Volume 76, Number 21 | October 11 - 17, 2006


Restoring sanity in Washington; It can be done

The level of interest in next month’s congressional elections is high, and rightfully so. Democrats feel they’re within striking range of taking back the House, possibly the Senate, and the implications for achieving either of these are enormous. Heightening the urgency is the fact that this election is clearly crucial, both to our country and the rest of the world.

Under the Bush administration, the Iraq war rages on with no end — and no exit strategy — in sight. U.S. soldiers, and Iraqis in far greater numbers, keep dying and the violence keeps escalating. Iraq is in a shambles, and the situation there has been one of open civil war for some time. Yet we keep pouring billions of dollars into this deadly quagmire — while Al Qaeda’s leadership still has not been dismantled.

At home, the problems are myriad. Tax cuts for the wealthy and the Bush administration’s having turned the largest surplus in our country’s history into our largest deficit ever are playing havoc with our economy. The lack of response to Hurricane Katrina was a disgrace.

The problem is that the federal government — the president and both houses of Congress — is dominated by Republicans. Whatever one’s political stripe, the argument that the government should have balanced political power to function more effectively is compelling. Right now, there’s no check on the Republicans. No congressional investigations can be launched into Halliburton’s rebuilding efforts in Iraq, for example, or other troubling matters because the G.O.P.-dominated committees won’t vote to authorize them.

However, thanks to new Internet-based fundraising programs — like Capturecongress.com, co-founded by Susan Birmingham of Tribeca — Lower Manhattan residents now have an easy, effective way to help try to make government more balanced by restoring power to the Democrats. With the click of a mouse, a person can contribute funds to any one of 15 key races in Congress and six in the Senate where Democratic candidates stand a chance of winning, provided they have sufficient funds. Just $100 — even $15 or $20 — can make a difference in these toss-up races.

Restoring balance in Washington would bring an end to the politics of polarization. It would safeguard judicial appointments from extremism. Investigations would once again be able to occur; bipartisan oversight would be restored. The Iraq war and our strategy there would be reconsidered. Deficit spending would be brought under control. Tax cuts for the wealthy would be curbed. Healthcare reform would be addressed.

The Republican candidates are being funded by big PAC’s — insurance and pharmaceutical companies. The Democrats need help to restore parity in Washington so our government can function how it should once again. It starts with a small donation, and a mouse click.

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