I have to admit to being a bit tired from the firehosed gaslighting news of the week. I am tired of explications of how Republicans in Georgia and North Dakota, being unwilling to submit their ideas to the voters of their respective states have decided instead to play untoward games with the electoral process. Too many Black and other people of color voting? — just put their registration applications on hold, close their polling places, limit their voting hours…. Too many Native Americans voting? Simple — require physical addresses for places that don’t have home mail delivery. Bonus: Rural voters may also be excluded from voting if they, too, “live” in their P.O. Boxes.
Here’s a clue. If it is necessary to play these kinds of games in order to win elections then it is quite possible the party doesn’t have a strong and appealing message for voters.
I am also tired of media whining about Democrats without messages. I’ve no apologies on offer if the Democrats aren’t saying what the punditry want them to say, however I’m willing to guess that they must be saying something effectively or the GOP wouldn’t be fear mongering and vote suppressing to beat the band.
Democrats are talking about Health Care. They are speaking about Republican plans to demolish the Affordable Care Act if they retain control of Congress. They are speaking about Republican announced plans to shave Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid (in order to pay for their tax cuts.) They are speaking about comprehensive immigration policy reform. If they are not speaking is easily digestible sound bites and bumper sticker slogans, then why can’t the media spend the required one or two minutes to explain that there are some issues that don’t lend themselves to bumper sticker solutions?
What the media appear to bemoan is that Democrats aren’t “marketing” their ideas, not that they don’t have any. Consider for a moment what happens when one side is all marketing and the other side wants to talk about governing. Media loves media. Marketing recognizes good marketing. Few want to address the issues of governing, and thus we get Republicans who simply can’t govern. They don’t like policy arguments, they don’t like nuanced discussions; they don’t like governing. They don’t like government. They are rather like cooks, who once placed in a chef’s kitchen, want to do nothing more than make hamburgers. They haven’t had many original ideas in decades.
“Entitlement Reform?” That’s merely the latest marketing slogan/dog whistle for dismantling Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Once more with feeling: We are entitled to these programs because we’ve been paying into them all our working lives.
“Eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse?” This is more “Starve the Beast.” We’ve been listening to the Starve the Beast rhetoric for decades. The GOP idea is to spend the money on the military-industrial complex, shut down revenue by cutting corporate taxation, and then announce we “have to” cut social safety net programs because we can no longer afford them. Heaven forefend they’d discuss raising corporate taxes or closing loopholes to secure additional revenue! These hoary ideas are as old as Donkey Kong.
Instead of listening to the old, stale, ideas rehashed and re-marketed for the electorate, how about we keep repeating:
- Health care is essential. No one “decides” to get sick or get hit by a car. Everyone should be able to afford health care insurance which actually covers health care expenses.
- Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are social safety net programs which have proven successful. They are expensive, but they are also essential if we want to avoid our elders in dire poverty, our elders dying without health care because they are priced out of the private market, and our fellow citizens without health care services such that they do become a burden on their families and their communities.
- Immigration policy reform is possible if we take the fearmongering racism out of the discussion. We actually had a proposal enacted by the Senate. However, after the radicals began bellowing “amnesty” every time someone mentioned the notion that people who’ve made their lives here, and became productive members of the community should have a path to citizenship, the plan failed. If the racists and xenophobes would pipe down we could probably get to a workable solution.
- The economy could be better. It would be a lot better if we would stop rewarding the top 0.1% for investing in whatever happens to be the Stock of the Quarter and start rewarding people who actually spend their money buying things and services … homes, vehicles, clothing, food, movie tickets, electronics, etc. We know who these people are, they are working, they are middle class, they are everyday Americans, and for the most part they are good people.
- We can get back to being Good People. No, we don’t separate children from their parents at our southern border! No, we don’t countenance the harassment and abuse of women. No, we don’t condone the murder of our journalists in a Saudi consulate in Istanbul — or anywhere else. No, we don’t declare Canadian dairy farmers a “threat to our national security.” No, we don’t think all the citizens of Mexico are drug dealers and rapists. No, we don’t think neo-nazis are “very fine people.”
So, let’s Make America Good Again. Vote.