What's Really at Stake in November

It’s time to stop paying attention to media spin about the midterms and focus on what is really at stake in November. For years, too many Americans have voted against their own self-interests because they’ve been led to believe the right wing really cares about ordinary people (actually, they only care about their votes). Far from fighting to help everyday Americans, all Republicans do is whine about the opposition and vote as a block against anything resembling good legislation. They are not only the party of “do nothings,” they are a party uninterested in helping anyone but entrenched business interests that want all regulation scrapped. Republicans seem to believe the American people would be better served without government protection for the environment or the financial sector; at the same time, they seem intent on using government power to control personal decisions about childbearing and the sexes of our partners. They only want to protect the status quo.

Over and over again since the Democrats took control in 2006, the right wing, desperate for President Obama to fail regardless of the consequences for working-class and middle-class people, has worked diligently with their propaganda puppets at Fox and the Republican Party to sabotage Democrats. If Obama fails, we all fail.

It’s easy to sit back and pontificate about how Obama should have done things differently. Perhaps his biggest error, from my perspective, was assuming for a minute that one could compromise with the devil. The result of his unhappy experiment in bipartisanship has been less than perfect legislation both in the financial sector as well as health care. Obama hoped that watering down his goals would lead to a more constructive politics. That just never happened.

As we approach the fall elections, the media is locked in their traditional role of creating the most attention-grabbing narrative, claiming Republicans are going to win a landslide and retake control of Congress. If you think nothing constructive has been accomplished in the last two years, I can guarantee the next two will be totally disastrous for the vast majority of Americans if Republicans are to take over.

Attention spans are as long as remembering last night’s evening news. People hear that Obama created the mess all around us, and they believe it. There is no clear message that gives Americans the truth: how much worse off we would have been if the Republicans’ failed policies had been continued beyond 2008. Imagine what it’s like to wake up every day charged with righting this ship. Not fun. But if you listen to the news and what many are parroting back, you get the message, “throw the bums out and go back to the wonderful days of George W.” The memory of the average person seems to be comparable to that of an amoeba.

It’s time to really use your brain power and take stock of what is important for you and your family. If you’re not better off than you were in January 2007, what caused that? If you look at court decisions and wonder why we have judges legislating behavior and taking away basic rights millions fought for, who did that? If you wake up tomorrow and wonder why our health care system is not yet fixed, or the local schools are still stuck in 20th century models, remember who was in charge over the last 15 years. It is not easy to fix what is broken, nor is it easy to make each of us understand how things work. But I know this. Regardless of your political persuasion, it’s now time to put away the faulty logic that because everything is not yet fixed, it’s time to abandon the Democratic leadership. If you do not like your current legislator, continue to work and hope that someone who is more progressive gets elected next time. But right now, it’s all hands on deck and it’s essential to put aside one’s discontent with our less-than-perfect world.

If you truly believe that government needs to work for the common good, then the people need to raise their voices and make sure we do not go backward. Change happens incrementally and we need time and the right people to make things work. Don’t just throw the current leaders out. That will have repercussions for generations to come. People worked too hard over the last few years to regain some power. It is understandable to be angry about the current state of affairs. But this is no time to be irrational. Only collectively can we stand up and vote our true needs. We can only make progress if we are willing to be patient. If you sit this election out, you’ll be watching a slide back to an even more determined right-wing machine that will take us back to the failed policies that created our current plight.

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