Let's get real on issues, not personality
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The corporate media, day after day, wants us to believe that politics should be about the personality of the candidates and the dramas and ups and downs of the campaign. What that approach, which entails 90 percent or more of all media coverage, ignores is the reality of life facing the American people – and how the candidates propose to resolve the crises that we face.

This kind of media coverage tells us everything we don't want to know about the candidate and the campaign, but very little about helping us understand the reality of where we are as a people, where we can be and the powerful forces that prevent us from getting there. In the deepest sense, this type of media coverage trivializes politics and is undermining American democracy.

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Our job must be to focus on the real issues facing us and to demand solutions to the problems that impact the lives of the 99 percent.  Real politics must be about us and our families, not just the candidates and their campaigns.  In my view, here are just a few of the issues that cannot continue to be ignored, and that require bold solutions.

Today in America, nearly 47 million people are living in poverty and, at 22 percent, we have the highest rate of childhood poverty of almost any major nation on earth. In communities all over this country, working families are paying 40 or 50 percent of their limited incomes to put a roof over their heads. Millions of seniors and disabled veterans are struggling to put food on the table with grossly inadequate Social Security checks.

Today in America, more than 28 million people have no health insurance, even more are underinsured with high deductibles and co-payments and we pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Many thousands of Americans unnecessarily die each year because they cannot afford to get to a doctor when they need to, or cannot pay for the medicine they require.

Today in America, as a result of unemployment, low wages, a lowered standard of living and the despair that follows, millions of people are experiencing a decline in life expectancy because of suicide, drugs and alcohol abuse. Despite all of the advances in modern medicine, they are actually living shorter lives than previous generations.

Today in America, millions of people are working longer hours for lower wages and many are forced to work two or three jobs just to survive. The median male full-time worker now makes less income than he did 40 years ago after adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, we have more income and wealth inequality than at any time since 1928, and more than half of new income is going to the top one percent.

Today in America, our pre-school system is largely dysfunctional and unaffordable. In failing schools in inner cities, young people are often more likely to end up in jail than graduate college. Hundreds of thousands of bright young people are unable to afford a higher education, and millions more struggle with outrageously high levels of student debt.

Today in America, and throughout the world, we are losing the battle against climate change - the greatest environmental crisis our planet has faced. Scientists predict that in the coming years, unless our energy system is aggressively transformed away from fossil fuels, there will be more drought, more floods, more extreme weather disturbances, more rising sea levels and more acidification of the oceans.

Where do we go from here?

First, we reject corporate media's "politics as entertainment" approach and stay focused on finding real solutions to the crises that are impacting the lives of our people: economic, social, health, educational, racial and environmental.

Second, we take on at all levels the powerful special interests whose greed is destroying our country and, through Citizens United, our democracy.  We must stand up to Wall Street, corporate America, the drug companies, the fossil fuel industry and all the rest.

Third, we must revitalize American democracy and bring millions of additional Americans into the progressive movement. And we need to encourage ordinary Americans to run for office at the local, state and federal level. 

Our agenda is the agenda of America, and we need to take that agenda into government at all levels. 

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