Mitt Romney's choice of Representative Paul Ryan for Vice-President is a clarion call to action for anyone who cares what happens to this country in the next decade. As affable, charming, and intelligent as Ryan seems, one has only to listen to what he proposes in his GOP budget plan to realize that he is not in touch with American needs.
As I was driving down Division Street here in Rome recently, I had to slow down for a woman walking on the railroad track. She seemed disoriented and eventually shuffled down the sidewalk. I kept wondering what will happen to her and who would take care of her. There are a number of poorer families (white, black, and hispanic) in the same area. Of the group, only the hispanics seem to be making any progress. Each time I drive out Shorter Avenue I see two or three crippled men on scooters, one of whom has no legs. I see people waiting in the searing heat waiting for a bus and looking forlorn. What are their advantages? Who cares about them? These and millions like them are invisible to Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They are on different streets with different destinations. Why should they care?
Romney keeps demanding that we increase military strength, not cut military spending. He does not seem to realize that defense in this century is going to rely far less on ships and planes and more on diplomacy and good will. His embarassing goofs on his European trip are proof of that. Ryan has little or no international experience. As for Ryan's budget proposals, they threaten to end the current medicare program and offer set vouchers for seniors within 10 years. So, the new health care law will be destroyed, and those 40 million or so Americans without care will have to fend for themselves. Never mind that they and millions of seniors won't be able to afford the vouchers. Other cuts will come for women who care about their health and their reproductive rights. If Ryan and his claque have their way, reproductive rights and planned parenthood will be things of the past.
So, I ask that we start noticing the people on the streets, not just the avenues, that we see many of the folks at our local super market, including the checkout workers, the elderly couples carefully counting their coupons, the downtrodden women with too many children, and all those who need help. If we don't see them, it's a cinch that Ryan and Romney won't.