’08 Presidential Politics – Determining Policies for the Next Century
As everyone in the country has emphatically stated: this election is the most important of the century.
It’s not important because it has a African American on one ticket and a woman on the other. It’s important because it sets the principles and economics and policies for the next century. At this moment in history, the policies and politics and economics our government enacts will determine the relative importance of the U.S. throughout the next century.
This election should not be viewed as an election for senior citizens or of the near-seniors as one politico put it. This election about the next generation: those who are 18 to 45. The inheritors of our conservatorship of the ship of State.
When I listen to either Obama or McCain, I think about what is best for the upcoming generations who will inherit what we leave behind. I think about what is best for them.
That may sound easy but it’s not. When we boomers began to come of age we felt the government was on our side and they enacted laws to protect us. But this is a whole new age. The country is faced with an economic crisis; a deficit that is out of control; a volunteer military that is spent and tired; a world that has lost its respect for the U.S. and quietly laughs at our fiscal and military mistakes; and an economic outlook that is gloomy at best.
Is this inheritance what you seniors or near-seniors want for your children or grandchildren?
We must change the policies of the past eight years. Not since the early 1900s — the Golden Age — has the economic disparity between ordinary workers and the rich been so extreme. During the Golden Age, millionaires indulged themselves in extravagant parties, with lavish diamond gifts, that lasted up to a week. Meanwhile, ordinary workers lived in cold water flats and thousands died daily as a result of an “unfettered” free market.
When Teddy Roosevelt became aware of the horrible inequities between the Wall Street rich and the working classes, he set about changing governmental policies. He instilled policies protecting workers, including workers rights to organize into unions. He broke up monopolies that prevented competition. He drove worker rights to a safe workplace.
What Sen. McCain fails to explain – or understand – is that Teddy Roosevelt, because of his worker friendly policies, had to start a third political party after his radically worker friendly policies of his second administration. TR’s greatest contributions to America are not his McCain vaunted, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” regarding foreign policy (which was focused solely on Japan and Asia) but on his contributions to the ordinary American worker.
Those worker friendly and open competition policies were TR’s greatest contributions to America. Unfortunately, Sen. McCain does not understand that.
If the U.S. is to once again become a respected world power and have a thriving working class, then we must begin to develop a culture of producing goods rather than just consuming goods. We must develop an attitude of saving rather than conspicuous consumption. We must begin to come together as a whole to compete on a fair and just trade policy with other nations.
We must understand that future generations require us to execute policies that seek to provide for them and their families, rather than just protect and care for the rich amongst us.
We must be willing to think about and care about and give to the next generation. If we don’t do what is right in this election for the next generation, we will have failed them.