Divide and Conquer

What was so stunning about the 2014 midterm was not
so much the result in Congress. Pundits explained why the Democrats would lose
control of the Senate but people like me did not want to accept their analysis.
It seemed that we could buck tradition and pull out an upset. But the pundits
proved to be right; after all they have studied elections for decades. They
knew who would turn out to vote and who would not.

  

Last week I had the TV on MSNBC while I went about
my daily activities and I heard someone predict that the Democrats might not
regain control of Congress until 2022. (Yikes!) Before the bloodbath of 2014 I
might have thought “hogwash” but now I have to give this prediction credence.
Democrats are in a bind. They have credibility as
the party of diversity, a party that includes minorities, but, because the
fears of white Americans have been activated (fears of loss of power, loss of
privilege) the Democrats may end up as a party that only represents minorities
– minorities who often do not vote, who lack financial resources to provide
monetary support to Democratic candidates at the time when, more than ever,
money “talks” in elections.
If we stop focusing on the ethnic origins that are
dividing us Democrats lose their claim to that “diverse” constituency which has
been their strength in the past. However, unless we understand that the divisions we experience as racial are actually only cultural, unless we accept that we are all formed from the same genetic materials
(did you see Toni Morrison on The Daily Show last week when she stressed this
point); unless we understand that we are all Americans, then opposing power
groups and those white males holding sway in America right now will dig in
deeper and fight with all the desperation they have exhibited so far, and
perhaps more, against changes to the status quo which benefits them.
How can the disappointingly quiet and unexciting Democratic Party
rephrase its agenda in order to be more inclusive? How can the Democrats who
seem so unemotional and who express no clear agenda hope to win back the middle
class who have been wooed away by Republican fear-mongering? Stressing and
offering strategies to fix the current gap between average Americans and the
wealthy is the real winning strategy for Democrats, I believe.
I don’t mean to argue that there are no ethnically
specific issues that need to be addressed. Sadly there are. Americans with
African origins are imprisoned too often and are too often trapped in poverty.
Because schools in poor neighborhoods have more problems and financial
challenges, educational opportunities across American ethnic groups are not
equal. Americans with Spanish origins often have all the obstacles of the
former group with, frequently, the additional rather serious “hiccup” of being
in America without documents and, perhaps, not speaking English.
But in many ways the solutions Democrats could offer
would work equally well for all of the 99% and these solutions could stress our
similarities instead of our differences. The way out of poverty for all is
through training and education. The way out of racism where it exists is to end
poverty and insure opportunity.
It is possible that the GOP statements which
threaten to re-institute the divisions of the Civil War (those suggestions like
hanging the Confederate flag in government settings or seceding from the United States) are just
reactions to imagined minority threats to the current power elite, but it is
equally possible that these remarks are part of a strategy to divide America
and conquer, keeping it under control of those Americans who are white, male,
wealthy, conservative and fundamentalist Christian. This would also help
explain why women are one of the groups being cut from the herd and excoriated.
Why would any of us want to be manipulated in these ways? We are all the middle
class; we are all the poor; what improves life for one of us should improve
life for all of us.

Whether this is strategy or whether it stems from a genuine fear
of losing a grip on the reins of power is unimportant; either way we can only
undermine it by presenting a united front as the American middle class, that
old rainbow coalition which differs only in skin tone, and not in patriotism –
that beating heart of America. (The short form of United States reads US. – how
hokey is that – a great symbolic coincidence though).
By Nancy Brisson

Democrats: Wusses or Saviors of our Nation?

The
Democrats are being shafted because they are unwilling to give up on the
Constitution and the American government. Who knows better than the Democrats
how seditious the Republicans have been. They have damaged our Constitutional
government by grinding it to a halt, or nearly a halt. They have done this by
refusing to bring any important bills to the floor of the House. Since the
filibuster rule was relaxed (somewhat), some judges have been sent to fill
federal benches. However, the filibuster rules were not relaxed for important
bills, so not many things have passed the Senate either. If a bill happens to
get through the Senate it can’t even get considered in the House because John
Boehner will not bring it to the floor for a vote.
This is not
some temporary strategy. It has been in force for the past four years, since
the Democrats lost the House in 2010, and if the Democrats are unable to turn
things around this strategy will be in force for the next two years. The
Democrats could probably bring Republicans up on charges of sedition, but they
have held back. They believe America can be saved and that when the Tea Party
fever breaks the country will go back to having two parties that agree once
more to wheel and deal and compromise.
I respect
the Democrats for pretending that everything is fine, for holding back, for
protecting our history as a great nation, but I am afraid that the Republicans
have no such compunctions and will go for the juggler if they get a clear
chance. Perhaps they will try to impeach Obama if they win the House and the
Senate in 2014. I believe that this would be a terrible mistake for all
Americans and the fallout might bring about that very civil war we seem to be
headed for. If we cannot reconcile the agenda of the left and the agenda of the
right, if one party will risk nullifying the Constitution because either they
want their power back or they believe so strongly in their ideological policies that they will trash the Constitution and commit seditious acts to get
their way, then we are screwed.
Republicans
believe that the next election is their ticket to having everything they ever
dreamed of and they believe that they have stacked the deck enough to ensure
that the election outcome will go their way.

Should the
Democrats keep backing off the Republicans to save America? Will backing off
the Republicans save America as we know it? Should we finally just go ahead and
get tough, shake the stuffing out of these folks, bring charges against them
and have the whole argument hauled right out into the open. The Republicans,
especially the Tea Party Republicans, have been waltzing really close to the
treason line and Democrats have cut them lots of slack. Republicans have even
gone over the line a few times or why would we have the militias. 
So either we
need to give the Democrats props for keeping to regular order as much as
possible or we have to disparage them as wusses and throw in our lot with the
right wing crazies. Since the entire world is full of nations warring over
internal political divisions why not just join in rather than pretending that
we are saner than everyone else. This is a very sad chapter in our nation’s history.

By Nancy Brisson