Sounding Off: Pragmatism in the voting booth

Two years ago, John McCain and the Republican establishment took a gamble with our nation's security and future by naming a know-nothing neophyte as his running mate on the GOP's presidential ticket. Perceived political advantage cynically trumped the party's much ballyhooed "nation first" slogan. For a few weeks it appeared that this shameless ploy might work, particularly against a Democratic candidate whose birth place and religious affiliation were under scurrilous attack. However, in the end, the American voters put the "nation first" and routed this party of special interests.

Since Obama became president these same defeated reactionaries have virtually carried out a coup d'etat, bragging openly about their intent to bring down our duly elected government. Through the misuse and abuse of the "filibuster," they have made a mockery of majority rule and obstructed every necessary and robust measure towards a swift financial recovery. Once again the Republicans have gambled in this way solely to grab power in the next election cycle, so they can renew their loot and plunder of our national coffers. Their goal this time is to hand over to their equally reckless and irresponsible allies, Wall Street, trillions of dollars in Social Security funds. It does not matter to them that their ambitions are being carried on the backs of millions of unemployed compatriots and millions of senior citizens.

As we near the election, the echo-chamber of talking heads and the corporate media have unanimously decided that the ruling party is in for a severe drubbing, having failed to dig the nation out of a humongous hole created by the previous administration. It does not matter to them that the other side has candidates who want to: dismantle social security or take away medi-care from seniors through a system of privatized vouchers; or force young women to bear to term the results of rape and incest; or to give huge tax breaks to the wealthy (the deficit be damned); or deny citizenship to American-born children of undocumented workers; or oppose the repeal of the totally discredited "don't ask, don't tell" policy; or start another war, this time against Iran, or may be against all of Islam. And the list goes on.

Once again, the GOP's chronic predilection toward reckless and irresponsible behavior may have given them a temporary edge, particularly when it is easy to channel the understandable anger in this country over the economy into hatred for minorities, immigrants, gays and non-Christians. However, in the quiet solitude of the voting booth, the pragmatic American voter will not reward those who have severely harmed our nation recently want to resume their reckless policies again. America is better than that.

JAMSHED H. DASTUR lives in Newport Beach.

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