Vote for the America you want to live in
December 12, 2005
AUGUSTA - "It behooves us, in the next election, and in every election, to vote for the America we want to live in," Democratic U.S. Senate Candidate Jean Hay Bright told members of the Maine Democratic Party State Committee in Augusta Sunday.
"U.S. Senators are now examining the life philosophy of a Supreme Court nominee to see if they want our nation to live in his judicial world," Hay Bright, a writer and organic farmer in Dixmont, said. "We need to hold our candidates for public office to the same kind of standard, to compare our own world views with theirs, and vote for the candidates who most closely share our outlook."
When she was growing up, Hay Bright said, good jobs with respectable pay for an honest day's work "were the ticket, a ticket that bought the American Dream of owning your own home in a safe neighborhood with good local schools where your kids could get a quality public education."
Today, she said, "We have NAFTA and CAFTA, and laws that encourage the outsourcing of decent jobs to foreign countries. The health care crisis is bankrupting both people and businesses, or is used to badger unions into bad contracts. The under-funding of pensions is deliberate, to keep the stockholders happy."
Hay Bright particularly focused on the failure of Maine's two incumbent U.S. Senators, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, to support an increase in the federal minimum wage from the current "abysmal" $5.15 to $6.25 per hour.
"Think about that. Since Maine's minimum wage is now $6.50 per hour, an increase would have helped the working poor across the country without affecting Maine's wage scale," she said. "The losers in this 'no' vote were not only the working poor in other states, but also the many Maine small businesses that have to compete with companies in those other states, companies that can continue to legally pay sub-poverty-level wages."
There was a time, Hay Bright said, when America was known for its "cohesiveness, the recognition that we are all in this together, that we all have a responsibility toward our neighbors, our communities, our nation - and as the last standing superpower - our world.
"I don't see any of that at the top levels of government these days," she said, "I see greed, incompetence, arrogance, a class war, a real but unnecessary and illegal war, a disturbing tendency toward violence and suppression of our basic freedoms, and a frightful ignorance of both history and foreseeable consequences."
Still, Hay Bright, she sees hope in the future.
"We can turn this around, but it's going to take a lot of us paying attention in ways we never have had to before."
Click HERE for the complete text of Hay Bright's prepared remarks.