Here in Florida, they held ‘Awake the State ‘rallies, in essence co-sponsored by the Democratic Party. In Daytona Beach, a usually very apathetic area, various unions and union supporters came out by the hundreds to stand in solidarity with the teachers. It seems that our governor has decided to initiate his cost cutting measures, focusing first on the education budget. Nationwide, state and city governments are beginning to ask their public sector unions to contribute more for health care and pensions. Bottom line: our nation is in an economic depression and our states, cities and towns are …. Broke! Matter of fact, the newest figures state that in Florida over 50% of homes with mortgages are worth less than the money owed on them. Yet, the two party ‘One Party’ duopoly that runs things decided to bail out the very banks and investment houses that caused this housing turmoil in the first place! In the good old days (well, better called the ‘not as bad old days’) we had a real federal program of revenue sharing, not orchestrated taxpayer bailouts of private equity. The way it worked was quite simple: You sent your taxes to Washington, and Uncle Sam set aside some of that money to send back to your state. The state then sent some of that money to the local municipalities for infrastructure, education, hospitals, police and fire personnel etc. This all basically ended when we invaded and occupied Iraq and Afghanistan, to the tune of hundreds of billions each and every year. Factor in all the other military spending (duh, like over 800 bases worldwide and enough WMDs to destroy the whole planet a hundred times over) and we now have a military budget of over 560 billion dollars, about double of what it was just 10 years ago!
My dedicated activist friends and I have been standing on the street corners in the Daytona area for over six years. We trudge out once a week with our signs calling for an end to the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. We protest against torture, demanding accountability for those who ordered and condoned it. Of great importance, we call for a drastic cut in the bloated military budget. Guess what? If we attract more than a handful to join us each week we are lucky. Yet, when the Democrats and the unions send out the call, hundreds if not thousands show up, signs in hand. I too was there March 8th with my street corner activist friends… we support the union cause all the way! Alas, what result will come by all the fanfare and the passion for unions and budgets if there is no substantial viable solution? Well, there is a solution, and one that would rally most of those who showed up last Tuesday evening. You see, we must get the **** out of Iraq & Afghanistan ASAP, start closing those 800 bases worldwide and divert the savings back to Florida and the other states to solve those budget deficits. Whoa now, wait one second here….
You see, as long as our union friends stay embedded with the Democratic Party, we won’t experience real protest with real solutions. Why? Well, the Democratic Party is Suspect # 2 along with their Republican counterpart (Suspect # 1) as accomplices to the Military Industrial Complex. Mr. Obama, a great speaker, will not make the speech that so many hoped he would make. That being to get us on a different course as a nation, and to stop acting as a tyrannical empire! When conservative libertarian Rep. Ron Paul agrees 100% with independent progressive activist Ralph Nader on foreign policy… connect the dots! As long as our fine, decent union friends and their supporters remain joined to the hip with either of those hypocrite parties, there is no hope at all! The Republican wolves, through their Fox Television mouthpieces and foolish Tea Party minions, are obvious lackeys for the super rich. The Democrats, like the foxes they are, sell lots of hope with little change. Through their rah rah rah, rhetoric and fancy signs and slogans, we find no substance. All those laid off teachers, firefighters and police will not see real change unless American labor stands and speaks as one voice. Perhaps, for those who wish that these two political parties reform, the best course of action is to simply …. Walk away!
Philip A. Farruggio is son and grandson of Brooklyn NYC longshoremen. He is a small businessman, activist leader and freelance columnist. Philip is now Volusia Cty spokesperson for the nationwide 25% Solution to cut military spending. Since the 2000 elections, he has written over 250 columns, many posted on various sites worldwide. Recently, he is finding a home at Dandelion Salad, dissidentvoice.org and progressivepatriots.net or at his own blog at www.opensalon.com. Philip can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.