Let every American, every lover of liberty, every well wisher to his posterity, swear by the blood of the Revolution, never to violate in the least particular, the laws of the country; and never to tolerate their violation by others.

As the patriots of seventy-six did to the support of the Declaration of Independence, so to the support of the Constitution and Laws, let every American pledge his life, his property, and his sacred honor; let every man remember that to violate the law, is to trample on the blood of his father, and to tear the charter of his own, and his children's liberty.

Let reverence for the laws, be breathed by every American mother, to the lisping babe, that prattles on her lap; let it be taught in schools, in seminaries, and in colleges; let it be written in Primers, spelling books, and in Almanacs; let it be preached from the pulpit, proclaimed in legislative halls, and enforced in courts of justice. And, in short, let it become the political religion of the nation; and Let the old and the young, the rich and the poor, the grave and the gay, of all sexes and tongues, and colors and conditions, sacrifice unceasingly upon its altars.

While ever a state of feeling, such as this, shall universally, or even, very generally prevail throughout the nation, vain will be every effort, and fruitless every attempt, to subvert our national freedom.

- Abraham Lincoln, January 27, 1838
  Address Before the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Open letter to my Representatives

To my senators and representative:

As a constituent - a socially progressive/fiscally conservative Independent (if you can wrap your mind around that -- we're the ones who fall through the cracks;) I have taken my share of personal hits during the Bush administration.

We're struggling through these tough financial times and have been for some time. There are few of us left these days who aren't struggling. People are losing their houses and their jobs. Its a mess out here.

After Katrina, I started really paying attention. I saw what happened to New Orleans, the lies that led us into the Iraq war fiasco (and who benefited from it, financially.) I saw that contractors in Iraq where making millions of dollars, as were the oil companies... while billions of our treasury dollars were vanishing into thin air. The government - executive and congress - that took this nation to war obviously wasn't funding body armor for our troops, and it wasn't paying to take care of them when they returned home injured. But there was more than enough cash lying around (and disappearing) to create an entire boom industry of war profiteers.

Yes, I started paying attention... and frankly am amazed that congress ever let this looting party go on for 8 years without any intervention. Are they simply asleep at the wheel? Or serving lobbyist interests over the interests of the nation as a whole?

I have now seen enough. Our government is in the hands of robber barons holding a gun in our face and emptying our wallets. Unless you plan to do something for the taxpayers this time instead of simply bowing to lobbyist interests, I literally won't vote for you. I know when I'm being represented... and when I'm being thrown to the dogs.

There is a reason that congress polls lower even than Bush; and his poll numbers are the lowest in history. We expected you to do something about these wild excesses and overreaches of power. Most of you stood by and did nothing. Worse than that, you collaborated. Pelosi is the poster child for collaboration and betrayal. Betrayal upon betrayal.

I laugh when I see the surprise among pundits and the media, when confronted with the rage out here. Until an election year, no one was paying attention. We've been on 'ignore' for a long, long time.

Eight years ago there was a surplus and a balanced budget. Now everything is falling apart; nationally and locally (and don't even get me started about climate change -- I saw neighboring towns entirely under water this summer! Even conservative Hoosiers know something is drastically wrong with the weather.)

We're fed up. What you are seeing is the tipping point... Democrat and Republican alike, fed up. Masses of us have left our previous (but unrecognizable) parties and have become angry Independents.

I am thus writing to request that you vote NO to a Wall Street bailout and support a fair deal for Main Street - and that includes actually protecting us from these robbers, not handing over whatever they want and then asking us to foot the bill. This disaster happened because of their recklessness and rampant greed. A band-aid isn't going to fix that.

Economists all seem to agree that this bailout will be disastrous for our economy in the long run... and those of us who live in this country will have to live in that 'long run.' We don't have our money safely ensconced in Dubai.

The legislation should include these five points:

1. Reform Bankruptcy Laws - fix it for everyone! We can't consume if we're homeless and jobless. The leading cause of bankruptcy in this country is health care costs. FIX IT. Fix the root cause for a change. Isn't that why you're there?

2. Provide a Stimulus for Main Street –Aid to the Real Economy, because that trickle down thing isn't happening. Instead we're seeing a 'trickle out of the country' effect. The elite of this country don't want wealth 'trickling down' to us. They want absolute power - and power is consolidated wealth. That is now obvious to nearly everyone; thus the rage.

3. Make Wall Street Speculators Pay for the Bailout – no more debt dumped on the taxpayers. Our nation is in hoc to China for this stupid Iraq war... and speculators made a killing on that one financially, did they not? Halliburton... now headquartered in Dubai. It was all a giant money laundering operation.

4. Shut down the Casino: Rein in the Unregulated Financial Sector. Yes regulation. Obviously they can't and won't regulate themselves... it goes against human nature, even if it looks great on paper. These people are too greedy to regulate themselves and they're destroying our country in their rampage.

5. Provide Limits on CEO Pay and Prohibitions on Profiteering from the Bailout -- because you know Paulson won't do it. These are his friends.

Should the bailout, or "rescue plan" fail to embrace these points, vote “NO” on the bailout legislation until it is fixed. This is supposed to be a representative government. Prove that you remember that.

The House stood up to the pressure in the first round... stand firm! We can't afford any caving now; not until this is hashed out so that everyone is represented and the dollar is protected. Surely this is important enough that you can take the time to do it right!

I am very angry about any potential free ride for greedy bankers. I am also very worried that any bailout - and this would lead to many bailouts, not just one - will cause the dollar to collapse. This is a very real danger, expressed by the brightest economists in our country. I am sure Bush has his cash safely banked offshore, perhaps in yen... but we don't, and generations of Americans will pay for whatever you do today, and whatever effect your actions have on our struggling economy.

Haste is the enemy. Fear (the favorite tactic of the Bush administration) is getting old and bitter. That wolf has been cried so many times now we're just not afraid anymore. We're done with this.

Someone has to fight for our country and if you won't do it, this country will fall into a depression to dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s. Have we no leaders left in this country? Leaders that put nation first?

The anger out here is very, very real; and it is growing. It is also increasingly bipartisan, in spite of the corporate media. We've realized that we're all suffering together. And that is the kind of real common ground that eclipses outdated party mantras.

I will express my response in the ballot box should the bailout for Wall Street pass without a fair deal for taxpayers footing the bill. And believe me... you have no idea how many Independents like myself view this as the final and ultimate betrayal by a government that has completely forgotten about the people of this country.

Thank you.

To those of you in the House, from Indiana... I was very proud. Please don't cave.

I am counting on Republicans to remember what it once meant to be Republican: let the market work as intended. I am also counting on the Democrats to remember the needs of the masses -- people... not just corporations.

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