Friday, March 11, 2005

Speaking in One Voice

I was reading today about the scattered nature of the progressive resistance in politics. The wingnuts speak in one voice, including the blogs in Wingnuttia, whereas we righteous ones all muse about whatever happens to crop into our minds that day. In other words, we don't march in lock-step (or goose-step, either), which is mostly a good thing and necessary for true democracy. But there are days when it would be useful to coordinate the progressive blogs' messages a little bit more. Today is one of those days (and I'm sleepy), so I'm going to magnify something that Atrios talked about today. Which is Representative Rangel's excellent speech about the dirty tactics that the administration employs in trying to destroy Social Security. Here is Rep. Rangel:

Yesterday, as part of his pitch for privatizing Social Security, President Bush stated that opponents of privatization "say certain people aren't capable of investing...It kind of sounds like to me, you know, a certain race of people living in a certain area." (USA Today)

"It is clear that in their desperation to rescue their privatization plan, the White House has sunk to a new low. How far will they go? The White House strategy seems to be to sow divisions - young and old, men and women, Black and White, North and South - to achieve their political goals. The Republicans figure if they can divide the nation, they can conquer Social Security.

First, Republicans said that they would consider providing African American workers with a different level of benefits based on their race.

That did not go anywhere, so President Bush and his allies claimed that Social Security is a bad deal for African Americans, since African Americans tend to have a shorter life expectancy. But Blacks have a shorter life expectancy because of higher infant and teen mortality - problems that the Bush Administration has cruelly ignored. With its disability and survivor benefits, as well as retirement benefits, Social Security actually is a slightly better deal for African Americans than for the general population.

Now, the White House has changed its tune again and is saying that those of us who oppose privatization are somehow racist. This is totally outrageous. No one is saying that any certain group cannot invest - we are saying that no matter who you are, you need one asset that you can depend on, no matter what. That asset is Social Security. Without it, almost 60 percent of African American seniors would live in poverty as would millions and millions of other older Americans of all races.

The only thing easier than making money on Wall Street is losing money on Wall Street. That may be fine if you have the money, but for the millions of Americans that depend on Social Security for their survival, their independence, and their peace of mind, they can't afford to take the President's gamble.

Divide et impera, anyone? It worked for the Roman Empire, for a time.