Monday, September 29, 2014

Discordant Discourse

I can remember a time when the political landscape was dominated by, primarily, two philosophies. You had the Republican vision and the Democratic vision. At times there was a third party in play, but for a very long time, the two main parties would try to persuade voters as to which vision they, essentially, endorsed. Then whoever was elected would, in theory at least, initiated policies consistent with that vision.

That’s how it used to work.

It does not work that way anymore. Far as I can tell, I see only one party offering up a vision. The other party? They criticize that vision. And that’s fine, as that’s politics. Part of the persuasion is to discredit the other vision as wrong-headed, short-sighted, or whatever.

But…you have to have an alternate vision. It simply cannot be, “They’re wrong.” You have to tell me why you are right, and “Because they’re wrong” is not an answer. Tell me why your view is better.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you today’s Republican Party.

They have been called a number of things recently: The Party of No. Obstructionists. Puppets to the Koch Brothers. The Rich People’s Party…well wait, they’ve always been called that.

But just answer me this – what do they stand for? What is their vision? Lower taxes? Strong military? Okay, I will give you those. They have long held those values. But the math simply does not work when you want to spend gobs of money on something while reducing your ability to pay for it.

Personal freedom? Now you’re stretching. They have a differing view of what “Freedom” is, and the best recent example of their idea of freedom is Cliven Bundy – the freedom to break the law and pay no consequences for it. Back in the 1960’s, those people were called Anarchists. Now they’re called Conservatives.

But in reality, their vision is, ‘Against Anything Obama Does.’ Now I realize this pegs me as a Democrat, and that is okay. Most everyone knows I am. But you better stop with the personal criticism right there, because at least my party has a vision. And when the other party spends all their time demonizing the leader of the my party (Marxist, Kenyan, Muslim, Appeaser In Chief, Feckless Leader…take your pick), eventually you have to step to the dais and tell us your vision. We get you don’t like who is in charge. That message has been clearly sent…and received.

So if you’re a Republican, what is your party’s vision? What is the vision of America that Republicans proffer? Tell me. Guns? God? Less government? Okay. Well, the devil is in the details – how do you plan on accomplishing those things? How, for example, are you going to expand gun rights more than they already are? In many states you can strap an AK-47 on your back and walk into a Walmart. What more do you want there? God? The Constitution grants all citizens freedom of religion, totally unfettered. Hard to expand upon that. Less government? Okay. What is going to go away? Road construction? Mass transit? Head Start? They won’t answer that, but instead adhere to Reagan’s mantra that government is the problem. Well, it’s not. And they know it’s not.

Their strategy is to simply throw accusations at Democrats, Obama in particular, which have no basis in any kind of reality. Case in point: How often have we heard that, ‘Obama is coming for your guns.’ So…when is this going to happen? He’s only got two more years left in office. If that is indeed him plan he best get to it don’t you think?

Obamacare. My God the rhetoric on that hit new lows for lying. Death Panels. Killing Grandma. Government takeover of health care. When, in reality, do you know what it was? Insurance reform. It simply required everyone to have health insurance. Bought in the marketplace. Sure, with some financial assistance for those too poor to do so, but so what? It was a massive expansion of customers to private businesses. That’s it. That’s IT. Nothing more. But to hear the Republicans tell the story, it was going to be the death of this country. But if it was their idea…no wait, it was.

The Party of No is now the Party of Hell No. With no rational reason for it.

Except one.

Because there are only two parties. And, when you have no vision, the strategy becomes simple. Trash the other vision. You do not have to offer up a plan if you spend all your time discrediting the other plan. Don’t believe me? Ask John Boehner. He stated, publicly, that Congress should not be judged on how many laws they pass but how many they repeal. Well, on both counts, they have failed miserably, since this Congress is on track to pass the fewest number of laws of a Congress ever…and have repealed exactly zero.

They believe they are saving us from Obama. Well you know what? With that view you are disrespecting the will of the majority. Obama was elected, legitimately and without fraud, twice. The people spoke. You just don’t like their answer. Too bad. Win an election.

So remember this. Republicans have a vision; they truly do. But they aren’t telling you what it is. Why? Because they know it is too onerous, too repugnant to offer up publicly. I will tell you what it is – two words: Social Security. They want your money. Your money.  They pretty it up with talks of “Freedom to invest your contributions as you see fit” to give the illusion of personal control. Bullshit. They want your money so it can be thrown into the stock market and they can make money off your money.

Disagree? Then prove me wrong.

Politics has been called the Art of Compromise. However, when you have one party refusing to do so, you get nothing. The system breaks down.

And that’s what we have.

Please remember that when you vote this November.

Your choice is a vision or blindness.

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