We the People: Week of September 6

Time for revolution

In Syria, the people have risen against the oppression of dictator Bashar Assad. That struggle demonstrates that revolution can result in extreme violence and death. It contrasts sharply with the regime changes that occurred in Tunisia and Egypt last year.

When totalitarian regimes are overthrown without bloodshed, it creates the strongest argument against the violent rhetoric of Al-Qaeda terrorists. The people of East Germany used a peaceful revolution in 1989 to overthrow a dictatorship.

If the tree of liberty must be watered with the blood of patriots and tyrants, that does not mean thousands of innocent men, women and children must be sacrificed for every revolutionary change. In America, it would be revolutionary if Democratic and Republican leaders worked together to fashion a plan to return our nation to greatness.

George Orwell said, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” This is the revolution the American people need now. It was lacking from the speeches at the Republican National Convention.

Mitt Romney demonstrated that he is a nice guy with a nice family who did very nicely for himself as an investment banker. He did not demonstrate that he is a better candidate for the Oval Office than President Obama.

The process in the convention was all show and no substance. Keynote Speaker Chris Christie stated that he would not be divisive or negative (like a Democrat) and then proceeded to divide Americans into “us” (Republicans) and “them” (Democrats).

Republican leaders hope that Americans are so naive that they would believe that only a Republican candidate wants good things like employment, deficit reduction and fiscal certainty while a Democrat strives tirelessly for bad things like unemployment and spending.

A deficit clock was prominently positioned in the hall as if no Republican had responsibility for the huge federal deficit that burdens all of us. George Bush, a Republican president, poured a trillion dollars of taxpayer money upon the sands of Iraq and Afghanistan. This must be a uniquely Republican form of fiscal restraint legitimized by the fact that Halliburton and other corporations received billions of taxpayer money to fatten corporate profits.

Mitt Romney warned that President Obama will cut defense spending to weaken America and hurt the economy but in the next breath he promised he would reduce federal spending. How? If he promised to maintain or increase defense spending and reduce taxes, that can only increase the federal deficit even when a Republican is elected. The candidate did not tell the truth because a lie sounded better than the truth. Neither a Republican nor a Democrat can spend more and cut taxes and reduce the deficit.

Automatic cuts in federal spending will be implemented in January. President Obama, if reelected, will oversee this revolutionary spending reduction which is the harsh medicine our economy needs. If elected, Mitt Romney will be a first term president beholden to thousands of powerful and wealthy individuals and faced with an immediate challenge to get reelected. He will face enormous pressure to “adjust” the planned cuts but President Obama will be free from that pressure which should allow him to leave the proposed spending cuts alone.

It is time for revolutionary change in Brooklyn, too. Vito Lopez (D-Bushwick), the powerful chairperson of the Democratic Party in Kings County, was stripped of his Assembly chairpersonships when he could not credibly defend himself from charges of sexual harassment made by female members of his staff.

He announced that he would not seek reelection as county chairperson. The charges are reprehensible and betray the trust that many people placed in him. Leaders Jo Anne Simon and Frank Seddio, a former assemblymember, are favorites to replace Lopez as the top Dem in the county.

The American people can make revolutionary changes in November by voting for the most qualified candidates.

Brian Kieran is a community activist who works for the State of New York and is a Democrat.

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