Friday, July 2, 2010

Attn. Democratic leaders: How to deliver on hope (and keep your jobs in November)

I've been unemployed since July 2009. I've been writing cover letters and sending out resumes, connecting with recruiters, updating my tech skills, and researching my career options. My unemployment benefits may end soon, and even if I am not counted in the unemployment statistics, I am not giving up.

Lately Republicans have been filibustering extension of unemployment benefits. They are far removed from the reality on Main Street. Krugman offers sobering perspective on how austerity will prolong the recession. I follow the news daily -- as I'm applying for jobs I listen in to CNN -- and I empathize with others struggling to find a job. Perhaps Republicans wish for mass suffering in hopes they'll win big in November. It's a cynical political strategy, to say the least.

Personally, it is easy to slip into depression. It's depressing to think about the number and severity of problems the country faces. It's depressing to think about the continuous flow of oil in The Gulf, and how much worse the environmental and economic disaster will be at the height of hurricane season. The jobs report today was bad. The stock market has dropped to last October levels. The state of our nation looks grim indeed.

I have a recommendation for Democratic leadership: Vote against further funding The Afghanistan War. It's an unpopular war, and you can easily argue that our national security is better served by creating jobs, repairing our infrastructure, preventing future BP spills, and investing in a green economy. Be vocal about representating the concerns of ordinary voters.

By vetoing war spending, an unwinnable war will end sooner than later. Republicans will probably shriek in protest, but they will no longer be able to argue for austerity cuts since Democrats can boast about the billions saved by ending an unwinnable war. Furthermore, the military could be redeployed domestically to inspect the safety of hundred of miles of oil pipeline, the safety of offshore rigs, the safety of infrastructure -- the electric grid, sewers, bridges, dams, and levees.

Everyday I witness ordinary people addressing problems with innovative solutions. Preaching austerity while wasting billions of dollars on war with Afghanistan is not only hypocritical but out of touch. Democratic leadership should take note of the national mood and refocus on domestic policy.

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