Saturday, October 11, 2014

Food for Thought

I am somewhat bothered about reaching back into the 90's for a democratic presidential candidate for the next go round.  Of course I would vote for the democrat, whom ever it is, but the thought of having another Clinton or Bush in office makes me think this country just can't move on.  Yesterday I blogged about the ability of the internet to hold us back from progress.  My favorite blogger, Bubba Munster, posted this comment yesterday and I wanted to put it on the main page.  It should get you thinking.

"That's true about the right wing internet. It's a vast area you might not even be aware of unless you stumble upon it. 

When I was on Facebook I'd see an occasional posting from my brother Bill, the family Republican (married a Baptist preacher's daughter and, I think, got caught up in the ecstasy). They have their own memes and web sites, tea bagger sites, news sites, and it's all interconnected. The Left might take a look and see how it's done.

But it's pretty dumb, too. Bill never posted a single a thing that I couldn't easily point out the central flaw in. But it never mattered, either. With them, it's not an intellectual endeavor, it's emotional. Their heart is stirred by odes to entrepreneurial spirit or Ronald Reagan's city on a hill and they are made afraid by scary religions and images of brown hoards and a disappearing America that never existed.

The dumbing down of America may well be unstoppable, but there was a previous America that wasn't well educated, either, and it managed to assume quite a bit of political power, which was expressed through unions and various Socialist and Populist parties and by the Democratic Party, eventually.

For all of the benefits of our post WWII public education system, that was remarkable in educating people and making college open to practically all who wanted to attend, that generation, of the well educated, hasn't been able to stop public education's ongoing gutting, nor the dumbing down, nor the evisceration of anything else from the New Deal era like increasingly higher wages and living standards.

The reason: Democrats stopped being a class based party and became Republicans who are socially liberal, and stood by doing nothing while war was waged on the unions.

The only thing that will unite working people, that ever has, is class identity. It will unite people across region, race, gender and ethnicity. The rich have it, but they've managed to make working people believe we live in a classless society. And they have waged Reaganomics, which is nothing but a war of the ruling class against the working class, a scheme for the massive redistribution of wealth upward, and the Democratic Party eventually went along with it.

It all started back in the 70s with Bill Clinton and Al Gore and their Democratic Leadership Council, and Tony Coehlo, the congressman from California, when he was put in charge of fundraising and said we should go after all that Wall Street money, and they did.

Now you have New Mexico Democrats who won't even utter the word "union" in public, who veer far, far away from anything that hints of populism, whose campaigns and votes once in office make mockeries of working peoples' economic interests, as they slash rich peoples' taxes ever further, cut Medicare and Social Security, cut veteran's benefits, cut Head Start, and look away as college becomes a disappearing dream for more and more kids. But they're fighting hard to save the middle class. Just listen to them."


Vicki said...

Part 1: I have my differences with Bubba Martinez who I often think he sees the world a bit too simplistically. However, on the question of the Democratic Party's abandonment of a "class perspective" as the reason for its ineffectiveness in elections, I agree with him. I wrote the following in 2004 right after George Bush defeated John Kerry. Not much has changed with the exception that a few million more people who thought of themselves as "middle class" have descended into poverty.

"The 2004 election was more about class than anyone in the Democratic leadership will admit. Kerry's constant appeals to the "middle class" always grated on my ears because what I interpreted that to be was an appeal to those people who currently have a comfortable material basis but could lose it under Bush’s reckless policies - the ones who own a home (or two) and 2-5 cars (including at least 1 SUV, BMW, or Lexus), have one or more kids in college that they are supporting without government grants, have employer provided health and dental insurance, and have multiple credit cards and a credit limit of at least 25K most of which is maxed out. Now I worry about these people, too, but with comfortable incomes of about 100K and up, they are at the tip of the iceberg for “middle class” and most of the middle and lower class families are already under water.

The Democratic Party too often sounds elitist and panders to the same corporate sources as the Republican Party for campaign funds. The "working class" in this country is actually pretty fiscally conservative by necessity. Their main organizations have been unions and churches. They go to work, pay taxes, and help their neighbor; and resent anyone who doesn't. Most of them don’t have any employer-paid health or dental insurance or pensions. These benefits have gone away in direct relation to the disappearance of union-jobs. If they have 401(k) plans at all, too often they must choose buying kids clothes and making the rent or a house payment before they can contribute to a stock savings plan. Their homes, which are rented or if owned, are hocked to the banks in first, second, and home equity mortgages. They literally are about two paychecks from financial ground zero. They have values which they feel are threatened by technology, modern culture, and “liberalism” (which they see as the absence of values). Some of these people tell me they like George Bush personally because he seems sincere about his beliefs, doesn't waiver when the wind blows ill, and seems down to earth and basic. The Left has tried very hard to attack that image with its exposures of the real George W. Bush and the Bush family dynasty of privilege and wealth. There’s been a lot published about the draft-evading, National Guard deserter, drug and alcohol abusing Frat Boy, etc. What the Democratic Party and the Left has been unable to do is reorganize themselves into a solid political organization with inspirational leadership based on core values supporting the working class of this country. Mistakes of morality made by popular, charismatic Democratic leaders like President Clinton and Edward Kennedy are what remain burned in the minds of most working people, not the failings of a younger Bush. The repudiation of such moral behavior by the Democratic Party is absolutely necessary to retain the support of its core base. Instead, the Democratic Party chose to continue to appeal to the politics of expediency. The "middle class" and the corporations of this country excused Clinton's moral failings because “the economy was good!”

Vicki said...

Part 2: (continued from previous post)
"The repudiation of such moral behavior by the Democratic Party is absolutely necessary to retain the support of its core base. Instead, the Democratic Party chose to continue to appeal to the politics of expediency. The "middle class" and the corporations of this country excused Clinton's moral failings because “the economy was good!” Aside from the morality of its politics (of course you needn't lecture me on the absence of morality within the Republican Party with its lies and promotion of killing innocent people in unjust wars), the Democratic leadership continues to build its political basis on the "middle" as if marketing a product to the "average consumer." Everyone knows that a successful marketing campaign built on manipulating consumer desires instead of identified basic needs can be completely derailed by a single incident of bad news (viz a viz VIOXX). The basic problem with the Democratic Party is that it hasn't figured out what its base is since abandoning its core base of labor unions and family farmers. The Democratic Party Leadership has been co-opted by soft and hard campaign money and lobbyists like the NRA, the AMA, Israeli Defense Fund, Boeing, Microsoft, etc. Any politician taking a position against guns, against Israel's support of the East Bank settlers or against the latest multi-billion dollar war tool quickly became "dead" politically, so they tread softly and use double speak on such issues. And where were the great majority of Democratic politicians when it came to NAFTA and "free trade" or when giving away Congress' right to declare war? We need a political party that makes the preservation of government sponsored pensions and the establishment of universal health care the highest priority. We need to support government use of tax money for rebuilding the infrastructure of this country, developing clean, safe, and cheap energy solutions...this is how we create jobs and solve social problems. If the Democratic Party continues to make stupid mistakes by putting up candidates acceptable to corporate America like Kerry and Edwards so that most of us working people are confronted with voting for "the lesser of two evils" -- no wonder the American people see the Democratic candidate as a disingenuous choice. " (written 11/22/2004)

Vicki said...

Sorry, Bubba Munster for mistating your Blog name (a thousand pardons for associating you to Susana's last name: Martinez)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand. The "working class" people you describe (I'm retired blue collar myself) like George Bush because he's a "regular guy", (he isn't) and think Clinton's fooling around was worse than lying the country into a war? So being a "good ol' boy" is more important than having sane policies for those very people?
And "family farmers" are not the base of the democratic party because there aren't many of them. Most farms are corporate. The new base of the democratic party is mostly urban, younger, and more educated and they mostly don't care about who is sleeping with who. They want decent jobs, infrastructure and affordable healthcare for all. And a lot of them aren't religious, which I think bodes well for the future.