I sometimes think of politics as a football game where each side pushes for yardage. The goalpost ahead of us is a decent democratic society. The one behind us is slavery and want. In all of American history, we have struggled for yardage between those goal posts. The little upright yard markers are the court decisions and legislation that show progress or setbacks.
The 2016 elections will not result in a perfect society. Neither did the 2008 elections, even though, to listen to the complaints, that’s what some voters expected. All things considered, the Obama Administration has been a whole lot better than what might have happened in 2008, and what will happen after 2016 can be a whole lot better than the Republican alternative.
That’s not “Lesser Evil” politics. It’s just an honest assessment of where we are and what the possibilities are in the current election.
The Outlook for Seniors is Promising
Nowadays, I mostly work with the retiree movement. Over the years, my speeches have been long, whiney complaints about all the attacks against the right to retire. There was a lot to whine about. Since Reagan was elected, most pension plans have been lost. Employer-sponsored health care plans have disappeared or been shamefully altered to the advantage of management. Social Security, so far, has not suffered a fatal blow, although several have been fired at it, but it’s been hit hard around the edges. The budget for administering Social Security has been cut so severely that there are empty buildings all over the nation where seniors used to be able to get help, but are gathering dust now. The Republicans in the House of Representatives just voted to cut another $1.2 billion!
Thanks mostly to the Bernie campaign, things are looking up for retirees in 2016. The Democratic Party platform and presidential nominee are publicly committed, not to “saving” the right to retire, but to extending and improving it!
But Seniors Have to Organize and Fight
Older Americans are going to have to do a whole lot more than hope for the best to make the Democratic Party promises come true. Fortunately, the AFL-CIO has made that possible by creating the Alliance for Retired Americans and a bunch of state affiliates.
Over the month from July 26 to August 25, the Texas affiliate scheduled nine separate actions in 6 different cities. Click here for list. The period includes the anniversaries of Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security.
At the July 26 event, State Rep Chris Turner read the words of ex-president Harry Truman on July 30, 1965, when Lyndon Johnson signed the Medicare/Medicaid amendment:
“No longer will older Americans be denied the healing miracle of modern medicine. No longer will illness crush and destroy the savings that they have so carefully put away over a lifetime so that they might enjoy dignity in their later years. No longer will young families see their own incomes, and their own hopes, eaten away simply because they are carrying out their deep moral obligations to their parents, and to their uncles, and their aunts. And no longer will this Nation refuse the hand of justice to those who have given a lifetime of service and wisdom and labor to the progress of this progressive country.”
That was progress. In 1965, we moved the football and the yard markers in the right direction. We’re moving them now!