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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Essay: Why Everybody (except angry white males) Should Vote Democratic

Why Everybody (except angry white males) Should Vote Democratic
This was written in the spring of 2012 - The names have changed, but the sentiments are worth running up the flag pole again.
 
I don’t begrudge “Tea Party” sympathizers their frustrated state of mind. Times are hard and they have been getting harder for the last several decades – along with the pace of change. Everybody is struggling and unhappy. But, this is not a good time to seriously think that we can go back to family farms and small-shop manufacturing. Neither is it helpful to start arming yourself because your President is black, some of your neighbors speak Spanish or Vietnamese, or some Muslims are building a place of worship. Really, just what are you planning to do with all of that firepower?
We rescued a small dog a while back. We knew that the dog would eventually quit trying to jump on the cats and that the cats would quit hissing at her – but the critters only knew that they were anxious and confused right now. One kitty wouldn’t come out of the laundry room for several days. They will never be great friends but they can now nap all together without making a fuss. My point is that we humans ought to be able to do even better.
The Democratic Party represents the best long-term interests of the majority of U.S. citizens. Even if you don’t like their attitude, diversity, or permissiveness, a Republican vote, this year, is against your best interests. Most angry white males are in their own tightly self-constructed world. You can love them and feed them, but
I don’t think you can do much to change their minds just now, so never mind.
The bottom line is that there is no going back. Regressive policies put us into the worst of our current problems and, if brought back, would only make things worse. These bad policies include tax cuts for the very rich, allowing businesses to buy political influence, unjustified (and unfunded) wars, and trashing regulatory protections against pollution, exploitation, and financial risk-taking. The Republican Party used to have conservative and liberal wings, but they are currently hell-bent on charging in the wrong direction. By “bad” and “wrong” I mean against the long-term best interests of the majority of American citizens.
In the past, progressive policies brought us the best of what enabled individuals, small businesses, and minority groups to seize the American Dream. Progressive policies brought us budget surpluses under President Clinton. Progressive policies turned-around the recent economic death-spiral. We may whine that the recovery is too slow, but we should be damn grateful. We should want to continue moving forward in the same direction.
Mitt Romney, despite being a faithful family- and church-man, has not demonstrated that he has the best interests of most citizens at heart. In fact, his business experience is in reaping profits for investors. Romney pioneered techniques for outsourcing jobs, evading taxes, plundering losing assets, and promoting himself. He is willing to feed the worst greed of the rich elite, and the worst bigotry of the far right-wing. Romney remains the choice of greedy rich men, and angry white men.
Naturally, President Obama can’t go around bragging, “It would have been worse.” But really; it would have been much, much worse. It is a pity that we haven’t seen, in our TV shows and newspapers, the litany of ways that the “Obama stimulus” has made a difference in every community. Win-win projects were chosen that would both keep people working and advance our country’s long-term needs. Vital research was funded. Our electrical grid got updates. Wind and solar generation projects got tax breaks. But also, when we got a new bridge, when the school was repaired, when two police officers were not laid off, nobody noticed that the stimulus made it happen.
The president is not endowed with an endless supply of magic fairy dust – just the headship of the Executive Branch. But, the fact of the matter is that we have been well-served. President Obama wisely selected experienced people for his transition team and government. He was even willing to recruit and listen to Republicans. He was even determined to convince Hillary Clinton, his opponent in the primaries, to serve with him.
Presidents can exercise limited policy discretion, but it is our Senators and Congressmen who make the laws. Or, not so much recently. In fact, House and Senate Republicans have invested a great deal of effort in obstructing American recovery efforts -- even voting against their own earlier best ideas. We should stop voting for those Republican obstructionists who would inflict damage to their country for the sole purpose of getting a black man out of “their” white house. His biggest mistake was believing, at first, that Republican “public servants” in Congress would eventually come around and work with him to actually serve the public.
You can’t really believe that President Obama hates this country, or plans to spend us down the drain, or sell us to China. You CAN believe that our economic pump needed priming and that he did the job without a lot of waste. In fact, many economists believe that the stimulus should have been bigger. Insiders report that during the design of the stimulus, Obama’s guidance was to get the fastest, best, and most future-building bang for the buck. He consistently warned department heads to not use it to justify increases in their budgets.
We can’t let the big banking dogs eat all the dog food. We can’t let the big-business foxes run the hen house. We can’t let austerity eat our seed corn. We can’t continue to let financiers gamble with our money, keeping the profits and sticking the rest of us with the losses. We can’t let well-organized zealots force their religious doctrines into our private lives. Vote Democratic this year.
We may have suffered whiplash when Obama suddenly left behind the hopey-changey rhetoric of the campaign and dived whole-souled into the wonky-techy work of getting domestic and foreign policy right. But we didn’t suffer from his commitment to looking out for the long-term best interests of our country. Vote Democratic this year.