The strategy of doing nothing

They say the writing is on the wall for the healthcare status quo, commonly called Obamacare. It could really be true that the ACA will go down this year, or media could be over-hyping the victory in the House a little too much; we’ll see. But so many people seem to like certain parts of Obamacare… how is it possible, there is no critical mass to prevent this? It wasn’t good enough, I guess. The Democratic party must own that failure. I don’t think they would have failed if they had used real willpower to introduce a public option. That would have been just enough of a bone to people who want single-payer. That would have been harder to abolish.

I think it is a little more obvious to people that Republicans operate at the behest of the rich, but the Democrats get too much of a pass, based on what they used to stand for. Why do you think the leaders in the Democratic Party never talk about FDR? The New Deal made him very clearly one of the most popular presidents ever, but the Democrats don’t seem to remember history before Bill Clinton. He is assumed to be this massively popular winner, despite the fact he won both his elections with a popular vote plurality instead of majority. Bill Clinton was in private negotiations to start privatizing Social Security before the sex scandal, which doesn’t sound like something FDR would have proposed.

The Republicans have shown themselves to be increasingly hypocritical ever since Eisenhower left the presidency. Ike wasn’t a fan of war; real Soldiers rarely are. He also believed in learning more about other cultures, warned us of the military-industrial complex, and generally cared about the future.

As we peer into society’s future, we – you and I, and our government – must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow. – Dwight D. Eisenhower

Now, Republicans love encouraging international conflict, so they can spend more tax money on defense contractors. They pretend that we need more wars to get to peace, even though the strategy of starting more wars failed Obama, their arch nemesis. Republicans pretend to care about workers, while fighting any regulation that would improve a worker’s quality of life. They capitalize off people’s unconscious fear of the unknown, making them hostile towards each other and xenophobic, in this literal nation of immigrants.

What has possibly happened to the Democrats, to make them unable to differentiate themselves from these Republicans who openly reject the notion of following their constituents? The money. Over 90% of congressional candidates that outspend their opponents, win. Since we’ve allowed corporate money to completely distort our politics, the Democrats now value campaign donations more than they value people. So now, the Democrat leaders are mostly just a bunch of rich people, and they live in a bubble where they no longer sympathize with the real struggles of America.

The Democrats pay lip service to the identity politics for which they get so much credit. They spout this crap about “giving everyone a fair shot” when they campaign, but then argue in courtrooms that they aren’t bound to do so when it comes to the presidential primaries. Hillary Clinton raised more money than anyone ever, yet she still ran a weak campaign and lost. The Democrats sacrificed our chance at universal healthcare to appease their insurance donors, and were trounced after Obamacare passed anyway. So the strategy of making money isn’t working out so well. Duh! Rich people give the most money to campaigns overall, so the politicians work for them. Ask yourself why no bankers were punished for the predatory practices that led to the economic crash. Then, tell me about how it’s perfectly fine for Obama to get $400K speaking checks from banks.

The root cause of GOP and Democratic failure is simple; their donors don’t want to fix anything. I don’t mean to say that no politician is doing their job, but they really only fall into a few categories:

  1. They are openly intimate with big business and prefer to normalize corruption. Trump.
  2. They have ‘public’ and ‘private’ positions on issues, so they can work with big business while pretending to fight for the marginalized. Clintons.
  3. They start off strongly principled, but then essentially give up after admitting defeat against corruption. Dean.
  4. You actually maintain your principles, and work for your people, and in return you become marginalized. Gabbard.

The influence of money on our politics is so pervasive at this point, that even a well-meaning congress member can hardly do the job. They spend way too much time trying to figure out where their money is going to come from. And that is the way that moneyed interests like it. If you needed to spend 50% of your working time asking me for money, you better believe that you are going to do some stuff that I want. And when less than 20% of Americans ever actually donate, it’s easy to see how ‘the 99%’ keeps losing in the end.

So, how about we do something? How about we join our local governments, or contribute to those who would? Or perhaps, could we at least force our elected officials to actually stand for something…principles? This goes beyond giving an angry speech because someone said something offensive. This goes beyond making sure that guns stay in stock at Wal-mart. Many Trump voters need to admit that they were either duped or misinformed. Many Clinton voters need to admit that policy and people are better selling points than facades and identities. Many non-voters need to admit their own hypocrisy when they brag about being uninvolved, then complain about policies later. Call your representatives and senators!

I’ll admit it: I didn’t think Trump could win. I was too much of a patriot, and too positive about what this country represented. I may not have been able to do much with my vote, considering how my former party rigged their primary. But I learned that there is so much more out there that needs to be done. It starts with our elections & our livelihoods. And I’m done being told by Democrats or Republicans that we just have to wait.

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there “is” such a thing as being too late. This is no time for apathy or complacency. This is a time for vigorous and positive action. -Martin Luther King Jr.