Vote your own interests

It is a complete mystery to me why people who earn an hourly wage or practice law for a living would even think about being members of the Republican Party. Why would anyone want to support a party that is hell bent on eliminating their livelihood? George Bush, when governor, stated his ambition was for trial lawyers to consider him their worst nightmare. He and Rick Perry have made most of that come true. They have effectively closed the doors of the courthouse to many abused workers and injured people. Working people in Jefferson and Orange counties vote against their own economic and social interests when supporting Republicans. To support a Republican at the local level because you like his or her looks and because a few things they say sound good is voting against your own interest. Before voting Republican, one should consider these 10 reasons not to:

1. Republicans want to privatize or abolish Social Security. One of the greatest safety nets for senior Americans ever devised by man, Republicans would turn Social Security over to the investors at Wall Street. One only has to read recent news reports to figure out this is a bad idea.

2. The Republicans’ stated purpose as they say, is to “reduce entitlements.” This includes Medicare. Were it not for Medicare, elderly citizens of this country would have to choose between buying groceries and their monthly meds. Turning health care over to the insurance carriers is what Republicans mean when they say health care should be taken care of by private industry.

3. Republicans have openly declared war on the middle class in several states by their desire to abolish collective bargaining and threatening pensions of retired workers. If you believe your quality of life was enhanced because your job was protected by a labor union, which also bargained for and helped you receive a decent retirement, beware of Republicans who would take it away.

4. Every candidate seeking the Republican nomination has in recent debates advocated abolishing many of our regulations, many of which protect our environment, our drinking water and the air we breathe. Former Sen. Phil Gramm was successful in abolishing banking regulations which would have prevented many of the foreclosures middle-class Americans are now experiencing.

5. The main thrust of tax policies is to reduce taxes for the rich. Fair tax policies existed during the administration of Bill Clinton, and economic growth exploded. Protecting the fabulously rich has not worked in Texas. It has resulted in a $4 billion deficit in our schools and 32,000 layoffs, most of whom were school teachers.

6. Eliminating regulations for banks, Wall Street and inside traders simply makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. Lack of adequate regulations of Wall Street has resulted in fraud, manipulation and horrifying losses to small investors.

7. Because of Republicans’ saber rattling or desire of profit for companies such as Vice President Dick Cheney’s Halliburton and fellow travelers, we were led into wars costing thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of deaths for Iraqis, and plunged American into the greatest debt it has ever experienced.

8. Republican attitudes concerning minorities was typified the last regular session of the Texas Legislature when two of the Republican leaders introduced legislation stating it would be OK for illegals to live in Texas so long as they worked as a yard man or maid.

9. Republican policies in Texas have caused our education to seriously lag behind other states of the nation. Republican policies have allowed college tuition to triple or even quadruple in a short period of time. Deterioration, or lack of access to a proper education has led in large measure to Texas being the state employing the most minimum wage workers of any state in the union. Continued policies which deter or deny a quality education will lead to America becoming a third-world country with our children and grandchildren working for the Chinese, Indians or worse.

10. People should vote their own interests. Working people have been duped by various non-issues to side with the Republicans. You should, if you are a working person or aspire to the middle class, consider whether or not you have anything in common with the billionaires who are funding the secret Super PACs. Do you really believe Republicans will pay you the same amount of attention as they pay to the Koch brothers or other billionaires who believe corporations should enjoy the same privileges as humans?

Carl Parker has practiced law in Port Arthur since 1958. He is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas School of Law. Elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and the Senate in 1976, Parker continued to practice law while writing and sponsoring hundreds of bills that became laws relating to every aspect of life in Texas, including many regarding consumer safety.