A Letter to the Editor
An Edinboro University of Pennsylvania student expresses her views on the current political climate and the need for change.
I have, as I assume is the truth for most of you, never been a one-issue voter. I have opinions about gun rights, abortion, racial injustice, gay marriage, "entitlement programs," and refugees. And I assume it is likely we all unanimously believe there is progress to be made over the aforementioned hot-button issues, and that we likely have varying ideas on how our nation should approach these topics.
However, I do not believe that any of these previous issues can be addressed until corporate welfare is ended. Corporations and the super rich have simply rewritten the law until the term "land of opportunity" applies only to the most fortunate among us.
If Donald Trump, as he claims, made a fortune in bankruptcy by taking advantage of the laws of this country, isn't it clear that there is something wrong with those laws?
Koch Industries, a multinational corporation with subsidiaries involved in manufacturing, trading, and investments made $115 billion in revenue this year and paid less than 1 percent in taxes. They did receive $174 million in taxpayer subsidies and now plan to spend $900 million on political contributions, most of which will go to the Republican party to finance presidential elections. Why not pay another $900 million in tax? It would come in pretty handy for those folks coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
You see, I can only assume that it's because they believe that we the people, the "peasant-class," owe them something. So, they buy politicians from, and let's be honest here, both parties. They hire an army of lawyers to hide their money in Luxembourg and then they try to convince us to blame our neighbors. They try to convince us that the $15 minimum wage is communism, but giving the banking industry four trillion dollars isn't. This system of bribery is illegal in every other part of American life, and it makes the biggest problems that we have worse.
Whether you're a Republican, an Independent, a Democrat, Tea Partyer or Occupy Wall Streeter, whether you're a part of the NRA or ACLU, we have to end this corporate welfare and argue about all the other issues plaguing our nation after we take our democracy back. Because, what we have now is a democracy in shambles, and to claim that the illustrious American Dream is still a tangible reality is bunk.
Bernie Sanders does not accept contributions over the legal maximum for individuals of $2,700, but as of Jan. 24, had already raised over $40 million from more than one million individual donors. A vote for Sanders is a vote for a candidate who believes in economic justice, that is, addressing the root causes of economic inequality. It's a vote for someone who desires to break up large banks and add fees for high-risk investments. It's a vote for someone who has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record, the same of which can be said for the issues of civil rights and same-sex marriage. It's a vote for someone who has made public statements to never endorse racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia, because that's not who we are as U.S. citizens.
A vote for Sanders is agreeing with a man who called the Wall Street business model fraudulent, who would treat addiction as a disease and not a crime, who wants the corporations who have long abused and exploited Americans to foot the bill for a $70 billion investment to make public colleges and universities tuition-free. It is a vote for acknowledging climate change as a moral issue, one that will require our nation to transition into a more sustainable system, one that's non-reliant on fossil fuels. It's a vote for someone who will reflect on what happens after we get rid of dictators before we decide to assume the position of world police once again. It's a reasonable and ethically responsible vote for a candidate who wants to implement demilitarization of the police and sensible gun control that will hopefully keep the thousands who are killed each year by gun violence alive.
It is a vote for the revival of democracy.
Emma Giering is a junior English major at Edinboro University with a minor in political science. She works as an editor for The Spectator and is always up for a good debate. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.