Yes, ladies you had a fine day. It was International Women’s Day and lots of women did lots of constructive things, and needless to say, while they were doing them the concern trolls were out again. I’ll not name them, they know who they are…
I was told by one pundit on my television this morning that there was a danger of the “resistance” burning out from so many marches and things. Oh, really? Burn out? Tell that to some women who put in a full 8 to 10 hours of work, come home, do the housework, fix the meals, do the shopping, and make time to hit the streets. Tell that to women who can make appointments for the kids’ dental exams while fixing lunch and finding the socks that didn’t emerge from the dryer, all in the same 15 minutes.
Tell that to women who work, and know that they are making somewhere between $0.15 and $0.35 less than men for the same job. Tell that to mothers who know that their kids need the local public schools. Tell that to grandmothers who remember when the Cuyahoga River caught fire without being reminded by the opening scene of Major League, and don’t want that environment for their grandchildren. Tell that to the aunts of gay and lesbian nephews and nieces, whom they love without reservation and support without conditions. Tell that to the women who gather for coffee with friends who are Hispanic, who fear for their relatives and loved ones. Tell that to Jewish women concerned for the safety of the graves of their elders, the Muslim women who fear for the safety of their children, and the Sikhs who fear for the safety of their community. Burn out? These women are just lighting the tinder.
If this weren’t patronizing (do I want to use the word ‘condescending?’) enough, the boo-birds from the Occupy moments are back. It’s OK to be “intersectional” just don’t talk about it so much. Huh? I get the part where the leadership should just DO it, but talking is part of the process, and women do like to talk things out. If that offends male ears, so be it, but don’t disparage efforts to combine efforts and find common grounds for activities.
And, then there’s the “don’t make busy work” argument. It’s tangential to the Please Focus of the people who found fault with the Occupy people. What’s the good, they ask, of having a thousand post cards on a thousand different subjects? Where to begin?
First, this resistance isn’t a carefully articulated and organized Madison Avenue campaign for a new laundry detergent, and shouldn’t be treated as such. It certainly shouldn’t be evaluated that way. What’s the matter with having a thousand post cards sent by individuals who have never before engaged with their Representatives and Senators? That’s a thousand little pieces of contact that weren’t happening before. The more phone calls, letters, and post cards, the less often Senator Sludgepump and Representative Bilgewater can say “I haven’t heard from anyone in my state (district) about this subject.”
Secondly, this argument disparages the efforts of those who are not political professionals. Yes, it would be nice to have a single issue, like George W. Bush’s efforts to privatize Social Security, to address. However, this mis-administration is different. It’s not just the assault of Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid; it’s a full on attack on environmental protection regulations, on immigrants and their families, on Muslims and their neighbors, on consumer protections, on financial reform legislation, on the rights of labor and working people, on the pensions and health benefits of coal miners, on the neutrality of Internet services…
And, there are those whose circumstances are such that phone calls, letters, and post cards are what they CAN do. Given the seriousness of the assault on American institutions, values, and government, it’s all hands on deck. Everyone doing what they can when they can, and taking a break every now and then to let someone else run with the baton for a lap.
When politicians focused on signal issues — like Social Security — it was relatively easy to target campaign promises and compare them to delivery. The current political situation is more properly compared to the ducks on the shooting gallery tracks, forever emerging, forever repeating themselves, forever streaming past; aiming at a single one means the next dozen are missed. The administration, and its allies in Congress, need to know that every attempt to degrade the values of this country, to dismantle the social safety nets that secure us, will be met with resistance.
The process of comparing campaign policies to governance policy is slowly becoming more clear. For example, it’s becoming ever more obvious that The Wall, is morphing into a fence, and the fence into fiscal insanity. What does it do for security to spend money on a highly questionable wall while slashing the budgets for the Coast Guard, and the TSA? What does it do for national security to issue unconstitutional executive order after unconstitutional executive order establishing a Muslim ban? There’s another issue that will solidify with time.
Jobs, jobs, jobs, and no jobs. A national right to work bill is not in the interest of any worker anywhere in this country, but the Republicans will push it through if they can. It’s all well and good to talk about Buy American, but that sounds a bit hollow considering there are pictures of Russian steel being unloaded recently on New Jersey docks. The parsing was pathetic — pipelines built with American steel became pipelines built with steel already contracted from the Russians. Making lovely announcements about infrastructure projects are soothing to the ears until we get to the part wherein it’s new construction, with copious benefits for the financiers and not so many for the workers on the projects. Then, “I love coal,” doesn’t quite cover inaction on health benefits for retired miners whose pension funds are running out.
Affordable health care insurance? Coverage for everyone becomes coverage for those who can afford it? Or, it’s nice to have access, but if a person can’t afford a policy covering personal and family needs access is perfectly meaningless. Remember, the promise was that premium costs would go down, but the average premium increase under the ACA including the outlier in Arizona was a 23% average increase; now the GOP is promising a 30% increase and calling it an improvement!
These, and other issues will solidify into more attractive targets, but it will take some time for the accretion to establish itself. There will be time for focused attacks, and by then a wonderful horde of newly energized resistance ‘fighters’ will be used to making phone calls, writing letters and postcards, attending protests, going to town halls, and organizing social events for political purposes. Politics, it is to be hoped, will no longer be a spectator sport. Perhaps it’s time for the pundits to, as the saying goes, “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”