Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

The presidential candidates have made their final arguments.  I've been making a final electoral argument too, on the political sites I frequent, arguing that for many people whose lives are affected by disabilities, this election hinges on Medicaid.  (Prof. Paul Krugman of the New York Times has made the Medicaid argument too, so I'm not alone in this.)

However, when I went and looked at my closing argument regarding the Walker recall here in Wisconsin this past June, I realized that what I said then still does a great job of summing up this presidential election, from a different emphasis.  Here's what I said [with a few additions in square brackets]:


Walker's Wisconsin represents a future that the wealthiest of the far-right have been coordinating and working toward in America for decades now.  I didn't understand it until the events of last February [2011] opened my eyes.  But it is real, it is dire, and it has been in process of happening for years now in this country.  The end-game is plutocracy -- government by the wealthy, for the wealthy.

That's what the ginned-up anger about taxes is about -- so the wealthiest and their corporations can continue to pay less and less toward the common good.

That's what the privatization movement is about -- private prisons, private schools, private all-sorts-of-things that have traditionally been public enterprises but are in the process of claiming more and more tax dollars to the profiteering benefit of the few.

That's what demonizing unions is about -- the last coordinated voices on behalf of workers, who have already seen wages stagnate over the past few decades, falling further and further behind the rising cost of living, while CEO pay rises into the stratosphere and the wealthiest of the wealthy hoover up the lion's share of the past decades' economic gains.

That's why money has been defined as free-speech -- for the purposes of buying electoral majorities in both the courts and the legislatures, so that the plutocratic policies can pass with unstoppable margins.  (Witness the astonishing flow of big-donor dollars, 70% from out of state, to the Walker coffers.)  [This time around in Wisconsin it's the Baldwin/Thompson US Senate campaign, which has attracted more outside spending than any other national race this cycle other than the presidency and a Senate race in Virginia.]

By the money-is-speech definition, disability issues tend to be pretty darn silent as well.  I've written before about the ALEC threats to insurance mandates, the devastating and irresponsible cap on Wisconsin's Family Care program (which the federal government subsequently forced the state to lift), the (so-far unsuccessful) attempts to privatize special education in Wisconsin.  The disability lobby is not a wealthy one.  We've got people-power -- but not money-power.

Wisconsin's issues are a microcosm of a nationwide takeover.  I've come to believe that plutocracy is THE central issue of the upcoming national elections this November.

We need to push back whenever and wherever we can.


Obama for President

Please vote.

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