The ghost of Reagan, and my endorsement for Hahn
By James Preston Allen, Publisher
With this editorial, I fully and unequivocally endorse Janice Hahn’s candidacy to return to Congress and represent the new 44th Congressional District. I have chosen to do this not for the many reasons that others have previously voiced, such as her support for union workers, or her stance on equity for women and the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. I endorse her because of something that is quite unique to this newspaper. Hahn is the only person, aside from myself, that attracts the ire of certain right-wing letter-writing critics. This, in my mind, means that over and above everything I agree with her on politically, she must be doing something right!
Now, this may be one of the races in which Hahn doesn’t mind coming in second. I believe I hold the title for receiving the most snide and vitriolic attacks for my political writings. But I do enjoy the company and I will remind you, my loyal readers, that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I support and defend “free speech” rights of all the citizens enshrined in the First Amendment, even when it doesn’t suit me personally. I have been asked quite adamantly, yet politely, by both friends of Hahn and by the congresswoman herself to refrain from publishing “any more of those horrible” letters. To which I’ve responded, “I have no control over what some people choose to write and send.”
“But you have the publisher’s prerogative not to print,” they rejoin. I end the conversation by noting that I only use that prerogative to avoid litigation.
“I don’t tell you how to run the congressional office, so don’t tell me how to run the newspaper,” I say.
So let’s talk about why people are angry. They get absolutely apoplectic when I argue that one of their sacred cows, Ronald Reagan, is the cause for much of our current malaise. The president who sold the country on “trickle down” economics; the one who started us on the path of “free trade” as he facilitated the shipping of good industrial jobs south of the border and west of the Pacific. He’s the one who was hired by the private sector back in the 1950s to sabotage national health care. He probably still would if he were alive today. He is the one who signed the law deregulating the Savings and Loans industry only for it to implode a short while later in the same manner we witnessed with the current banking crisis.
As Americans, we should be very angry. We live in the wealthiest nation on earth, yet 35 million of our citizens can’t afford health insurance and routinely go to emergency rooms for health care. Since the time of Ronald the “Great Communicator” Reagan, the wages of the working class have stagnated into a flat line, while the price of a middle-class standard of living has doubled or tripled. Public education has been under-funded, then it is attacked for not keeping up with privatized schools––schools that that get their support from the elite few whose salaries have grown exponentially from exporting jobs and importing cheap manufactured goods. Many of those who are the most pissed off misguidedly blame the public sector unions. The public sector makes up only 12 percent of the workforce, but has managed to hold the line against attacks on the middle class, by protecting collective bargaining–something the rest of America, should consider.
People are angry because they’ve been lied to while Wall Street vultures foreclosed on their dreams of a middle class lifestyle. Millions of Americans have been forced into bankruptcy, while the billionaire bankers get bailouts to cover their bad investment bets on derivative bond swaps––a financial product that nobody really understands. Yet, derivative trading continues to plague and embarrass the CEO of one of Wall Street’s largest banks, Chase Bank, which announced it simply lost $2 billion on leveraged bets while spending millions lobbying against Wall Street regulations.
The only folks who seem to be placing their anger in the right place is Occupy Wall Street, who have been routinely abused and arrested for speaking the unsavory truth–that the moneychangers are corrupt. And, in saying this unholy critique of capitalism, they deliver the most unlikely refrain in the public domain of this land of the free: There are some things more important than profit.
So yes, I endorse Janice Hahn for Congress. Precisely because certain right-wing letter-writing tea-bag sympathizers have criticized her, because she stood her ground where it really mattered, and because she unequivocally understands which side of the class divide she represents and because she will occasionally respond to her critics. I have urged her to do it more often. And you should too. For all those that mutter some sotto voce uncertainties about “Janice not being perfect,” I say that this is why she accurately represents this district, which for all of its assets is so much less than perfect. It’s one of those things in life that makes you work harder, an example we all might like to emulate.