Saturday, August 30, 2008

More Dreams at the Democratic Convention

In 1992, Bill Clinton was singing and holding hands on the stage with Maya Angelou and others, offering a promise of a better life in America . Three years later, he was signing a welfare reform bill that threatened millions of children with poverty. The gap between rich and poor increased during the Clinton administration. The current democratic convention is adhering to the usual script-the offering of dreams of a better future for Americans. Is there a Swedish dream or a Danish dream?

There are Swedish and Danish realities that do not include millions of people without health care, thousands subjected to the death penalty, one million of its citizens in prison, thousands of homeless persons, and squalor in its cities. Not only are these conditions found in the United States , but most were part of American life at the time of the 1992 Democratic convention. Republican politicians, ever eager to serve the needs of the top 10% of Americans who control roughly 70% of the wealth, rarely address these issues since they affect the 90% of- the American people who are not their true constituency..

According to the 2007/2008 United Nations development report the United States was not ranked among the top 10 nations in overall human development. Our nation needs positive social advances that can be discussed proudly at the next convention. Will a Democratic victory in November and a subsequent presidency create the reality a socially advanced nation, or will aspirations for a more civilized society remain merely dreams to be offered at the next convention? Bill Honer, Costa Rica

(Bill Honer is a co-author of "Adult Education for the Homeless" and former host of the Sacramento cable television program "Social Issues") . He currently lives in Costa Rica .)