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During the campaign, discussion of our responsibilities to provide a safety net to the poor were alarmingly absent. Our voices must be raised on behalf of Americans struggling to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, even as some misguidedly call for weakening parts of that safety net from food stamps to Medicaid to Social Security.
It is unlikely that we will quickly find consensus on gay marriage; allowing states to continue to make their own decisions is the right course to follow at this time. But until the past few years, there was significant Republican support for a law that would ban employment discrimination because of sexual orientation or gender identity. A concerted effort for passage now could attract the support of those Republican legislators determined to heal some of our nation’s wounds.
So, too, on immigration. Actions must be taken to address the plight of undocumented immigrants who too often live in the shadows even as they contribute to and are a vital part of the fabric of our communities, including implementation of the Dream Act provisions the first Obama administration began. The results of this election reflect the need for both parties to address the needs of the Latino community more assertively than they have before.
We must look beyond our borders as well, with priorities including: reinvigorating your efforts to achieve peace between Israel and the Palestinians — so vital to the U.S. and to the interests of both parties there, acting more assertively in support of the security and well-being of the besieged civilians in Syria, supporting religious freedom as a universal norm and addressing global warming before that crisis spins out of control.
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