The results of the mid-term elections were dismal for America. They were dismal for the Democrats and Greens. Let’s face it, they simply sucked harder than an F-5 tornado in Oklahoma. So, what went wrong? How in the heck did the extreme right-winger whip our collective rears and take control of both houses of Congress as well as the governorships of states? They used their usual tactics of fear, voter intimidation, and their mouthpiece, the Faux News Network. (No, I’m not saying their proper name. It might even be best if we simply give it a term used by J.K. Rowling and call it “the network that shall not be named). As Democrats and Greens, we know their tactics by now and should have been able to stop them. So, why didn’t we and, even more importantly, what can we do to fix this mess that our country is now faced with having to deal with?
First, and this is something I’ve said for years, we talk a great game, but cannot run one. If you go to most cities whether they are large or small, you find a storefront that says Republican Headquarters. It’s a year-round business for the GOP/Tea Party to stay in the public eye and force feed their rhetoric to the masses. When it comes to the Democratic Party or the Green Party, or any other party for that matter, their presence is only just prior to an election, then they disappear until just before the next election. That’s not going to cut it nor is it going to win votes. If we want to stay relevant or even become more relevant, we need to be out there all the time. 365 days a year. If we do not go away, then people cannot ignore us. We have to actively campaign at all times and in all places. We cannot rely on our old support system in the unions as they are being squeezed out by the policies of the far right. They are becoming irrelevant to today’s younger voter.
Along those same lines, we have to muster the vote. It’s not enough to have voter registration campaigns, we have to get those who registered to vote out to vote. Although I have not checked the recent numbers, I believe I heard that voter turnout was somewhere around 35-40 percent. That sucks. People do not feel it matters if they vote nor who they vote for as they feel that decisions are made by a shadow government or by corporations anyhow. We have to show them that it matters. We have to bring up what the opposition is doing and has done to undermine real American values. We don’t do that enough. Perhaps we have to physically take people to their polling location to get them out to vote. Why in the heck aren’t we doing that across the United States? We have to make certain that those who we helped to register to vote, but cannot make it to the polls, get absentee ballots and get them mailed in to cast their votes. What we fail to realize, and why we do I have no idea, is that the conservative seniors vote. They have nothing else to do, but watch the network-that-shall-not-be-named and vote, at least when their not driving around on their golf carts or taking tole painting classes. If we don’t get out the vote for every election, then we face horrible things like this last election brought upon our country.
Next, and this part might be somewhat crude, we have to become better at attacking our opposition than we have been in the past. The far right pummels the airwaves through television, radio talk shows, and the internet with their vile rhetoric. They make up stories to scare the American public into voting for them. They do this by using words such as communism, socialism, and liberal, which many people have no freaking idea what they really mean in the first place because they are not included on a standardized test. They play to the ammosexuals by saying that we will take their guns away. They play to the fundamentalists by saying that prayer and God will be taken out of our schools. (Yeah, right. If that’s the case, then two problems exist. First, is that assumes that students will not silently pray on their own. Next, is assumes that God is not omnipotent if a polticial party can cause God to not exist). Ironically, they play to the poor by fooling them into believing that trickle down economics actually works. It doesn’t. The wealthy could care less about the poor or the middle class, just so long as they do their bidding and accept their meager paycheck while paying for crap that the company now makes overseas using sweatshops and slave labor. Where is this so-called liberal media? Why isn’t there a network that is always on the attack against ultraconservative ideas and rhetoric?
Third, the Democrats (and Greens) need to define themselves more clearly against their opposition. I would hazard to guess that if you asked most voters to tell you what either of these parties stand for, then you would get a plethora of sometimes conflicting answers. The time for namby-pamby centrism is over folks. Screw the idea of compromise! The GOP sure as hell did that once they got control of the House and they sure as hell are planning to do this since they have all of Congress now in their greedy, corporate-funded hands. We need to bring out voices like Elizabeth Warren and Warren Sanders. We need to cultivate people to run for office who are able to speak well, back up their speech, and fight harder to win rather than just to make a good showing. We need candidates who will sometimes stop being so damned polite and call a liar a liar and back it up with facts and the other person’s record. Corner their asses and make them defend themselves. We need to stop kowtowing and backing down from a fight as we so often do. Yes, we want to all love in harmony with our neighbor, but sometimes dammit, we need to be more warrior like and less like doormat.
Fourth, as we have learned in this last election as well as most elections held since the 80s, we need the funds to win. As much as we might like to say that anyone can run for office and win, it’s a money game. Many good people who want to run for office simply do not have the money to afford to run for office. This includes the time they need to take off from work to campaign, the airtime they need to run advertisements, the money to pay staff, create flyers, etc. It costs a great deal to combat those who gain their funds through backroom deals with corporate executives and the ultraconservative wealthy. Rather than simply throwing our hands up and saying that the corporations and wealthy will always win, we need to build our campaign financial warchests through taking small, non-corporate donations. Heck, even having bake sales would help. Doughnuts for Democrats or Granitas for Greens, whatever it takes to get the money to compete against these corporate funded conservatives. Look at the Occupy movements as an example of how to raise awareness, get funding, and get out the vote.
Finally, we need to show that our candidates will listen to the people rather than corporations when it comes to running our country. We have people out of work. We have people homeless. We have people who are hurting in so many ways. We need to listen and act to help them in real, concrete ways rather than just talk about it or form a committee to look into it. America needs action rather than inaction. America needs real compassion for one another on so many levels. We see this occur in small ways already, such as soup kitchens and food pantries run by churches and civic organizations. We see it in neighbors reaching out to each other in times of crisis. We need politicians who do this daily rather than just during campaign seasons. We need people who are not career politicians nor lawyers running our country. We need teachers, bricklayers, cab drivers, garbage collectors, anyone who feels it is their civic duty to represent everyone that the office they wish to full will represent to be able to run for an win office. We need to then hold them accountable to do just that and not be afraid to call them out if they do not and demand why they did not. We need to ask our questions and get real answers rather than settling for political rhetoric and feel good statements.
We can take America back, I hope. We can still salavage what may be left of our country after this past election. We cannot trust those recently elected to the majority to do this as they will continue to be beholden to their corporate string holders.
Wake the freak up Democrats and Greens! Take a day to lick your wounds, then fight like hell to save our country!