Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Mark Lipman

Poet – Publisher – Community Organizer

Unlike many candidates, I am not, nor do I care to be, a professional politician. I’m an average person who is smart enough to know that the government-as-usual has mismanaged our budget and is leading us in completely the wrong direction. We fund police and prisons and wars abroad, before things like education, housing, health care and job creation here at home. Simply by reversing our priorities, by holding the banks accountable for the reckless destruction of our economy – by things like stopping foreclosures; by providing the needed social services and properly funding our schools – investing in our children’s futures; by investing in needed jobs - we can both reduce crime and taxes at the same time.

I am not partisan. I belong to no party. I simply represent the average person who has to work and struggle just to scrape by in this world, who simply wants to help create a better, safer, more just world for us all to live in.

Once we realize that we’re all in the struggle of life together; that ensuring the necessities of society is the government’s primary responsibility – that we must fund our communities – for the benefit of us all, then we will be heading in the right direction.

That is what’s in my heart and if you vote for me, that is what will shape the decisions I make while serving you.

Community First

In today’s economy, when so many of us find ourselves working more just to make ends meet – or worse, working more and finding ourselves deeper and deeper in debt; when jobs are leaving our shores; when our government keeps telling us to pay more and do with less, while at the same time handing bigger tax breaks to the corporations, banks and the ultra-rich – I say: Enough’s enough!

We need to rethink our priorities.

Why do schools – our children’s educations – keep getting hit with budget cuts, while spending on the prison-industrial system soars? I want a meaningful future for the next generation instead of a one way ticket to jail. Education makes all the difference and that means fully funding our schools first.

Why are thousands of people living and dying out on the streets, when there are more empty housing units than homeless? Housing is a human right and affordable housing is necessary for a sustainable healthy community. We must make the housing that is there available for all those in need. The answer is simple: People first – profits for banks and developers last.

Why in one of the richest States, in the richest country on earth, do we still have one of the worst health care systems on the planet?

Single-payer Universal Health Care Now!

Has anyone asked themselves why, after the banks got bailed out, not just once, but twice; when through our tax dollars the banks have already been paid off for all the bad loans, which they instigated – and tricked many good, hard-working families into – that foreclosures are still going on every single day? Is there ever an end to their greed?

I say that we have the power to demand an end to the foreclosure and to hold the bankers responsible for crashing our economy.

First, we stop cooperating with the enforcement of evictions and force the banks to refinance the bad mortgages at reasonable and fair fixed rates.

Second, let’s start taxing the banks. In fact, to start closing the budget gap, let’s end these huge subsidies and tax breaks for all these massive corporations that take our money and ship all our jobs overseas and start making them pay their fair share in taxes and invest that money right back into our communities.

There are so many resources available. Everything we need is right here and so much work needs to be done. It is inexcusable that unemployment is skyrocketing. We need to start reinvesting in ourselves and create jobs to repair our failing infrastructure – our roads and bridges and railways and isn’t it about time that we started investing in wind and solar power – with solar panels made right here, in California and not China? 

Let’s bring our jobs back home!

When hope has failed you,
and all seems to despair,

When all the choices
go from bad to worse,

When you’re struggling to get by
and it looks like nobody cares,

When you’re tired and angry
and life feels like a curse,

When you’ve had enough
of not having enough,

It’s time to look in the mirror

For what we’ve all
been looking for
is right there.

The difference is us.

Imposing Democracy

When you have to
Terrify your own
People into giving
Their freedoms away,
We say it’s
Guaranteeing security.

When you invade
Another country
To steal their wealth
And establish your own regime,
We call it
Setting people free.

When you bomb
A tiny village
While all its people
Are fast asleep,
That is known as
Collateral damage.

And when you rob
From the poor
To subsidize
Your rich friends’ wallets,
Well, I’d say that’s graft,
But maybe you’d call it
Paying homage.

When there are
Police at every corner
No, that’s not repression,
It’s maintaining order.

When all the news
Tells you to follow
The government line,
They say that freedom
Of the press is doing
Just fine.

When you’re not
Capable of an
Independent thought,
Then you’ve received
A good education.

And when your health
Care runs out,
That’s just the benefits
Of privatization.

When we hide our
Sweat shops in China
We say that slavery
Is abolished.

And when your vote
Isn’t even being counted,
There are people who
Would call that
Universal suffrage

When a baby is shot
By a stray bullet
Maybe it’s officially
An accident,
But just try telling that
To the mother

And when the ice caps are melted
And the air is polluted,
No, that has not a thing
To do with your profits.

When you say
We’re at war,
I ask you
When haven’t we been?
That’s their version
Of peace without end.

Why is it that
The rules suddenly change
When you’re on
The wrong side
Of a color?

And while you’re at it,
Can you explain to me
How life in prison
Without a trial
Could ever be
“For their own protection?”

And when you get to choose,
Who has the right to live,
Is that what is meant by
“Having God on your side?”

When judges are allowed
To hand out the jobs
Is that thanks to having
Free and open elections?

I don’t know
What you think
About all this going on,
But if that’s democracy
Then something is
Very, very wrong.