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08. 30. 12
90 DAYS 90 REASONS: MICHAEL STIPE ON AMERICAN EQUALITY & DEMOCRACY (REASON #23)
90 Days, 90 Reasons is an independent initiative conceived by our old friend Jordan Kurland (Death Cab For Cutie) and esteemed author Dave Eggers--two guys originally from Chicago--who came to the conclusion earlier this year that many of President Obama’s voters and donors from 2008 needed to be reminded of all he has accomplished, and all he will do if given another term. The pair have asked a wide range of cultural figures, including Michael Stipe, to explain why they are voting for Obama in 2012, in the hopes that these reasons might re-inspire the grassroots army that got Obama elected in the first place. Every day, a new reason will be posted at 90days90reasons.com.

In today's post, Michael and Tom Gilroy give their account, Reason #23, why President Obama's vision is essential to the notion of equality and democracy in America.

REASON 23: PERMANENT ARISTOCRACY

America is a democracy founded on the ideal of all men being created equal, with equal opportunity, equal access to resources, equal power in a government of the people, for the people, and by the people. Fulfilling this ideal means that transgender men get to work alongside fratboys at an investment bank. It means janitors who can't speak English should have access to the same health care as the CEO of an arms manufacturer. That the children of Atheists and Muslims should have access to the same quality education that Christians and Jews have. That women have the same freedoms that men have, and that the poor in a ghetto can drink clean water as easily as the rich on a golf course. Simple.

Fundamentally, democracy is a vision of a society where there is no permanent class structure, where all citizens enjoy the rights of equal opportunity, access, and a social mobility that is synonymous with "the American Dream."

The current Republican platform seeks the opposite of democracy. It seeks to create a permanent aristocracy—a entitled gentry that has greater access to this dream than most of the rest of America.

Literally every policy position of the Republican party can be explained in this light:

Obstructing or denying equal access to healthcare, public education, equitable taxation, legal protection; obstructing or denying marriage equality, workplace safety, voting rights, a living wage; obstructing or denying a woman's right to choose, and a fair-minded Supreme Court that would value the freedom of the individual over the power of corporations—this is how you create a permanent aristocracy, where only the rich can afford "equality."

If you're ok with America being changed like this, then do nothing, let it happen. If you're nauseated by it, vote. It's that simple.

—MICHAEL STIPE & TOM GILROY
New York, New York

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