(editor note: this ran in the Press Enterprise and is republished with permission of Bill Hedrick)
By BILL HEDRICK
Recently, Congress approved a budget package designed to put families first by pulling America out of recession and jumpstarting the U.S. financial system.
However, the budget continues to come under attack from the radical right wing of the Republican Party — a segment of the party completely out of touch with the needs of working families.
In attacking the budget compromise, hyperpartisan loyalists use venomous rhetoric to frighten Americans and create a viciously polarized political landscape.
This is accomplished through delusional assaults against fictitious evils. Note the overuse of the word socialist.
In the real world, independent-minded Americans have little patience for excessive partisan wrangling. They are too busy working to provide for their children or elderly parents.
In the real world, parents are more concerned with finding affordable, accessible medical care for a sick child than with the meaningless diversions of well-insured politicians.
It is simply not right that a child’s critical illness or injury should bankrupt a hard-working family. Good health care should not be a commodity, available only to the well-employed or well-heeled. The budget adopted by Congress takes a first step toward ending this immoral inequity.
In the real world, parents want schools that educate children for the 21st century. They want high standards but expect a wide range of opportunities for their offspring — not just the basics but art and music, too.
George Bush federalized our schools through the No Child Left Behind Act. It is time to return control of our schools to our local communities. With luck, the Obama administration will move to do so promptly.
And I hope to see the day when out-of-control tuition expenses are rolled back or subsidized so that more families can send their children to top-notch universities like UC Riverside.
In the real world, Americans understand that when people call for fiscal common sense, they really mean shifting the cost of governing from the wealthiest among us onto the backs of working families.
As for so-called socialist spending, the very same voices denouncing the current federal budget are the first in line to reap rich government contracts for their buddies. The same funding practices that financiers promote to rescue financial institutions suddenly become socialist schemes when they rescue Joe the plumber. In the real world, that’s called hypocrisy.
Americans are not concerned with whether we have small government or big government — but they do expect effective, responsible government. They want health care for their children. They want access to good public education.
They want jobs to stay right here in America. They want fair trade with those who share our values, rather than free trade with dictators. Most important, they want to see families, not politics, finally put first.
Bill Hedrick was the Democratic nominee last year for California’s 44th Congressional District seat.