Monday, October 8, 2012

Shut your Enthusiasm Gap and get out there and DO something -- two years later

NOTE:  This is a repeat of a blog post from October, 2010, the year the Democrats lost the edge by losing the House to the Tea Party and the Right Wing.  If it looks like I'm nagging, what you're reading is pure desperation.  If the lines in bold-face look like I'm gloating because I was right, look more closely.  They're covered in bitter tears.

I'm repeating this because we're at that place again and if we couldn't afford to lose in 2010 we really, truly can't afford to lose in 2012.
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We all know that certain people who make it a practice to depreciate the accomplishments of labor - who even attack labor as unpatriotic - they keep this up usually for three years and six months in a row. But then, for some strange reason they change their tune- every four years- just before election day. When votes are at stake, they suddenly discover that they really love labor and that they are anxious to protect labor from its old friends.
 
I got quite a laugh, for example - and I am sure that you did - when I read this plank in the Republican platform adopted at their National Convention in Chicago last July: "The Republican Party accepts the purposes of the National Labor Relations Act, the Wage and Hour Act, the Social Security Act and all other Federal statutes designed to promote and protect the welfare of American working men and women, and we promise a fair and just administration of these laws."
 
You know, many of the Republican leaders and Congressmen and candidates, who shouted enthusiastic approval of that plank in that Convention Hall would not even recognize these progressive laws if they met them in broad daylight. Indeed, they have personally spent years of effort and energy - and much money - in fighting every one of those laws in the Congress, and in the press, and in the courts, ever since this Administration began to advocate them and enact them into legislation. That is a fair example of their insincerity and of their inconsistency. 

The whole purpose of Republican oratory these days seems to be to switch labels. The object is to persuade the American people that the Democratic Party was responsible for the 1929 crash and the depression, and that the Republican Party was responsible for all social progress under the New Deal.

Now, imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery - but I am afraid that in this case it is the most obvious common or garden variety of fraud.

FDR, September 23, 1944

Okay, I feel like the mother hen here--the dotty old mother hen who keeps repeating herself, even when it's clear that nobody wants to listen.  We mother hens do this, not because we're so keen on being royal pains-in-the-ass, but because we're keen on looking at the big picture and keeping it real.

So, yes, I've said this before and I'll say it again:  We Dems/Libs/Progs need to do everything we can to keep the Democrats in control.  If we don't, the Republicans win and their gloating will take the form of locking us in towers and throwing away the keys.  They haven't even won yet, but on the strength of polls and pundits telling them they will, they're already planning ways to kill the few puny safety nets we've been able to jimmy into place.

So along with the satisfaction you get from gunning for the Democrats who in your view are either clueless or cowardly or in bed with the corporates, you might want to give a thought to how all that griping is fueling the other side.  They're loving these little internecine battles, because while all that spitting and hissing is going on, they can move on down that low road with nary a care in the world.
 
I'm not going to rehash the horrors that will be unleashed if the Republicans take over congress, because there are others who have done it much more thoroughly already.  It will be bad.  You know that.  It will be so bad, we'll wonder how we could have let it happen again. 

We'll pretend we didn't have anything to do with it--that the Big Money/Tea Party juggernaut was just too much for us.  But we'll be lying to ourselves, won't we?  All of this energy going toward attacking our own should be going toward attacking them. They are the enemy of the people, the destroyers of the universe (given half a chance), and we have an obligation to heal the wounds, not make them deeper.

The One Nation rally should be enough to convince us that we have the power if we'll only just use it.  It's a lie that we are a right-leaning country.  We couldn't have accomplished as much as we did if we had historically followed the dictates of the right.  We would never have had a healthy labor movement, a vibrant middle class, a claim to the title of greatest power on earth, without liberal pressure and sweat.  We built this country; they tore it down.  Now we're trying to rebuild and they're on the fast-track to tearing it down again.

 The press is profiting from the looniness of the Right Wing and spends almost all of their time mooning over them.  Meanwhile, the good folks with mountains of practical, beneficent ideas but no talent for hawking them sit around and wait their turn.  Still, I'm seeing encouraging signs of a momentum building.  The Huffington Post, for example, has a new page called "Third World America", where real people talk about real problems and real solutions.  Elizabeth Warren finally has the president's ear, and someone is actually quoting the irrepressibly sensible Bernie Sanders.   Al Franken's heart is a hit on the senate floor.  Rachel Maddow has become an unlikely and refreshingly brilliant star.  Lawrence O'Donnell--smart guy in his own right--has his own show.  Michael Moore gives the Dems five steps to a win and in his follow-up he sees some progress.  And President Obama is beginning to sound like his old self.

So what's it going to be?  The Republicans taking over congress and making sure none of our programs ever see the light of day?  Or the Democrats winning a clear majority, sending a message to the entire country about where our priorities must lie?

I'm declaring a moratorium on Democrat-bashing until the elections are over.  It's only another month.  If the Democrats win, we'll have a chance to hold their feet to the fire to get things done.  If they lose, we'll have no chance at all.

I'm going for that chance, whatever it takes, and I hope you will, too.

Ramona

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