2012-05-11 / Columnists

The Progressive

By John Paul Culotta

Often, I am compelled to examine my views and I begin to understand that political decisions are too complex for simple labels.

Our nation’s history is never completely understood and our vision of how politics operates causes most of us to lose hope in our political system. Too many of us are so disillusioned that we often forfeit our civic duty by not exercising our right to vote. This allows the most reactionary of our powerful leaders to achieve their goals.

Both of our major political parties are following neo-liberal policies of austerity in an era of mass deprivation and despair causing the recession to continue.

In Europe too, elected governments have been replaced by unelected governments, at the bequest of the financial markets.

Systematic fraud continues unregulated and unpunished. Young people often in heavy debt are faced with unemployment or trapped in unrewarding occupations with no relief in sight; at the same time older Americans are not retiring because of insufficient economic security and our leaders wish to increase the age of retirement.

Inflation caused by a dramatic increase in energy prices is slowing growth. Meanwhile, banks and Wall Street appear to be thriving. Millions of Americans are now suffering dire economic stress and for the most part both parties do not have any solutions for the poverty in our midst.

It is true poverty is the result of poor decisions made by the poor.

It is also true that systematic and fundamental structural abuses by the financial industry and American political, economic, academic, and social elite make poverty difficult and for many impossible to overcome.

Our political leaders of both parties want us to believe these abuses can be alleviated by destroying teachers unions, cutting services, and eliminating progressive taxation.

Our democracy is at risk and reforms must be made. This is why we should be upset with the frivolous coverage of Mitt Romney and the president the past weeks in the media.

It leaves me with a righteous indignation.

Ideas and possible solutions are not part of the campaign for the White House. We are subject to personal and human interest puff that makes the election a personality or beauty contest.

We should be relieved that some Americans are going to the streets to dramatize the situation. You may not agree with the Occupy movement but you must admit the participants are similar to biblical prophets who cried out truth to power.

Their truth may not be your truth and yet democracy is messy.

Our civic leaders nationwide are suppressing the movement our media is ignoring it by not reporting on the events. And every day in cities all across America small groups are out there demanding dignity for honest labor, humanity for the physically and mentally challenged, for those without adequate shelter, and for humane police practices, and economic justice.

Our religious and political leaders should speak out for justice – not for humiliating charity.

Sacrifice should be shared by all the social and economic divisions of society – not just for the poor and struggling middle class.

Poverty affects all members of society and is a danger to democracy and a civil political society.

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