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Let's be blunt. Bitter? You bet I'm bitter

Barack Obama may have been a little too blunt in his now infamous quip about how the economic insecurities gripping small-town America manifest themselves, but the word "bitter" perfectly sums up my feelings these days.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've watched my country get hijacked by a group of self-serving incompetents who have little conscience about sending young men and women to die in an unnecessary war, while putting the bill on a credit card for the next generation.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've seen some of the greatest moral handiwork of modern civilization — the Geneva Conventions — get treated as if it were the naive ramblings of out-of-touch do-gooders. I've watched the founding principles of our nation — the inalienable right of due process of law and the checks and balances of three co-equal branches of government — treated as a copse to be mowed down en route to the unitary executive.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've stood by as the wealth of our nation has been concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite while the middle class struggles to financially tread water. I've seen our tax policies shift to benefit this small group, starving our national treasury of needed resources and making it far less possible to prepare for the future by investing in infrastructure, education and shoring up Social Security and Medicare.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've watched a macabre health care system become even more dysfunctional, so that a single accident or illness can destroy the economic security of a family. I've seen Big Pharma use its lobbying muscle to keep Medicare from negotiating better drug prices. I've observed as health insurance companies with their inflated middle-man profits add immeasurably to the cost of care while trying to deny coverage and services to their customers. I've heard our leaders whine about "socialized medicine" any time a comprehensive fix is suggested.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've seen industry insiders put in charge of regulatory agencies so that worker safety and environmental protection are eroded in the name of increased profits. I've watched as science is subverted to ideology. Where facts on global climate change are ignored or manipulated to fit a politically driven script. I've seen the Department of Justice transform into the legal arm of the Republican Party.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've watched the dismantling of the wall of separation between church and state, allowing billions of tax dollars to flow to religiously affiliated groups that peddle their own brand of faith as part of the government-funded service. I've seen Christian fundamentalism defeat funding for international family planning and constrain the distribution of condoms in places where HIV/AIDS has decimated the population.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've stood by as the national debt nearly doubled in the last seven years due to irresponsible tax cuts and spending on such folly as an endless pre-emptive war that may end up costing three trillion dollars. I've observed the privatization of core government functions, such as the handling of security assignments in Iraq by the unaccountable Blackwater. I've seen billions of dollars in Iraq reconstruction money wasted and lost to a system of endemic corruption.

You bet I'm bitter.

I've watched our nation get less secure thanks to the counterproductive policies of the neocons in charge. I've seen the populations of otherwise friendly nations turn against the United States, seeing us as the world's biggest bully and hypocrite rather than its greatest beacon of liberty, justice and opportunity. I've observed that our willingness to abuse prisoners has become a recruiting tool for our enemies, making us masters of our own demise.

You bet I'm bitter. And when more than 80 percent of Americans think we're on the wrong track, I'm not the only one. Obama chose the right word. The only question is, how long this bad taste will last and how to get rid of it?

Let's be blunt. Bitter? You bet I'm bitter 04/19/08 [Last modified: Friday, April 25, 2008 12:54pm]

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