Sunday, March 12, 2017

Political Ponderings

We attended a Democratic Party dinner last night honoring some friends. I so love my Democratic Party friends. I always know their hearts are in the right place even if policy goes awry, as it's bound to from time to time with either side. 

Something was said tonight that got me thinking. See, Republicans have recently attempted to unite the country by introducing a bill it seems everyone can hate--their Trumpcare health bill, or as I call it, the Trump-don't-care healthcare bill. So anyway, it was pointed out tonight that Republicans largely won NOT by being FOR anything, or not by telling us what it was they were for, at least, but by being against things and telling us all the things we should be scared of and against too.

Instead of spending the past almost 7 years since Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act, was passed working to improve it, they gambled you'd believe them if they were just against it and told you how bad off you were under it. You know what?  The gamble paid off. They were rewarded both Houses of Congress and the Presidency. Only now, many have realized how much protection Obamacare gave, and most people including Trump voters and Republican representatives are realizing how difficult it is to come up with anything better. And all I can think is, Wow, if they'd done their jobs the last 6 or so years to fix it instead of complain about it, we might have a workable solution by now.  But to have done that, they would've had to say what they were for, not just what we should all be scared of or be against.

We are Americans,  dammit.  There's nothing we should be scared of that we can't change by working together and using our brains.

I'm finding progressive/ Democratic leaning folk don't like to just be against things. See, I'm helping organize what is supposed to be a Resistance group using the Indivisible Guide as a reference. The Indivisible Guide is meant to be about pure resistance and opposition.   However, this group of about 50 interested members don't want to just oppose. They want a positive message. It doesn't matter that Republicans did nothing but oppose for 8 years and were rewarded handsomely for it. I'm discovering if you have a progressive bent to your soul, positivity and optimism come with it. Pure opposition is not in your nature. Being FOR something is.

I recently read J.D. Vance's Book Hillbilly
Elegy, HarperCollins, copyright 2016.  (Forgive me, I haven't had to cite a book as a source in quite some time, so if that's incorrect I hope it's enough to keep me from plagiarism!)  As I was pondering all this about being for vs against things and right vs left, I remembered a passage in the book where the author tried to make sense of the white working class's relationship to the government and political Parties. This passage came to mind.

"What separates the successful from the unsuccessful are the expectations they had for their own lives.  Yet the message of the right is increasingly; it's not your fault your a loser; it's the government's fault."

The right wanted to have someone to blame, a boogeyman, the evil, overbearing government. If you've ever had a chronic illness or a random catastrophe,  you know somethings happen outside of our control with no one to blame.  The left understands this. It's not that the left feels there's never anyone to blame, or that government plans always work perfectly, but I get the sense my friends on the left would rather fix things than spend an entire two term Presidency complaining about it.

And my friends on the left understand that changing what a person expects of themselves makes all the difference in the world.  We must invest in changing expectations,  not simply finding a new boogeyman to blame. We must send kids to thriving schools with qualified educators who teach them they are capable. We must feed kids and make sure they have access to healthcare to provide a sense of wellness and self-esteem. 

Now, there I go telling you things I'm for instead of what to be against. You'd think I would've learned better by now, huh?