:: to the teeth ::    thoughts on social justice, medicine, race, hope and beats

"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way.
On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." :: Arundhati Roy ::

"The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any." :: Alice Walker ::
Thursday, June 08, 2006  

May Garriage

Boo: Senator Bill Frist is pathetic for pushing the gay marriage amendment to the floor of the Senate but blocking numerous other important bills from reaching the floor. The power he has as Senate Majority Leader is obscene. I think we need an amendment to broaden who makes decisions on what bills are allowed to be discussed (in committee or on the floor of the house or senate).

Ooh: Lou Dobbs is incensed. Dobbs, a not exactly center of the road kinda guy, gives congress the smackdown. He delves into our education system, poverty, lack of health care access, and our Congress' unrepresentative priorities in his CNN piece:
Dobbs: Gay marriage amendment sheer nonsense

...The president and the Senate's Republican leadership are now claiming that an amendment to our Constitution is necessary to save the American family. No matter how you feel about the issue, and many of us feel deeply, a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage is utter and complete nonsense. It's an insult to the intelligence of every voter, Republican or Democrat, liberal or conservative....

The president and the Senate are focusing on one of the few reasons that has not been proven to cause divorce. They instead should look to financial hardships, and the lack of communication about family finances. The median family income is stagnating while gasoline costs and higher interest rates are eating up the family budget...

Both political parties love to excite and enliven their so-called "bases" by focusing on wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion, gun control, school prayer and flag burning. Both the Republicans and Democrats raise these issues to distract and divert public attention from the pressing issues that affect our way of life and our nation's future.

Are these wedge issues really how Congress should be spending its time, especially given how little time politicians spend in Washington, D.C., these days? I'd rather see our 535 elected representatives and this president use their time to combat poverty, fix our crumbling schools, secure our broken borders and ports and hold employers accountable for hiring illegal aliens. And like millions of Americans, I am desperate for a resolution to our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

How can we tolerate elected officials who press wedge issues when 37 million people in the United States live in poverty, one in every eight Americans? Almost 18 percent of children under the age of 18 live in poverty -- 13 million children.

Nearly 46 million people live without health insurance, about 16 percent of the population, a number that has risen by 6 million since 2000. More than one in 10 children are uninsured, and one-quarter of people with incomes below $25,000 also lack any health insurance.

College costs are skyrocketing. There's been a 40 percent jump (inflation-adjusted) in tuition and fees at public four-year colleges and universities over the past five years, according to the College Board. The costs for brand-name prescription drugs have also increased twice as fast as the rate of inflation. In fact, over the past six years, the average rise in the price of brand-name drugs is 40 percent, according to the AARP.

But while these increases in the price of the basics make it harder for hard-working men and women to make ends meet, the president and Congress would rather drive wedge issues than work toward real solutions.

I wonder if the president's political advisers know just how ill-advised and smarmy this wedge issue looks to the millions of us who want solutions to the critical, urgent problems facing this nation. Worse, I wonder if they even care.

posted by Anjali Taneja | 6/08/2006 12:10:00 AM | |


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