Sunday, October 24, 2010

Election 2010--Open Letter to Democrat and Independent Friends

I sent this letter to our local newspaper: the Plattsburgh Press-Republican but seems worthwhile to offer to others across America:

An Open Letter to my Democrat and Independent Friends:

With a little over a week before Election Day I thought it useful to reach out to my fellow Democrats and Independents. I’m concerned about our nation’s future if this election goes to the Republican Party bolstered by its Tea Party extremists. As I talk to old friends, often liberals and independents, I am struck by how little enthusiasm they display for this President and the achievements of the last two years. Many say health reform was too compromised, others are upset that the stimulus package offered more help to banks than beleaguered home-owners; many are upset that we haven’t seen a new CCC or jobs program to provide needed jobs to the unemployed; more complain that President Obama has not acted more decisively to bring our troops home from Iraq and Afghanistan. Fair enough. Cogent points all. I agree with these reasonable cravats.

Yet, speaking as an American historian, this President, this Democratic Congress, has faced the most difficult moment in American history since the simultaneous onslaught of the Great Depression and the foreign threat of the Nazi fascists and Japanese war lords. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, FDR, used the vast power of the American government to bring our nation out of the horrific crash caused by unregulated, unrestrained, Capitalism. In so doing he saved Capitalism. As Democrats have done once more, moderate, middle of the road, American democrats, have once more saved the American enterprise system from its own excesses. The Party of No brought us to this point of collapse, as they did in Hoover’s day. Now they and, the leaders of the Know-Nothing Tea Party, complain that Obama is leading us down the road to Socialism. Former NY Governor Pataki was in Plattsburgh, NY in recent days complaining about Big Government and the threat of Socialism. What a joke.

Yes, it’s true, this President, with a razor slim working margin in the Senate, passed legislation that brought our financial system back from total collapse (supported even by Henry Paulson, President George W. Bush’s Secretary of Treasury); he also built on the social safety net begun by FDR and expanded under Lyndon Johnson (it’s amazing to see all those Tea Party folks cashing those social security checks and using Medicare to pay their private hospital bills); he passed historic new regulations for the banking and financial system; he brought combat operations to an end in Iraq (the insane war brought to us by the lying Bush administration) and President Obama has given us a date for the beginning of a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan (in contrast to the “secret” end of the War in Vietnam promised us by Republican President Richard Nixon).

I say to my Democrat and Independent friends, to all the citizens of northern New York as well as in this country, that while President Obama has perhaps not done enough to clean up Wall Street, to bring us a single-payer health system, to end both wars in the dangerous Middle East—nevertheless, he has done much--and he needs our support. We need to get out and vote, stop sitting on our hands, and, in NY's 23rd congressional district, support Bill Owens for Congress. All the other progressive Democratic candidates running for office in this country need our contributions now: send a few dollars, go door-to-door, get your friends out, get your neighbors out and, make sure you vote.
Corky Reinhart
Plattsburgh, NY
October 24, 2010

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