Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Politics and Sacrifice

This is one of those topics I have been wanting to write about for some time, but never found the hook. Pontificating on politics is easy, but talk about sacrifice, who does that anymore? We live in a society that reveres athleticism, glamour, celebrity, wealth and many other not-so-worthy attributes. Sacrifice, civic responsibility, altruism are so like, last century.

Also, the subject always veers in religion and a tirade against those bible-thumping, self-serving pimps to big business like Tom DeLay and W, who preach a personal relationship with Jesus, but act in the antithesis of his teachings, and the so-called religious right, who pay lip-service to Christianity, but are actually more interested in forcing their self-centered moralism on the rest of America and the world. For some reason sacrifice is not one of their talking points.

It was, however, the center focus of last night's Katy Area Democrats meeting from both speakers, Barbara Ann Radnofsky and Chris Bell. Radnofsky is the Democratic nominee for US senate, running against Kay Bailey Hutchison R-TX, and Chris Bell is the Democratic nominee for Texas Governor, running against Governor Goodhair (Rick Perry), Carole Keeton (McClellan Rylander) Strayhorn, and Kinky Friedman. Both candidates invoked the age old concepts of public good, responsible citizenship, and yes, sacrifice. Coincidence, I think not; more likely a convergence of good politics and good policy. Is this part of Howard Dean's 50 state program? I certainly hope so.

Ms. Radnofsky spoke quite candidly of her grandfather and father's service in WW I & II. She reminded us of the sacrifices asked of all Americans during these times of crises, and she asked, "After 9/11, what sacrifice was asked of you? Go shopping!" People lined up outside blood banks after the terrorist attacks because they wanted to give of themselves, but were told go spend money instead. What a waste of human potential.

Bell pointed out what a good job the Republicans have done since Bush was enthroned in 2000, of calling everyone who disagrees with them "out of the mainstream." Question Iraq, warrantless wiretaps or deficit spending and you are "out there." Mention global warming, the healthcare crisis or the failing middle class, and you are "one of the fanatical left." His plan is to call for a "new mainstream," one that combines the people's outrage at what has happened in this country in the last six years with a call for sacrifice that Americans should willingly give.

Americans want to be safe from terrorism, but they should also want to be free from a government bent on destroying the constitution in the process. Americans should know that energy independence and alternative sources of power will improve our national security, our economy and our world from global warming. Americans should want the country to be prosperous, but not at the expense of the middle class who pay most the bills, the elderly who have already given so much, or our children, who are our future. Americans should demand leaders who deal honestly with these and all other issues of the day.

It is not pessimistic, fanatical or outside the mainstream to want to confront the difficult issues that lay ahead and be willing to work hard, to sacrifice, to overcome obstacles and achieve greatness again. It is the earliest known American Value and one that still exists today. Chris Bell and Barbara Ann Radnofsky know this, and they deserve our respect, our money and our vote.

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