not five minutes ago with the announcement that Florida Governor Charlie Christ had to return to Tallahassee on “urgent legal business” and could not stay with Twitchy McCancer Jowls and the FemBot Veep at their victory dance. Schnort. And now, Ohio has been called for Obama and Florida is tipping bluer and bluer. Bwahhahahahahaha. And now New Mexico, that boil on the ass of the high desert has also been called for Senator Obama. We’re looking at 200 electoral votes and it isn’t even 10.
ETA: it’s 10, and Iowa just went into the Obama column. Whee. Florida is still too close to call, but it’s still wobbling like it’s gonna tip to blue. North Carolina is now showing blue on MSMNBC’s map. And Arizona is too close to call.
ETA: It’s 11:04 and the talking heads at Fox are giving Obama 297 electoral votes, and slitting their wrists. Here at the Casita, I’m cracking the champagne. America, let’s light up a cigarette, and talk about how good it was.
This is it. This is my last pre-election post. The fate of the free world is in the hands of the American voting public, and the machinations of the Machievellian Republican party. I’m terrified that this election will be stolen, like the last two. My boss, the political wonk, assures me that this won’t happen. He’s predicting an electoral college vote of 350 for Obama. I’m predicting civil war if he loses.
Here’s the stump speech that Bruce Springsteen’s been giving for Barack Obama. I can’t say it better.
BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN’S COMMENTS FROM THE STAGE AT CLEVELAND’S VOTE FOR CHANGE RALLY
November 2, 2008
It’s great to be here today among friends. I’d like to thank Senator Obama and his folks for inviting me. I’ve been here many times since 1973, but never on a day as glorious as this one. We are at the crossroads.
I’ve spent 35 years writing about America and its people. What does it mean to be an American? What are our duties, our responsibilities, our reasonable expectations when we live in a free society? I saw myself less as a partisan for any particular political party, than as an advocate for a set of ideas. Economic and social justice, America as a positive influence around the world. Truth, transparency and integrity in government. The right of every American to a job, a living wage, to be educated in a decent school, to a life filled with the dignity of work, promise, and the sanctity of home. These are the things that make a life, that build and define a society. These are the things we think of on the deepest level, when we refer to our freedoms. Today those freedoms have been damaged, and curtailed by eight years of a thoughtless, reckless, and morally adrift administration.
I spent most of my life as a musician measuring the distance between the American dream and American reality. For many Americans who are today losing their jobs, their homes, seeing their retirement funds disappear, who have no health care, or who have been abandoned in our inner cities, the distance between that dream and their reality has never been greater or more painful. I believe Senator Obama has taken the measure of that distance in his own life and work. I believe he understands in his heart the cost of that distance in blood and suffering in the lives of everyday Americans. I believe as president he would work to bring that dream back to life, and into the lives of many of our fellow Americans, who have justifiably lost faith in its meaning.
In my job, I travel around the world, and occasionally play in big stadiums, just like Senator Obama. I continue to find everywhere I go that America remains a repository for people’s hopes and desires. That despite the terrible erosion of our standing around the world, for many we remain a house of dreams. One thousand George Bushes and one thousand Dick Cheneys will never be able to tear that house down. That is something only we can do, and we’re not going to let that happen.
This administration will be leaving office, dumping in our laps the national tragedies of Katrina, Iraq, and our financial crisis. Our house of dreams has been abused, looted, and left in a terrible state of disrepair. It needs defending against those who would sell it down the river for power, influence or a quick buck. It needs strong arms, hearts and minds. It needs someone with Senator Obama’s understanding, temperateness, deliberativeness, maturity, pragmatism, toughness and faith. But most of all it needs us. You and me. All a nation has that keeps it from coming apart is the social contract between its’ citizens. Whatever grace God has deemed to impart to us resides in our connections with one another, in honoring the life, the hopes, the dreams, of the man or woman up the street, or across town. That’s where we make our small claim upon heaven. In recent years that contract has been shredded and as we look around today, it is shredding before our eyes. But today we are at the crossroads.
I’m honored to be here on the same stage as Senator Obama. From the beginning, there has been something in Senator Obama that has called upon our better angels, I suspect, because he has had a life where he has so often had to call upon his. We’re going to need all the angels we can get on the hard road ahead. Senator Obama helped us rebuild our house big enough for the dreams of all our citizens. For how well we accomplish this task will tell us what it means to be an American in the new century, what’s at stake, and what it means to live in a free society. So I don’t know about you, but I want my country back, I want my dream back, I want my America back. Now is the time to stand together with Barack Obama and Joe Biden and the millions of Americans that are hungry for a new day, roll up our sleeves and come on up for the rising.
Tonight, we’ll be watching and praying and drinking at the Casita de Zapatas. I’m too afraid to ice the champagne, so it’ll be vodka, at least for a while. Come on, America. Do the right thing.