VOTE Everyday with the Choices You Make!

choicesJanuary 28, 2013 — Republican Party leaders have no shame.  This past week, we witnessed history with the second inauguration of President Barack Obama.  In his speech, he challenged all Americans to reach to their higher natures, as he spoke of American values of community, equality, and helping the elderly and less fortunate.

Not surprisingly, GOP leaders and their hate machine (Fox, Limbaugh, Beck, et al.) tightly hugged their lower angels and sneeringly dismissed these things as “liberal.”

When did community become “liberal?”  We fought a Civil War to maintain the UNITED States of America.  We tried a confederacy, and it didn’t work, and when the Southern states seceded, it was held together for a greater cause.  In Virginia, we proudly call ourselves not a state, but a “Commonwealth,” which is a community of people united for the purpose of serving and governing for the “common good.”

Equality?  Well, it’s right there in our Declaration “all men are created equal…”, signed by all those liberal founding fathers, and celebrated by Americans each year on July 4.  Enough said.

And supporting programs for the elderly and poor is a value we have supported as a Nation for almost 100 years – and even before that through churches and civic organizations.  Although it has been hotly debated since our founding, supporting the “general welfare” is embedded in our Constitution, primarily giving Congress broad authority to tax and spend monies to promote the general welfare of the Nation.  Since ours is a government of, by and for the people, our democracy reflects our values.  And since the majority of Americans support helping the elderly and poor, we have given our government and elected representatives “permission” to fund these programs, namely Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

This value of service, of helping “the least of these,” was also a commandment of Christ (Matthew 25), along with his two highest commandments – loving God and loving your neighbor.  So, not only is this value embedded in our Constitution, which again, is a living document reflecting our values, it’s embedded in the Bible and Christian values.  It is hardly liberal, and if GOP leaders and their noise machine and base want to dismiss it as liberal, then fine, I – and the majority of Americans – are liberals and are in very, very good company.

What really irritates me is that these same GOP leaders and followers parade their piety and wear Jesus on their sleeves.  But, looking at their agenda, inflammatory rhetoric and reckless actions, they are hardly displaying Christian values.  And we need to call them on it!

Now, we can discuss HOW to manage these programs to ensure efficiencies and cost-effective management, and that IS the duty of elected officials and government employees. But, today, GOP leaders and their base are not acting in good faith when they attack these programs, because they do not wish to contribute anything positive or constructive to that discussion.  They just want to gin up resentment with lies, and slash and burn these programs so they can redirect tax dollars to their priorities, namely a more bloated Pentagon and tax breaks for the wealthy and big corporations.  Their calls for a limited government really means that they want to limit government benefits to their cronies.

The fact of the matter is that in 2008 and again in 2012, the majority of Americans reaffirmed these values with the election and re-election of President Obama.  They are not liberal or conservative.  They are American values, strengthened by the new coalition of Americans that support the President and his agenda.

Make no mistake, though.  The GOP leaders will continue to attack these things, and we need to fight back.  We need to stay engaged.  Speak out. Write letters to the editor and contact our elected officials.  And turn out and VOTE!

Yes, VOTE!   Vote not only in elections, but everyday.

Each day, we vote to support people, products, companies and organizations by the choices we make.  Before you make that choice, whether it’s with your money or your time, find out if it supports your values.  If not, don’t invest.  We can start with Fox – not just Fox News, but all of Fox and News Corp.  That one is easy.  How about others?  Let’s work together to “out” those companies and people who are working against us and our values.  By doing this, we don’t have to wait for elections.   We can make a difference every day.  Each day, by making the right choices that reflect our values, we can make the world a little bit better.


O.Hank! is a local writer, who works in the private sector and has worked in policy positions in local, state and federal levels of government.

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