The elections are now just two weeks away. The candidates are making their final arguments, and soon we will be asked to choose – Obama and Biden or Romney and Ryan.
The Republican campaign has been clear – they aim to attack workers, immigrants, women, gay people, the environment, and to maintain the U.S. wars on the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Romney and Ryan say these things openly, with smiles on their faces. Who could listen to them and not feel afraid of what they are promising. Who could listen to their plans and not want to cast a vote against these people.
A Republican presidency will undoubtedly mean new attacks on workers. Who could forget Romney’s statement that 47 percent of Americans are moochers who don’t pay taxes? Romney says we need to stop oppressing the rich – the so-called job creators. This is from the guy who was CEO of Bain Capital, a corporation who made money laying off workers to make companies more profitable.
Romney talks about so-called entitlements that need to be cut from the budget. In other words, he promises that a Republican administration will cut social services, education, welfare, and health care services that poor and working people rely on.
Romney and Ryan have argued for the self-deportation of undocumented immigrants. This means Republicans will increase the kind of harassment of immigrants in states like Arizona and Alabama, and try to make life so unlivable that many immigrants will leave voluntarily.
Romney and Ryan are against women’s rights to safe and legal abortions. They aim to repeal these rights and deny women access to safe abortions.
In addition, Romney and Ryan have repeatedly stated their views that “marriage is between a man and a woman.” This is nothing but a declaration that they intend to deny the legal and economic benefits of marriage status to gay people.
Despite the scientific evidence, the Republicans still deny the dangers of global warming. Romney and Ryan call for expanded coal and oil industries, and the repeal of environmental legislation.
And Romney and Ryan call for more military intervention in the world. They accuse Obama of not using U.S. military power to intervene in world affairs enough. In spite of two bloody wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have killed over a million people, the Republicans call for more bloodshed.
The Democrats could not be further from the Republicans in how they present themselves. Obama is intelligent and humane when he speaks. He promises to improve the social services, education, and health care we need. He promises to defend women and gay people. He promises to protect the environment, and he claims to be ending the U.S. wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. After listening to the Republicans, who wouldn’t feel like Obama and the Democrats were a better choice.
But feelings aren’t enough when we’ve seen the track record. Under Obama, 13 trillion dollars have been promised to the banks while 48 out of 50 states have seen massive budget crises and the destruction of schools and social services. Obama has deported 1.4 million undocumented immigrants, more than Bush did in two terms. Obama supported the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to produce oil from highly polluting tar sands. And Obama has continued the violence in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is using drones to strike human targets in Pakistan and Yemen. Are these policies really a better choice?
The reality is that both the Republicans and the Democrats represent the same interests – not those of working people but of the big banks and corporations. In the most expensive election in U.S history, so far over 5.8 billion dollars has been spent, most of which has come from the biggest banks and corporations. The only real difference between the candidates is how they present themselves to us.
Many will vote for the Democrats in November if only to vote against the Republicans. But we should not have illusions. Neither party represents the interests of working people. Whoever wins in November, the real winners will continue to be the same banks and corporations that are running things now. The only ones who can defend the interests of working people are us ourselves.