Mary Pitt: The Dems Just Don't Get It!
The Dems Just Don't Get It!
By Mary Pitt
The Democratic leadership just don't get it! Day after day, we hear them whine that we must become more Republican Lite in order to win. We should ''move right'' and be more conciliatory to our opponents if we want to earn more votes. In the Senate, our "leaders" bow to the will of the president in confirming the nominations of people who should not be allowed to serve in any capacity, but we hear the whine that "The President is entitled to have the people he wants to work with him". The House knuckles under to proposals to remove the only method by which the people can hold the feet of the corporate victimizers to the fire for their marketing of shoddy workmanship, defective products and dangerous drugs.
These people are tone deaf to the messages they received during the late unlamented Presidential campaign. Due to the exhortations of such people as Howard Dean, Dennis Kucinich, and yes, even Al Sharpton, the Democratic Party for the first time exceeded the financial contributions of the Republicans and their sponsoring millionaires. Common people who had never before stirred themselves to bother, registered to vote, contributed their hard-earned dollars, and campaigned with hope in the prospect of regaining their government. For the first time in several administrations it appeared possible to elect a "man of the people" who would stand up to those who had, by Executive Order, suspended many of our Constitutional rights, slammed the hated Patriot Act through Congress before it could even be read, and plunged our nation into a pre-emptive war that is costing the lives of our sons on a daily basis.
But this was not to be. The Republican propaganda machine and the "Beltway Media" came out in force, ridiculing this, the first populist uprising in a century, as a looney-left movement and very carefully steering the promotion of a more acceptable "mainstream" candidate. It took the airing out of context of "the scream" by Howard Dean to write finis to the yearnings of the "huddled masses". It took little of the voter suppression that has become typical in our national elections to discourage those who had so eagerly contemplated a return to a "government of the people" and to convince them that voting would again be a waste of their time. They had hoped to assist a real leader to arise and give the Bush administration the thrashing they so richly deserved and to place the nation back on the right track.
This hope was dashed by the failure of John Kerry to step up to the plate and to fight for the principles in which they so ardently believed. Senator Kerry failed this test by refusing to defend himself against such CREEPs as the Swift Boat Vetereans for Truth or adequately to speak out on the pressing domestic issues. It became a case of trying to be more Bush than Bush. Yes, it was right to invade Iraq, even though the threat of Weapons of Mass Destruction and complicity in the bombing of the World Trade Center were proven to be convenient lies. No, we would not soon be recalling the troops who were being kept there in literal involuntary servitude to the point of exhaustion. No, there was no reason to institute a draft in order to provide them with replacements. Kerry strutted onto the stage and "reported for duty" as if directing the same war of which the people so disapproved and ignored the plight of those who are having trouble coping with layoffs from work and ever-dwindling paychecks while their children are attending sub-standard schools and suffering from inadequate health care. Further, in the back of every non-Republican mind was the admonition, "Be careful what you say. Be careful what you do." Why would any freedom-loving American who had enjoyed living in the United States waste their time by running the gauntlet to the polls only to vote for "more of the same, with a slight difference"?
Now we are told that Social Security is "going broke". We have heard that before and we know that it is not so "broke" that it cannot be fixed by simply increasing or removing the "cap" on the amount of earnings that is subject to the withholding. We will see how diligently the Democrats defend this essential social program. President Bush is going to "reduce the deficit". This will be done by decreasing the amounts for education, for health care, for veterans' benefits, and for other programs that are essential to the elderly, the handicapped, and the desperately poor, all the while clinging to the insistence that the tax cuts for the wealthy be made permanent. Through all this, the people who turned out to work for the election of a truly populist candidate are watching and judging whether a further fight will be worth the effort or whether to give up and resign themselves to a lifetime of virtual slavery.
What will it take to re-kindle the fire that was lit by Dr. Dean, Sen John Edwards, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, and Al Sharpton? The naming of Dr. Dean to the chairmanship of the Democratic Party is a start, but only if he can transmit the same message that was used in 2004. If the Democratic leaders will allow him to continue on his original track and continue to inspire this heretofore voluntarily-disenfranchised segment of the American people, their sheer numbers will overcome the political machines to recover and repair our country and its standing in the world. Dr, Dean should take his cheer ("scream") into the hustings and teach it to others who will speak to these people who will respond in kind until the Republicans will hear it in their nightmares.
"We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!"
Mary Pitt is a septuagenarian Kansan who is self-employed and active in the political arena. Her concerns are her four-generation family and the continuance of the United States as a democracy with a government "of the people, by the people, and for the people". Comments and criticism may be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org .