It's Springtime In America Again

Like a crocus tentatively emerging through the late-winter snow, I have begun to awaken from the darkness of Impeachment Season, and as the blustery winds of the Democratic Primaries pummel my delicate spirit I search desperately for some warmth which will encourage me to bloom. Fortunately I see some rays of hope, and I turn gratefully towards them. The hope that I cling to is that, like the long dark winter nights, voter apathy is receding into the past.

A crocus emerges into Primary Season
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Primary Strategy: Two Views

“Who should the Democrats nominate?”

Wherever I go, that’s the question on everyone’s mind. Whether I’m having dinner with friends or out for coffee, whether I’m with one person or with a group, everyone wants to talk about it. Even at work, where politics is taboo, the subject comes up: Bernie or Biden? What about Warren? Some candidates, like Mayor Pete and Kamala Harris were the hot topic for a while, but their stars have begun to wane, as has Corey Booker’s, and Beto O’Rourke’s and many of the rest. No one seems to be particularly excited about any of the possibilities, but everyone is anxious about the outcome.

The overriding consideration in every conversation, of course, is beating Trump. But there’s a whole lot of angst and disagreement about the best way to do that.

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I’m Sitting Out This Debate

Political junkie confession time: I have no interest in watching the debate this evening.

This primary season has been utterly disheartening, as has the political environment in general over the last 3 (or more!) years.

The debates are promoted like sporting events, with splashy graphics and pre- and post-game analysis, because apparently someone has determined that sports is the only thing that Americans can understand. The moderators and the networks are more interested in ratings than they are in helping voters understand the issues. Honestly, how much has anyone learned about any of the candidates in the previous two events? Close to absolute zero, I’d estimate.

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A Primer on Primaries

It’s primary season. Yay! The Democratic debates have begun. Woo hoo! And the Democrats are in the process of determining who their candidate for the 2020 presidential election will be. Gulp.

Of course, we know that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. But who will be the Democratic nominee? Twenty-five people are vying for that title, and the primary process will whittle that number all the way down to one, who will oppose Trump in the general election. What is there to know about the process? After all, primaries are just like any other election: all the same rules apply to primary elections and general elections. Right?

Wrong.

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I Thought We Were Better Than This

I’m so saddened by what I’ve seen in the news and on social media this week. The rush to judgment, the hard lines drawn, the accusations. I really feel as though we have reached a new low.

The discourse surrounding the now-infamous events in Washington DC between Kentucky’s Covington Catholic High School students and an indigenous activist and Marine veteran Omaha Elder Nathan Phillips have highlighted divisions and biases in America that are deeper and uglier than I ever imagined. In an era where we are exposed to a daily dose of deeply depressing and disturbing events, this is the most deeply depressing and disturbing thing I have seen.

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I Fear Insurance Companies More Than a “Government Takeover”

Patient and doctor consulting

I worry a lot about the state of health care in the US. The system we have now is unsatisfactory and unsustainable. And access to health care is so vital. But I don’t see a solution coming any time soon.

The most common argument offered against the US moving to a system of universal health care (whether it is “Medicare For All” or whatever) is that it will be a “government takeover” of our health care. It will “give the power and control over health care decisions to the bureaucrats in Washington DC.”

The idea that “The Government” is going to be making your medical decisions is supposed to scare the hell out of you. It’s supposed to conjure up images of some bureaucrat in a cheap suit sitting in a nondescript office in Washington writing prescriptions and deciding whether or not Grandpa gets to have his chemotherapy this week. OMG “Death Panels!” The Democrats want to turn us into Venezuela! This is a typical scare tactic by conservatives and the CEOs of multinational corporations who think that our money works better when its in their bank accounts. “The Government is the enemy! Be afraid!” We’ve heard it all before: in the 90s they wanted to privatize Social Security. Then it was Charter Schools. And then privatizing roads and bridges all over the country. In the US, we’ve been trained over the last 40 years to believe that the Free Market is our friend and that The Government is our enemy. And we’re convinced. Because a fear of The Government plays nicely off of our historical enmity of Communism and fear of its “political twin” Socialism.

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Our Defeats Will Steel Our Resolve

Obstacles do not block the path. They are the path.

I just realized something:

All of the “defeats” that we have been subjected to over the last two years, that have left us so deflated and demoralized, are not defeats at all. They are signposts along the way to our better future. They are there to energize us, and more than that, to test our resolve:

Do we really believe in our cause? Or is it just so many empty words?

Are we whiners who expect that everything will go our way, and when it does not we throw up our hands in defeat? Or are we willing to get our hands dirty and do the hard work necessary to create the future that we believe in?

Do we wallow in defeat and demoralization while everything wastes away at the hands of a small group of people who will walk all over our rights and our dignity and take it away from us? Or do we fight back?

Do we really believe in the promise of our country? That all of us are created equal. That hard work will be rewarded fairly. That we can leave a better world for our children. That ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. Because right now — at this moment — we are engaged in the great test of our generation: can the promise of this country endure?

We have been sitting here pining for someone to step up, waiting for someone to emerge and show us the way. We have been desperate for a leader so we can follow them to the promised land. But we don’t need a leader to follow: we already know the way. We can join hands and walk there together.

There is a great task ahead of us. And we will take increased devotion to our cause from the defeats we have suffered. But we will not be demoralized. We will not be defeated. We will not let others steal our hope. We will not watch our country crumble. We will steel ourselves for the fight ahead. And we will succeed.

Our future is one month away. Let’s go.