Here in my little town in Outer Whitelandia, a populace that's been asleep for thirty years is finally waking up to the reality of the one-party rule that's been running the town for the last three decades. The primary intersection in town is a bottleneck every single day at rush hour. There are nights when it can take me twenty five minutes to go twenty miles, and another twenty minutes to go two. This intersection is in a residential neighborhood, but a small gas station on the corner has been grandfathered in, and there is a large catering hall on another corner, owned by a guy who has over the last decade been quietly buying up houses on the main drag and letting them fall apart. For the last five years, the first thing you see when you come into town is a house with boarded-up windows and a hole in the roof. There have been rumors that the catering hall puts up its undocumented workers in these hell houses, but they are just rumors.
Now the owner if the catering hall and the owner of the gas station have simultaneously come up with grand plans to turn the gas station into a Wawa-like convenience store/gas and diesel station complex and the dilapidated houses into a strip mall containing a CVS with a drive-thru, a hair salon, and a coffee shop -- while a quarter mile down the road, there is already a half-empty strip mall with plenty of parking on site that has a Rite-Aid, a hair salon, a Dunkin Donuts, and a bagel shop. And finally the citizenry has awakened, even though the local government refuses to allow the public to talk at the zoning board meetings that are supposed to be where people can be heard.
In 2008, the town held its first contested election in thirty years -- and the sheeple in this town voted back in the same people who had been giviing crony contracts to their friends for years. Part of the problem was that in New Jersey, we vote not office-by-office, but on a giant screen where each candidate is in a party's line. So if you tend to vote Republican, as most people in this town do, you are not going to jump around the ballot. It of course didn't help that the Democratic candidate, who had lived in town barely two years, was the brother of one of the biggest Democratic Party hacks in he state.
It's like that in Democratic Party politics. Not a month goes by when someone doesn't tell me to run for office in town, but believe me, you do not want to touch these people or play their game. Every two years, they either refuse to run a candidate to run for Congress against the odious teabagger Scott Garrett, who was a teabagger long before the Tea Party kooks even existed; or else they run a weak candidate and then refuse to support that candidate with money. The New Jersey State Democratic Party, like the natonal party has been under everyone except Howard Dean, is only interested in fighting battles it knows in advance it can win.
And so the stage is set for the travesty that happened in Trenton yesterday, where Governor Gasbag, Chris Christie, succeeded in getting bipartisan support in the state Assembly for a law to gut public worker benefits and remove their ability to collectively bargain, with the help of Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who had shepherded the bill through the state Senate on Monday.
Everyone knows that the state pension system is dramatically underfunded, after being stiffed for decades by governors of both parties, What most people don't understand is that the police, firefighters and teachers who receive these pensions also pay in. So when politicians decide to gut these benefits, it's money paid out to these workers that's stolen for other needs -- mostly to keep from having to raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the state.
If the Democrats on the national stage won't stand up for people who pay into Social Security and Medicare all their lives and are then told not to depend on it because they stole all the money; if Democrats won't stand up for the rights of all Americans to be the same under the law; if Democrats won't stand up for the rights of workers; then why on earth should we reward them with our votes?
We know what Republicans are -- greedy, venal, hateful, cold-hearted and devoid of empathy. Republicans will do what Republicans do. We know this. Our problem is not them; it is the Democrats -- the party that increasingly pisses down our backs and then tells us it's raining.