McCain: The worse presidential campaign ever!

Today I finish another week as honorary guest host of the "Front Page" talk show with Dominique Di Prima on KJLH-FM, 102.3, owned and operated by the world class talent and community leader, Stevie Wonder. I'm always honored to be asked to guest host the show despite the 4:30 AM starting time (lots of lost sleep). But once I'm there, I love to exchange ideas, news, facts, poetry, and whatever with Dominique and the many callers from the Front Page family -- you are all amazing.

This week we concentrated on Barack Obama's historic run for presidency. We also had Dick Gregory as guest by phone on Tuesday, and Sister Attilah Shabazz, Malcolm X's daughter, in studio on Thursday, along with others. I truly believe it's the best talk show in LA, concentrating on the issues confronting the African American community, but open for a Chicano like me to have his say.

On Obama, the polls have given the Illinois Senator double digit leads in some cases, but others are too close to call. This is extraordinary considering that he has run a hard-fought and smart campaign, although many efforts have been leveled at him from all angles to throw him off track. So far Senator Obama has risen above all crises, lies, distortions, and distractions from the Republican camp and some media. It's now John McCain who looks like he doesn't know what he's doing, making one bad decision after another, and recently attacking President Bush and other people in his own party for the failure to move his campaign forward. Again, I ask -- do we want a president who cannot even run a decent campaign? Where are his renowned strategic powers and experience? McCain claims he can win wars. Yet most of McCain's problems are due to his own erratic--yes, erratic--choices.

The decision to pick Governor Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate is a case in point. She's attractive, congenial, a good ole sport, but not to help run this country. This past couple of weeks Governor Palin was found to have abused her authority in the "Troopergate" scandal; to have written--and changed--expense reports covering trips that also involved her kids (although they were not invited); buying $150,000 worth of high-end clothing (Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, etc.), and other improprieties that question her character and ability to lead.

McCain has also gone off about Obama's tax plan to "spread the wealth" as border line socialism. Actually Obama's plan only tries to spread around the tax burden. It's not really about spreading the wealth or socialism, but McCain is so desperate he's reverting to tired "cold war" language and red herrings. He knows better.

Besides what's wrong with spreading the wealth? Here's some facts to bring perspective to this issue: The richest 400 Americans (just 400, mind you) have a combined net worth of $1.6 trillion, more than half of the wealth in the US. This is also more than the bottom 150 Americans have combined. During eight years of the Bush Administration (which John McCain has supported at least 90 percent of the time), the wealth of the richest Americans increased by $700 billion--the same number that Congress recently gave for the bank bailout!

Do we need to spread the wealth? You bet. There is a massive disparity of income in this country--the so-called Land of the Free (you can't be free if you are poor). And it's getting worse. McCain attacks "spreading the wealth" because he knows this is the most just issue of today. It's more than just "race," it's about class. Whites are poor--in fact the majority of the poor are white. Right now they are catering to them by linking their interests as "whites" against their interest as poor. It's not working, "Joe the Plumber" notwithstanding. It's time for all the poor--Black, Brown, Asian, Native, and White--to set aside personal prejudices and vote in their interests, fight together for common aims, and begin to organize on another level not seen in this country. Although White and Black slaves once united against their masters in the early years of this country's history, the powers-that-be forced the creation of the Black Codes, Jim Crow, and Lynch laws to keep poor Whites at war with Poor Blacks (while Rich Whites prospered--today the rich also include Blacks and Latinos).

I urge everyone to vote on November 4. Vote for history. Vote for change. And if McCain should win, which is possible with all the reported voting shenanigans already happening in early voting states, we need to keep on struggling. It's not time to get despaired or depressed (remember all the people who wanted to go to Canada should Bush win). But if Obama wins what should we do? Yes, keep on struggling. Most likely he will be blocked and sabotaged. But he also has deep limitations. Only the people can truly make change.

Last weekend I took part in a fine event called "Authors for Obama" in Santa Monica. Writers such as Susan Straight, Percival Edwards, Janet Fitch, and others read pieces and talked about the importance of Obama's victory. This election is galvanizing people like never before. I know the Greens are running and Nader is running. But vote for a difference. The only real difference on the ticket is Obama. Yes, the Greens have a great program and great candidates. But right now, with the desperation in the McCain camp and the Republicans, a vote for the Greens becomes a vote that could be a margin of defeat for Obama. Don't let McCain/Palin steal this election.


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