As I stood for many long, cold hours on street corners encouraging votes for Martha Coakley, I like others endured endless taunting, epithets and “finger” pointing all in the cause of what Brown partisans called “Taking our country back.” So, just what exactly are we meant to go back to? Here’s a small sampling of the historical record:
Conservatives in America (primarily organized through the Republican Party or its precursors) have opposed almost every important advance in promoting American Democracy and our vital human resources at home, including: the American Revolution that freed us from British rule; the ending of slavery (that forced a civil war resulting in hundreds of thousands of dead Americans); the enactment of the Bill of Rights; removing from the U.S. Constitution the language that held blacks to be only 3/5s human; laws that limit the working day to 8 hours and require overtime pay; the laws banning child labor; allowing women to vote, or to become lawyers or doctors or to serve their country in the regular armed forces; laws requiring employers to pay women equally for doing the same work that men do; civil rights for blacks and other minorities; the creation of Social Security to help seniors live in dignity; the creation of Medicare and Medicaid (to provide health care for populations that private insurance has never been able to figure out how to cover adequately and make a profit); the formation of unions that give workers a voice in their working lives; the Environmental Protection Act; every single consumer protection law ever enacted (that covers things like selling safe cribs for children and so forth).
These are just a few of the hard-won Liberal victories that have built and unleashed the extraordinary, unmatched human resources that make America the strongest force for progress and Democracy in the world.
Now conservatives oppose extending access to (private sector!) health insurance to all Americans. The conservative tea pity-partiers whine about paying a fair share of taxes. These and many other shortsighted, self-defeating efforts weaken America. Our people are our most vital resource. Chinese is now the foreign language most often taught in universities in the U.S. and around the world. Why? Because China subsidizes the pay of teachers of Chinese all around the world! They subsidize their best and brightest students to study in the best universities. Meanwhile, America’s pity-partiers, work feverishly to tear-down the fabric of educational, infrastructure and social supports that build and maintain our vital human resources. China, India and other nations get this. They are investing massively in their human capital the way America once did. Good for them. Memo to tax-cutting conservatives: you might want to urge your kids to learn Chinese.
And to conservatives who want to “Take back America,” hear this: We Liberals are deeply committed to the American project of human progress built on opportunity and Democracy for all. This is the cause of human progress. We will not go back.
Chair, Wayland Dems