BY SHARON MARTIN
In the United States, we talk democracy, but we practice minority rule. Sure, we all can vote, at least for the time being, but it is the few with enough money to buy politicians who determine policy.
In the past two decades we have seen the redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the top. Those at the bottom have never fared too well. We have a welfare system, all right, but very few of our tax dollars go to help the less fortunate.
We pay taxes. So do the people in Europe. They get health care and pensions. We prop up banks in Afghanistan and protect oil company profits in Iraq. And as wars drive up the deficit, I see the future of our great country being pawned away in a political game.
My own future is at stake. The Social Security program into which I’ve paid for the past 40-plus years is threatened. The retirement fund I paid into is underfunded and begrudged by legislators whose pensions are insured. Still, I have dreams of what is possible.
I’d like an acknowledgement that workers have rights and that the wealthy get that way in part because of the work of their employees. I don’t begrudge entrepreneurs taking an idea and turning it into millions, but it is the workers who turn the idea into capital with their labor.
I’d like public education to be funded in such a way that all students in America have choices. Every young person should be able to dream. Each should have the opportunity to become an entrepreneur or a public servant or a farmer or a homemaker. Education means real choices.
I’d like legislators and the public to realize that teaching is hard work and that the work teachers do is essential to our citizens’ quality of life.
I’d like affordable healthcare, a system based on prevention and choice instead of corporate earnings.
I want our representatives to represent all constituents and not just those who pony up to pay for their campaigns.
I want to see politicians working together civilly, without bullying and without mowing down the rights of the less fortunate. I’d like to see less manipulation and more participation.
Franklin Roosevelt, in another hard time, said, “The point in history at which we stand is full of promise and danger. The world will either move forward toward unity and widely shared prosperity – or it will move apart.”
What our elected officials do in the next few months will determine the future of our country. What kind of future will it be?
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer