"Americans have spoken and the collective voice was heard at the end of Election Day. With the recent ascent to congressional power, a rare opportunity exists for this Democratic-led body to reaffirm the values and principles the party has traditionally espoused — principles that have all but been absent in government policy and operation since the loss of the 2000 presidential election and the subsequent loss of congressional seats resulting in the long lasting Democratic minority.

Americans all over this nation have been hurting, having suffered serious injury from the failed policies of the current administration. There exists with this opportunity to heal some of the hurting.

The current administration inherited a vibrant economy that resulted in a sizeable surplus and reduced it to shambles, accompanied by the highest deficits in American history. The unnecessary rush to war in Iraq, which was undertaken with little forethought, has seriously eroded our prestige abroad and among traditional American allies. This war has resulted in the unnecessary deaths of countless thousands of Iraqis and nearly 3,000 U.S. soldiers killed and over 22,000 wounded.  

Over 48 million American do not have health insurance in the most prosperous and technologically advanced nation on the face of the Earth. In a country as materially prosperous as the United States, it is unconscionable that health care remains non-existent and out of the financial reach of Americans who get up and go to work every day, often times to two or more jobs.

The current minimum wage — $7.15 — still places minimum wage workers far below the poverty threshold of $17,463 for a family of four. American minimum wage workers should be paid a LIVING WAGE, wages that keep pace with inflation and the cost of LIVING. This is an issue that especially needs to be among the top priorities of a reorganized and reinvigorated Democratic majority in Congress.

Hurricane Katrina gave Americans a glimpse at the realities of an ugly side of American life for a nearly invisible populace that has for far too long been ignored and accepted as the status quo. Many Americans watched in horror and disbelief at the magnitude of human suffering and the lack of a dignified response that occurred in the richest and most powerful country on the planet.

Glaring disparities between the haves and the have-nots were displayed to the American psyche and indelibly seared into the American consciousness by this disaster and the ensuing government debacle and failure to effectively deal with the human suffering.

While the war of terror is indeed an issue that requires we remain vigilant, the issues that impact Americans daily must and should be addressed by the Congress of the United States.

Millard Tyrone Sprinkles




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