News & Politics

Why Do Democrats Keep Calling the Alarm and Pressing the Snooze?

It is time for the majority party in this country to prove they have the convictions of the soul that gave them the opportunity to serve in the public’s interest.

The shock and dismay of Republican Scott Brown’s Senate victory in Massachusetts is still with us. Yet again the people have spoken, putting someone in office who in no way represents their real interests. Scott Brown was catapulted into power because of anger. It's time to stop blaming politicians and take responsibility ourselves; time to get involved and understand that if you don’t like something in a democracy, make sure the people you have elected stand up for what you are passionate about. That’s the people’s role; how about the politicians who have some power in their hands?

With all the complaints about the need for better standards for math in our schools, it is ironic that our elected leaders cannot seem to understand the difference between a majority and a minority. When was the last time 41 was greater than 59? Get real. Our elected leaders are weaker by the day because they are scared the tide is turning and they think they have to catch the next wave the vocal minority creates. In the last year, the Republican Party has never come together to lay out a positive plan that might actually help this country. Instead, they have used obstructionist tactics and the Fox News machine to preach the “gospel of no" to a nation that is easily scared. As they did with 9/11, these very people have preyed upon the public to terrorize us into believing that progressive ideals are the damnation of this nation. They hold Ronald Reagan as the savior and FDR as the devil.

Back in the Nixon/Agnew era, Agnew used the phrase, “the silent majority" to rally the people who needed to have their voices heard if they were ever going to see their agenda come to life. Today we have degenerated into a country that is run by the vocal minority. That vocal minority has realized that as long as they can manipulate the press, they can use their message to stand in the way of progress. The polarization that has occurred in this country is an intentional ploy to scare weak-minded politicians into believing that they need to answer to this minority voice.

Too often, after an election that did not go the way I had hoped, I get this sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Yet, as the days progress I remember that time and time again, the world goes on. Haiti is a disaster. What happened in Massachusetts was just plain stupid. A state that had sent caring senators to Congress since 1952 turned the clock back to a forgotten era. They went to the polls and voted with their fists.

People are angry because of the mess we are in. They forget that we got here by electing people who work against our self-interest. These elected officials convince the electorate that government is bad and they will make things right. Yes, they will make it right; far right. They see a government working for the self-interest of corporations, health insurance companies and financial institutions that by their very charters are reaching for profits regardless of people’s ability to find jobs or pay for the necessities of life. These companies continue to produce cheap goods in the cheapest places, as a result shuttering factories and opportunities across the land. Then people complain about a government that is a safety net for those affected by this trend, instead of promoting through meaningful policies the industries that stay and create jobs for working families. Unfortunately, when people are unemployed, all too often they spend their time watching Fox News.

There is a lot to be angry about. The high cost of heath care, lack of jobs and broken schools plague our country. Yet just being angry plays right into the forces that have churned up the rhetoric to make sure we do not act rationally. Once again, it is time to sound the alarm and encourage people to get involved in what they truly believe in. Being part of a democracy also means making sure your elected officials work for your interests.

It is time for the majority party in this country to prove they have the convictions of the soul that gave them the opportunity to serve in the public’s interest. Once and for all the Democrats need to stop pandering to a vocal minority for fear of losing their own jobs. Enough. Start counting; 59 means you have the power to actually make real change. Politicians need to stop worrying about themselves and start worrying about a ticking clock going backwards.

Douglas Kreeger is the former CEO of Air America Radio and the chairman of AlterNet's parent organization, the Independent Media Institute.
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