This is appalling. We should all be offended at this kind of statement, even in jest. I wonder how Fred Skillern would feel if white males were in the minority and hadn't yet achieved voting rights? It's easy to joke about such things if you've never been in that position. The truth is, we have all had "Voter ID" cards for years in Hamilton County, and are all required to produce them at the ballot box. The new law requires something more than that, and causes some to spend money and time they do not have in order to get it. That, fellow citizens, is an unconstitutional poll tax.
Fred Skillern's "joke" and the bigotry it exposes is part of the reason this law was able to be passed. We are always an election or two away from the days when voting was only for those with wealth and power. This is how they stay in power. They buy our government and fix the system so that their voice is heard while others' are silenced. We should not stand for this wholesale auction of the broken pieces of our democracy. We should not be silent. We are all the 99%!
We should not be willing to allow our 1st Amendment rights to be threatened by a local state or federal government with a vested interest in controlling what we say. Whether we agree with the content of any free speech is beside the point. We should all be willing to defend anyone's right to free speech and assembly to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. If others lose this right, so do we. We should all be concerned when elected officials meet in private with the purpose of curtailing rights of free citizens.
The 1st Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."
Are the wealthy "job creators" taking their tax cuts and creating jobs, or just using it to buy politicians who pledge to keep their taxes low? These tax cuts Boehner and Fleischmann love supposedly create jobs. Why is unemployment at 9.1% with the tax cuts still in place? Maybe it's because the 1% are using the money to pay $10,000 for a table near Boehner at a fundraiser. The fundraiser is apparently payback for Fleischmann's promise to vote with Boehner on the debt ceiling. More of our government for sale. I understand why the 1% would vote for Fleischmann. I just don't understand why anyone else would.
The CBO released a report this week showing that income for the top 1% increased 275% in the past 30 years, while the middle increase 40% and the bottom increase 18%. When all that extra money can be used to buy our politicians, something is wrong with the system. This is not an issue many of us are rich enough to ignore. To those with open minds, to those struggling to make ends meet, to those who realize the American dream has been sold to the highest bidder, to those who want the America back that respected and rewarded its work force instead of giving coporations tax breaks and subsidies while they outsource jobs and profits overseas, to you I say, we are the same. You, I, we all are the 99%.
As one of the 99%, I assure you that government intervention isn't what I want, unless it's the kind that gives everyone a fair shake. Government bailouts of big banks, when those same banks have gambled the economy into the great recession, are the opposite of fair. We've seen our home values plummet due to the collapse of a Wall Street bubble fueled by runaway speculation against mortgage backed securities. We've seen investment banks leveraged 30 to 1 against subprime mortgages that were fraudulently written to prey on those who were most vulnerable, just to make the investment banks richer. We've seen fancy names for selling bets to customers, and then betting on the bets to fail, created by the kings of the financial industry to fatten their wallets. We've seen laws that could have prevented the overleveraging and "too big to fail" phenomenon repealed, watered down, or just plain ignored by the government regulators who should have been vigilant. We've seen the global economy held hostage until the U.S. paid the ransom in the form of trillions in bailouts of the financial industry. We've then seen double digit unemployment, while the average American's income has declined 7% since 2000. We've seen the Supreme Court of the United States rule that unlimited money can be spent on our elections by corporations. We've seen the top 1% accumulate as much wealth as the bottom 90%.
So, no, I don't want any government handouts--especially like those that cost taxpayers trillions of dollars while enriching the already obscenely rich Wall Street gamblers. What I want is justice. Fairness. A return to the kind of America that required shared sacrifice when fighting wars. The kind of America where getting a good education, working hard, and producing something of value gets you a little further ahead in society. Where a college graduate had the hope of opportunity and prosperity, not the cloud of unmanageable student loan debt with slim chance of employment. The kind of America where folks who gamble with our hard earned money and lose aren't rewarded for it. The kind of America that thinks those large corporations who use our educated work force, our roads, bridges and public infrastructure should not be able to get away with paying zero taxes while we fight two wars to protect the nation that made it possible for them to make all that profit. It's time for those who say they create jobs to stop asking the public for all these handouts. We are the 99%. We say enough is enough. We want nothing but equal opportunity to live the American dream. That's what America is. Opportunity. The 1% thinks they can take it all away from us and keep on taking. They think we're just going to keep giving it to them, no matter how much the accumulate. They think they can buy our government and we'll just let them do it. I think they're wrong. I think it's time we asked for our country back. And I don't think I'm the only one.