Populism. John Edwards’ campaign is considered by many to have populist themes; lifting up the working class, fighting for the middle class, healthcare for everyone and eliminating poverty. These are concepts that we should embrace. We should help those who can’t help themselves. John Edwards tells every American that he will fight for them.
The defining attribute that makes Edwards appealing may be the reason why he won’t win the nomination. He won’t take money from corporations, lobbyists, or special interest groups. He is being outspent by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton by a ratio of 5 to 1. Obama and Clinton have been taking money from lobbyists and corporations. Edwards believes you have to fight the corporations and moneyed interests that have a stranglehold on America. He wants to take back America and make the government work for the people.
Bipartisanship is great, but look what has happened over the last 8 years with the Republicans in power. Scorched earth politics by the Neocons have run this country into the ground. We were lied into a war that should have never been started. There have been so many scandals from the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame to the partisan firing of the U.S. Attorneys to the Jack Abramoff lobbyist scam to no bid contracts to Halliburton to unchecked executive orders by Bush. And the list goes on and on. The Democrats had a big win in November of 2006. The result has been the failure of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid to hold the Bush Administration accountable for abuse of power. The Congress and Senate have folded on votes to stop funding the Iraq War and failed on votes to amend the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act. The housing crisis has been a national tragedy with millions of people losing their homes. The economy is tanking and the country seems to be heading into a recession. Another mission accomplished by George Bush. The Democrats have kowtowed to the Republicans and it has been a bipartisanship disaster.
It seems that some Democrats are afraid to speak truth to power and vote their conscience. They would rather vote to preserve their political futures. I want someone to fight for our rights, someone who will fight for the average American. John Edwards seems like the only candidate who is pushing this issue and driving the Democratic Party in the right direction. It’s time for the Democrats to start acting like Democrats. This populist message works. It worked with Franklin Delano Roosevelt. When you stand up for what you believe in and do the right thing, not only for yourself, but for your country, people will follow. Edwards is campaigning based on what he believes is right. He is not pandering based on studies by focus groups to run toward the middle to convince Independents and Republicans to vote for him. He is running toward the base of his party. That happens to be the direction of the left. That is the direction where all Americans should be heading.
The great conservative revolution started when Ronald Reagan took office where greed was considered a virtue and lying was a tool to push policy. Conservative doctrine spiraled out of control as the Neocons of George W. Bush’s administration have taken this nation to a dark place where only the rich get richer, the middle class gets squeezed and the population at the poverty level increases. Greed doesn’t work. It’s time for a Liberal revolution.
I couldn’t write it in any better, so I’ll have to quote from the movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This is an excerpt from a monologue by the character George Bailey. George’s father, Peter Bailey has just died. In this scene George Bailey is standing up to the antagonist, Henry F. Potter, so he can save his father’s Building and Loan business.
“…He didn’t save enough money to send Harry to school, let alone me. But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what’s wrong with that? Why . . . Here, you’re all businessmen here. Doesn’t it make them better citizens? Doesn’t it make them better customers? You . . . you said . . . What’d you say just a minute ago? . . . They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they’re so old and broken-down that they . . . Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars? Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you’re talking about . . . they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath? Anyway, my father didn’t think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they’re cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you’ll ever be!”
Except for the top five percent who benefited the most from George Bush’s tax cuts, the rest of us are the “rabble” George Bailey said Mr. Potter was talking about. One can say that Henry Potter symbolizes present day corporate America and our government. In the real world we do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this country. Don’t we, the rabble, deserve a government that represents us and not corporations and special interest groups? Don’t we deserve universal healthcare? Don’t we deserve at least a $10.00 hour minimum wage? Don’t we deserve civil rights under the Constitution and not a President who grants overreaching power to himself? Don’t we deserve to have our voices heard when the majority of us believe we should bring our troops home from Iraq? At the very least we deserve all of these things. We are not being heard.
We watch the news that is reported by millionaires talking about the millionaires running for President who will look out for the interests of millionaires who donated to their campaigns. It’s true that John Edwards is rich, but he came from a working class family. He spent almost 20 years of his life fighting the rich and powerful as a trial lawyer representing plaintiffs who were victims of corporate and medical malpractice. His money came from the large settlements he won on behalf of his clients malpractice suits. He’s a proven winner when in comes to representing the underdog against those with wealth and power.
When I see John Edwards speak I believe that he will fight for us. He is leading by example by not taking corporate money. When I see Hillary Clinton I see the finely tuned Clinton machine going after power and a presidency she somehow believes she is owed. When I see Barack Obama I see a candidate who has only revealed the part of himself that has been safely tested by his handlers and advisors. I hope to see the real Obama soon. John Edwards might not win the nomination because of lack of funds and because of his tough message. If he doesn’t win it will be partly because the corporate run media doesn’t like his anti-corporate platform.
As the country is enamored with the historical significance of both a woman and African-American running for President with the two candidates slinging mud at each other on a daily basis, John Edwards’ populist message doesn’t get the coverage it deserves. He is saying all the right things at a time in history when these issues need to be addressed. The citizens of this country need to be allowed to progress and break the bonds of corporate greed. We need to get out of Iraq and bring about change to an ineffective government. We need someone who will fight for that change. I will vote for John Edwards on February 5th in my state’s primary. I hope you will too.