A Case of the Sads – for Elizabeth Warren

A Case of the Sads

My best friend’s daughter is now a med student, but she could teach us all how to stay in touch with our emotions. When she’s happy, she is ‘over the moon’, sometimes all she shares on social media is one word ‘sads.’

Well that is my word for today, I have a case of the ‘sads.’ I was quietly, in my heart of hearts, rooting for Elizabeth Warren. She touched on the exact policies that would offer broad support to the American middle class. She was progressive enough without being ideological about it. My big sprawling family could have benefited from every one of the things she had a plan for. Even if they were past the need for child care, their children were almost grown and would soon find child care that didn’t cost half their salary highly beneficial. Those same children are even closer to finishing high school and going off to college. We are not a wealthy family. To see their children launched into good careers without massive college debts would be an enormous relief. Many family members are in the Medicare donut hole and have to shell out big bucks to cover the places their medical insurance refuses to go. Having really affordable health care would wipe some of those worry lines off their foreheads. Why should some seniors have to pay $300+ to have their Shingles shots while others pay nothing.

But I read the Washington Post every day. I read the New York Times every day. I could see that no woman was going to be good enough for the commentators and pundits in 2020. In fact, it became pretty clear that opinions were dead against any progressive winning the Democratic nomination. The Democratic Party is being steered by Republicans who have lost their party. They are in limbo. They cannot stomach a Republican Party led by Trump, but they are not now and never will be Democrats. They have been very active. They write opinion columns; they write books. I am speaking of people like David Frum, George Will, David Brooks and other well-known conservatives who are rogue pool balls now loose on the table and still trying desperately to bring back their brand of intellectual conservatism and Christian morality. There are people like Jennifer Rubin and Nicole Wallace who have become supposedly more passionate Democrats than the actual Democrats. And then there are the moderate Democrats like David Leonhardt who heads the opinion staff at the NYT. All of these people have argued over and over again, in articles and interviews’s that no progressive can beat Donald Trump; that no woman can beat Trump. It’s hard to tell if the people arrived at this same view independent of the press, or because it is repeated so often, and not always by men.

Elizabeth Warren, to me, seemed as perfect a presidential candidate as it is possible for a human being to be. Not too old, not too ideological, capable of flexibility, with a warmth that has been very much missed in our recent governance, and with a mission to make sure that millionaires and billionaires would benefit from parting with tiny percentages of their wealth (which they will not even miss) to help America become a nation that is once again thriving and growing, where citizens feel valued and happy because there is hope that their children will also have good lives lived in good health. This would be an America where people could look forward to a comfortable retirement ahead, would know that there will be a rest from their labors.

Why don’t we want that? Why would we pick any of the old men in this race who seem far gloomier, or far more confused, than the chipper and energetic Warren. But we have been schooled that this is what we must do because one goal is more important than all the others. We must not elect Donald Trump for four more years. We all agree that this is our most significant goal in 2020 and that sacrifices of personal preference must be made to make it so. We have thrown in our lot with the moderate Democrats and the party-less anti-Trumpers because we believe that they are most likely correct. As a woman it almost feels that we are knuckling under once again to the males who dominate our politics, but even so we are pitching in with the majority for a necessary cause and that is what women do.

So here I am saying goodbye once again to the idea of having a woman as the American President and admitting once again that I have backed the wrong horse in this race, although I always knew it would turn out this way. I soothe myself by listing the number of strong women who were in this race. Women will keep running, I feel sure. It is especially poignant to bid farewell to the last viable female candidate in Women’s History month, with all the sweet news coverage of the ‘pinkie swears’ Elizabeth made with young girls all over America. The stories speak of how she is disappointed that she cannot keep those promises right now. Did she create a little subset of girls who will grow up with big ambitions. That would be a nice legacy. And so Elizabeth, Amy, Kamala, Tulsi (not out but not winning), and Marianne farewell for now. We are good at waiting for those ‘historical’ women’s moments to arrive.

Sarah Longwell writing in the NYT on March 9th offered some backup for the view that ‘never Trump’ Republicans will vote for a moderate Democrats like Joe Biden, but not for a Democratic Socialist. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/09/opinion/joe-biden-never-trump,html

Photo Credit: From a Google Image Search – Shondaland.com

Bamboozled by Political Invective

I am very disappointed that the American people are so susceptible to political propaganda. The Republicans have played us like violins. They have supported the most strident pundits on the FOX network for most of the past 4 years. They also have bombarded radio audiences and the internet with every kind of technique ever invented to sway public opinion and they have done it endlessly and unrelentingly.
Name calling has been one of their favorite devices. They have called Obama a “Socialist”, Hitler, a Nazi, a Muslim, a terrorist, an alien (not the space kind, the non-citizen kind). They have used repetition as a sledge hammer. Say the same thing, say it over and over again, repeat it at every interview, in every newspaper and magazine article, and it will start to ring true. It will create a self-fulfilling prophecy and sweep their party into office on rhetoric alone. They have used the “I’m rubber, you’re glue; everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you” technique over and over with issues like women’s rights and the issue of divisiveness. They turn what we thought we knew inside out and upside down and people are buying this.
It makes me sad to see people being “brainwashed” by those who know what strings to pull. They prey on people’s fears of terrorism which are relatively new to us and they prey on our fear that white people are losing control of America and that America will become a nation in which white people, as the new minority will have little or no say about what will happen in America. Of course they do not state it so baldly but they want to make us believe that America will become a Spanish nation or a nation of color and the Constitution will no longer call the shots in America even though all of these groups are proud American citizens. They remind people that their hard-earned dollars are paying for people who have been institutionalized by government handouts and people start bellyaching about that until it makes them almost physically ill or so angry they start oiling their guns.
The pundits are whipping up these frightened white guys and even some white women who have perhaps already been displaced at their jobs by a new policy that favored diversity in the work place and which replaced expensive workers  with seniority and no college with college educated and perhaps minority “youngsters” who could be offered starting salaries. The pundits are using the residual anger of middle-aged white men who were forced out of their jobs during their peak earning years to elect the Republicans, who are laying claim to the Conservative grounds of a fundamentalist Constitutional interpretation. They insist over and over that America is on the wrong path without specifying exactly what the wrong path is beyond saying that government is too big and too invasive because if they spelled it all out they would be properly identified as bigots. They try to distract us from noticing that they have actually come to espouse some even nuttier ideas on science and social issues.
 We have let these fear-mongers pull our chains and blow air up our skirts and any other invasive clichés we can think up. They have treated us like puppets by finding our fears and playing on them. They have identified the buried anger in displaced workers and have been happy to subtly kick it up a notch or two. They have blamed other Americans for simply going after the American Dream and they have diverted anger from the real culprits who shipped the jobs overseas. Those new workers often did not get to enjoy their promotions for very long. None of us realized that we were going to be caught up in a global economic tsunami. We should feel embarrassed that we are so easily led by stirring speeches that are oh so wrong in content and intent. Drama may be fun; it may wake us up and make us feel alive, but it is not necessarily true or real.
What people think they long for is no longer possible. The world is changing and the changes cannot be stopped and they cannot be reversed without genocide, environmental disaster, or divine intervention. We can try to build a wall all around America to keep out the future but I hate to think about what we will become if we take this path. We will be living in a global world unless all engines cease working and people can no longer travel long distances quickly. Diversity is unavoidable. Dealing with the baggage of other nations is unavoidable. The fears that these tricky talkers are riling up are dinosaurs from a past to which we no longer have access. The future will find us no matter how hard we try to regress. Will we like the future? I think the chances are greater if we stay in the game and try to help design a future we can accept than if we wail and moan and go to the trenches to escape the changes that are already in process. One way we can keep ourselves present in inventing the future is to refuse to elect the party of propaganda, the party of sleight of speech, those carnival shills, the Republicans. Elect Democrats to disperse the cloud of obfuscation. They have a more understanding approach to the future.