18 March, 2011

He's the One

In 2010, David Koch, spent $250,000 on attack ads in a single week, to defeat him. Mr. Koch, incidentally, inherited his $17 billion fortune from his father. This fortune was made by helping to industrialize and arm the Soviet Union when it was America’s mortal enemy. Along with his brother, Koch is the owner of the second largest private company in the United States. This company, Koch Industries, is one of the top 10 air polluters in the United States and they have caused more than 300 oil spills and paid more than $35 million in pollution fines. Furthermore, Koch Industries received more than $100 million in government contracts in the first decade of the twenty-first century. On a long-standing contract to extract oil from federal and Indian lands, Koch was found guilty of underpaying the government by $21 million.

In the 2010 mid-term elections the "60 Plus Association” poured over $600,000 into negative ads against him. The "60 Plus Association" has been characterized by AARP as a front for PhRMA – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufactures of America.
The Executive Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) said that he was the Republicans’ Number One Target for 2010. The NRCC vowed they would do whatever it took to defeat him. To keep that vow, the NRCC spent $817,000 of its own money. That was in addition to all the other money spent by reactionary funding sources to defeat him.

Sarah Palin sent a Twitter message to her followers to “take him out.”

Glenn Beck described him as a despicable human being. This is precisely how Mr. Beck seems to feel about Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and the evil genius, Woodrow Wilson. Glenn Beck said, “It’s okay if the Republicans lose every seat in the Senate and the House except for one as long as that one is him losing.” Beck then said he was more embarrassing than Al Franken and all his efforts to defend Net Neutrality, cut taxpayer subsidies to oil companies, and protect women working for government contractors from sexual assault.

Mike Huckabee, who falsely asserted President Obama, grew up in Kenya, declared our man to be the “neighborhood bully”. Mr. Huckabee took offense to the “outrageous remarks” attacking insurance companies for denying people both coverage and care due to “pre-existing conditions.”

Newt Gingrich who wrote a bad check to the IRS for nearly $10,000, who carried on an affair while his wife suffered from cancer, who visited his wife in a hospital while she recovered from surgery to discuss a divorce called him “fundamentally dishonorable” and a disgrace. This is the same Newt Gingrich the House of Representatives voted 395 to 28 to reprimand and fined $300,000 for ethics violations. Clearly, Mr. Gingrich knows first-hand about dishonor and disgrace.

Rush Limbaugh declared him “certifiably insane.” Mr. Limbaugh holds no degree at all let alone one in psychology or psychiatry. Mr. Limbaugh was drug addicted for years; Mr. Limbaugh was arrested for criminal fraud; Mr. Limbaugh made fun of Michael J. Fox for having Parkinson’s disease and he called Chelsea Clinton the “White House dog.” Nonetheless, Rush feels entitled to impugn another man’s sanity.

Conservative groups spent $1.7 million to defeat him in the 2010 mid-term campaign. This was just under 20% of their $9 million dollar total expenditures. Yet he represented less than 0.25% of America at the time. This was his first term in Congress. He had no seniority; he did not sit on the most powerful committees.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Democracy for America named him the Number One Hero in the U S House of Representatives. DFA began in 2001 through the leadership of Governor Howard Dean. It has over a million members and seeks to organize support for progressive candidates all over the country.

He routinely refuses to do as he is told. He insists on being candid and even blunt. He will not back down. Progressives cheered his legislative style for its unapologetic self-assurance. He gained prominence as a lawyer by successfully suing wayward military contractors who profited from the American invasion of Iraq in 2003.

He sought to be re-elected for the sake of the battered middle class, the jobless, the homeless, the sick, the poor, the hungry and the desperate. He fought for all those who longed once again to believe in America. He wanted to demonstrate that America could be as good as it should be. He championed the idea and ideals of America, not merely the territory and the populace. For him, America was a premise and a promise. The premise remains sound, but the promise remains unfulfilled. He sought to legislate effectively to move us all closer to where we might and ought to be. In his sole term in Congress, he sought to restore the American dream and end so many American nightmares. He sought to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

He is the one who on Labor Day of 2010 declared:

“Today is Labor Day. All across America, millions of people are discovering that the best way to celebrate Labor Day is by not working.

“Do you live to work, or do you work to live?

“If you are married, look at your wedding album; are there any pictures in there of you at work?

“On your tombstone, do you want it to say, "I wish that I could have spent more time at work"?

“Here is what Robert Kennedy had to say about this, 42 years ago:
"Too much and too long, we seem to have surrendered community excellence and community values in the mere accumulation of material things. Our gross national product ... if we should judge America by that - counts air pollution and cigarette advertising, and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for those who break them. It counts the destruction of our redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and the cost of a nuclear warhead, and armored cars for police who fight riots in our streets. It counts Whitman's rifle and Speck's knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children.

"Yet the gross national product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages; the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage; neither our wisdom nor our learning; neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it tells us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans."

“I look forward to a Labor Day where every worker has a job, every worker has a pension, every worker has paid vacations, and every worker has the health care to enjoy life.

“My opponents call that France. I call it an America that is Number One in health, education, jobs, and happiness, but not number one in wasted military expenditures and the number of foreign lands occupied.

As Robert Kennedy famously said, “I dream things that never were and ask why not?” Why not? Let’s make it happen!

“And then, all of us who are Americans, including the ones today who are jobless, homeless, sick, suffering and almost hopeless, all of us can say, I am proud to be an American.”

On March 12, 2011, he is the one who said,

“Here and around the world, many people have fought and died, so that you and I would have the right to organize. They fought so that 250,000 public workers in Wisconsin would have that right too.”

“This is not exactly a new idea. Six months after the 1914 Ludlow Massacre, President Wilson signed the Clayton Act, prohibiting the prosecution of union members under Antitrust Law. That was almost a century ago.

“Two decades later, during Franklin Roosevelt’s first term as President, he signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. It protects the right to organize. That was over 75 years ago.

The right to organize is also a fundamental principle of international law. Over 150 countries have ratified the “Right to Organize” Convention, an international treaty. It was adopted in 1949, over 60 years ago.

“So why are we even talking about this, 11 years into the 21st Century?
“Because the teabaggers want to "take back America." They want to take it back, all right – take it all the way back to the 19th century. When there was no right to organize. When people worked for a dollar a day. When grown men competed against children for jobs. When women were barred from most jobs entirely. When you worked until you died.

“Not to mention slavery.

“I want to see an America that is healthy and wealthy.

“They want an America that provides cheap labor to our corporate overlords. An America where the middle class is chained by debt.

“We didn't ask for this fight. However, we have no choice except to fight back. For the survival of the middle class in America. For us, for our children, and for our grandchildren. And so that the victims in Haymarket, in Homestead and in Ludlow did not die in vain.”He is Alan Grayson. Until recently, he was a U. S. Congressman from Florida.

But again as Bobby Kennedy said –

"The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of bold projects and new ideas. Rather, it will belong to those who can blend passion, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals of American society."

If the Democratic Party has a genuine, worthwhile future in American politics, Alan Grayson is the one pointing most clearly toward it.

Let us stand up for America as it might and ought to be. Let us stand with Alan Grayson


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