I know some of you will get very upset with me for saying this, but I just have to get this off my chest before we go into the season of insane rhetoric and hyperbole.
This is what I can't get over. Since the 2008 economic crisis, the message from Washington has been: Wall Street is too big to fail, but Main Street is not. We must save the big banks, but the American people can tough it out on their own. For the life of me, I don't understand how we accepted this ridiculous arrangement. We bail out and reward the big banks that caused the loss of over 14 trillion dollars in wealth in the U.S. while we lose our jobs, homes, health care, and pensions. To add insult to injury, we are told it is our fault for being part of the financial system designed by Wall Street and Washington insiders. We lost our money and our self-esteem in the process.
Yes, Obama is much better than Romney. Yes, the GOP has gone off the deep end. I do agree with all that. However, the man who was elected to fight for the people, the party that is supposed to care about the workers and the middle class, helped institutionalize this destructive attitude without putting up much of a fight.
The end result is that the middle class is collapsing and there is no stopping it. Neither Obama nor Romney is offering a course correction.
I feel sick about it and I can't ignore it because now we are in that season -- 99 days to election -- and we are asked to cheer for a team in the Super Bowl of politics.
I can't cheer because I am feeling too heartbroken, too worried, and too alienated from Washington. The only thing that gets my heart pounding about 2012 is the fear of things getting much worse. From all the ads that I have seen from the Obama campaign so far, it seems like the campaign sign should read: FEAR the other guy, not HOPE.
Are we too scared to do something about this? Too scared of Romney and more Tea Party types winning? Too scared to protest because of the brutal police repression we have witnessed cracking down on Occupy and other protesters? Are we going to just witness and suffer the collapse of the American middle class while watching the same old pundits fight about it on cable news?
I'm at a loss. Here is the only idea that I have right now for 2012. We must emerge as a voting bloc: the feared and coveted swing voters. We are fed up with both parties and outraged that Main St has been allowed to fail and our future held hostage to politics.
These are the dire issues that must be addressed:
- How to save Main Street and the middle class (this includes everyone besides the millionaires and billionaires).
- How to stop coddling the super wealthy and redistributing wealth upwards.
- How to fix our electoral and legislative process so that Washington serves the people, not their funders.
- How to create stability, transparency, accountability and fairness on Wall Street.
- How to reduce our debt by focusing on raising revenue and reducing military spending.
- How to stop the wars and close overseas military bases.
- How to protect, not take away, civil liberties and human rights in the US and around the world.
- How to face our biggest problems instead of living in denial: job crisis, foreclosure crisis, climate change, poverty, lack of access to healthcare, rising cost of education, damaging immigration policies.
Candidates who do not address these dire issues honestly and provide real answers for them are not worthy of our vote.
We are in a crisis; there is no time for politics as usual. Our lives are on the line. We can't be expected to just play cheerleader because we fear things could get worse. We are drowning and failing either way because we are simply on the wrong path. It's time to hit reset and if Washington doesn't understand that we must find a way to make our voices heard.
Follow Annabel Park on Twitter: www.twitter.com/annabelpark