The Election of our Lives is a Month Away
Here's my plea to Democrats from 2014. It's the same today.
The midterm elections are a month away and I’m panicking. This is nothing new for me. I panic before every election, big or small. I’m a Democrat. I’m conditioned to panic. We lose often. You may have noticed.
I love being a Democrat and I love knowing so many other Democrats think like I do, but I’m not blind to the fact that there are sources out there bent on destroying us in every way possible. They’ve won before, as you may have noticed.
What I’m about to share with you isn’t new, and I wish I didn’t have to remind myself that my fears back then were every bit as real—even prescient—as they are today. I wrote this on October 4, 2014, a month before the Republicans skunked us and took over everything but the presidency. I didn’t know it would happen, of course, but I had every reason to suspect it. To fear it.
I’ve lived in fear ever since. I don’t understand the American electorate. Even after all these years, I don’t understand the need to feed the hand that bites you. But that’s another story. I don’t have time for it now. Because now I’m in panic mode, even though the Republicans have been such bad citizens they should by rights be banned from public office forever.
What follows is what I said to my fellow Democrats those many years ago. This is, for the most part, what I’d say to them today, bearing in mind that today the stakes are even higher. The Republicans are even more dangerous. It’s no longer a matter of wanting to win, it’s a matter of HAVING to win. There won’t be many more chances.
Please heart and share. Comments, as always, are open.
(Bear in mind that everything I wrote here happened before Donald Trump appeared on the scene. All of this was the catalyst for his improbable presidency. The Republicans were waiting for someone as ruthless and audacious as he was. They were priming for it.)
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Saturday, October 4, 2014
The mid-term elections are less than a month away and there's a good chance the Republicans will hold the House and possibly take the Senate. Stunning as that
probability possibility is, considering the shoddy business the Republicans have been engaged in ever since their guy, Mitt Romney, lost to Barack Obama, the truth is, it looks like half the country's voters are still more than willing to vote for that particular party.
You hear that, Democrats? The Republicans could win. I mean, WIN.
Here's the part that really irks me: The Republicans get off on making things terrible for the rest of us and if we let them win again, there's no chance they'll even say "thank you". First they'll gloat and then they'll make us pay for being so stupid as to let them win. They're out to hurt us and we have a history of making it easy for them.
Can we stop doing that? Please?
Don't even get me started on the Supreme Court and Citizens United, the Koch Brothers' factions, insane-to-the-point-of-hilarious-if-you-find-that-sort-of-thing-funny gerrymandering, corporate vs. social welfare, insurance-mandated health care, tax breaks for the rich, the attempted murder of public education, the killing off of unions in order to keep labor poor and grateful for just any job, the ongoing crusade to keep women barefoot and on their knees, the effort to pretend hungry kids aren't really hungry--not to mention the sanctioned takeover of our airwaves so that only the rich can survive to tell their stories. All brought to us by the Republicans.
We're just under a month away from the elections and once again, sorry to say, we Democrats have failed to make our case. We have a platform that says the major focus for Democrats is, very simply, to ensure equality, to lift up the lower and middle classes, to keep our bodies healthy and our environment safe, to never be Republicans.
We're humanitarians (definition: concerned with or seeking to promote human welfare), which means we're liberals, and we used to be proud of it. Not anymore. We've become pathetically careful about blowing our own horns lest someone think we're bragging. Or smug. Or condescending. Or--oh my God--elitist. We fall for that shit every time.
We're such suckers. No wonder so many people have lost respect for us. During the Reagan years the Republicans deliberately built the lie that it's bad to be good, and damned if we didn't fall for it. Even those of us who knew better. (One small example: Some of us dropped the word "Liberal" because people were making fun of us. A dark moment in our history, but one I won't forget.)
Suddenly the Teflon president could do no wrong and anyone who went against him--including the last of the investigative press--were deemed doltish. Arrogant. And just not nice. So because we got suckered into feeling bad about doing good stuff, they got away with demeaning anyone on welfare (welfare queens in Cadillacs), with calling ketchup a vegetable in order to save money on poor kids' school lunches, with convincing workers they didn't need unions, with starting the ball rolling on outsourcing, and with moving the country Rightward when moving to the Right meant moving backward, not forward.
It's not that Republicans don't care about people--some--maybe even a lot of them--sincerely do. It's just that their method of "helping" is to keep on boosting the rich, buying their phony claims against the government (that's us) that taking away those awful tax burdens and pesky regulations would save us all, because, you know, Trickle Down theory. (Because Ronald Reagan SAID it would work, that's why.) But as long as we let the wealthy build their fortunes in this country without having to share it here, there is no chance it will ever trickle down. It can't and won't work that way. They take but they don't give back, and they're as proud of that little coup as the voters are oblivious to it.
Their buddies in the House and Senate know that as long as they keep the hot-button issues like abortion, religious "persecution", gun rights, and gay marriage going, they'll get the votes. The money will keep rolling in for those so-called public servants, they'll get to keep their taxpayer-paid jobs and, if they stay in office long enough, they'll get--courtesy of us--a dandy lifetime retirement package, safe from the vagaries of depressions, recessions, or greed. No matter what they do to us, they'll have it made and we'll go on paying them. For the rest of their lives. Knowing, of course, that they will never return the favor. Because we're suckers and they're not.
We Democrats are here to put working people first. Our job as Democrats is to work tirelessly to keep people safe, to build a strong middle class, and to put the people who ruined our economy out of business. And if we can't bring ourselves to do that, we should at least have the good sense to stop rewarding them.
I'm worried about my party. Our representatives aren't listening to us. Some Democratic politicians are breaking away, on the lookout for better friends. I, on the other hand--I'm on the lookout for better politicians. Politicians are elected to represent the party that supports them. We, the Democratic voters, make up the party. Our politicians are temporary and expendable. Our party is, or should be, forever.
I've been a Democrat for multiple decades--so many, you could say I'm entrenched. So when elected men and women who say they're Democrats don't act like Democrats, I take it personally. I know what I am and they're not it.
Democrats are not Republicans. Democrats lean liberal. (Republicans, you might have noticed, don't.) Democrats are Democrats because we believe in people, not corporations. Corporations are not now and never have been people, and Dem politicians should be screaming their heads off over that one. Five members of the Supreme Court have opened the doors to allowing those with the most money to own our country. That's nuts. We Democrats are the only ones who might be in a position to change that, but we have to win elections first.
So listen up, politicians: If you don't know (or don't care) that being a Democrat means you're expected to lean liberal/progressive, then do us a favor and get out. Stop pretending you're one of us. We have work to do and you're not helping. We need universal health care, strong unions, smooth-running social programs, massive infrastructure funding, the dehumanization of corporations, and an end to deadly trillion-dollar wars.
The people who caused this mess need to be held accountable. If you think nothing can be done, you're not one of us. We don't need you. We need tough people who don't shrink from stupid insults or fall for false promises. The Republicans are our enemy and they're comfortable in that role. We can't reason with them or force them to compromise, because they like things the way they are. They get paid big bucks to keep it this way. And honestly, Dems, six years of unrelenting obstruction and recalcitrance should be proof enough that they're serious about wanting to destroy us. What else could they possibly do to convince you?
So just stop, please. Take a breath. You're Democrats. Act like you're proud of it.