By Carla Feinkind
My hair is on fire!!! The primary season has only just begun and the mudslinging is fast and furious. The Republicans are acting in character and as ugly as we have come to expect. More on that later but, first I want to look at the inherent risks of the turmoil in our own party.
This will be an exciting election of firsts. Senator Bernie Sanders, a Jewish New York Social Democrat from Vermont, is getting heard and gaining traction. He has taken his message as party prophet out of the halls of the Senate and brought it into our living rooms and onto the front pages of our newspapers. Hillary Clinton, our other excellent Democratic candidate, has survived, intact and largely unscathed, from years of nonstop GOP assaults on her character and professionalism along with serious sexist attacks. Whichever Democratic candidate wins the nomination, it will be an historic first!
Every Democrat should be proud and thrilled to have 2 smart candidates. Yet, the talking points of surrogates and sometimes even the candidates have devolved into questions about who is the purest Progressive and whose opinions and votes have ‘evolved’ the most “expeditiously and cynically” over a lifetime. STOP!! I want to hear a meaningful debate on the issues and on how the candidates would make our shared progressive wish-list a reality. Look, everyone evolves. And, everyone in public office serving their constituency evolves in the public eye. Times change and facts, as we see and understand them, change as society changes.
For the record, no politician has ever been as Progressive as I am nor as ‘pure’ as I am. BUT, I have the luxury of NOT being an elected person or seeking elective office. I have the luxury of shouting at the TV in my living room. In some ways, it is also a sort of luxury to be able to vote your pure heart in times of “crisis” when you know that you will be voted down. It can be kind of a win/win. There is comfort in being a prophet. Being president is not at all like being the prophet. Being president is a position of making compromises ALL the time….and maybe getting a few things past today’s really ugly obstructionist opposition party,….the GOP.
I expect today’s GOP to be nasty, ugly, racist, and divisive …just completely terrifying. I do NOT expect my party to blow up in these extreme times. We know what is at stake in 2016. Obviously, we need to keep the White House to veto the ugly crap the GOP passes like defunding Planned Parenthood, endlessly voting to end ObamaCare, privatizing Social Security, gutting the clean water act days after Flint Michigan was on the news 24/7, etc! The Supreme Court and all of the lower courts hang in the balance. There are many department positions that the GOP is refusing to fill in an effort to strangle good government. There is the budget to consider. (We here in Illinois are way too familiar with a GOP politician that will not create a budget unless he completely gets his way). In the meantime, many people are really suffering.
In 2016, we all must vote for Democrats UP and DOWN the ballot. There is so much at stake: war and peace, racism, ugly hatreds, the environment, hunger, our health and health care choices, justice, opportunity, equality…our vision of what it means to be an American now and in the future. NO Democrat can stay home because if Democrats stay home, they will help elect one of those scary Republican monsters
Will you be “part of the problem or part of the solution”? That was what we asked in the 1960’s during the last people’s power revolution. We fought for civil rights legislation. We ended the Viet Nam war despite the opposition of the military industrial complex. We fought for choice and women’s rights and equality. Our victories were not perfect and now, we know they were NOT permanent. We need to be constantly vigilant. We won then, by being a united many vs. the haters and evil powers of that the time. Work for your candidates in the primaries and then, in the general work for the ENTIRE Democratic ticket. We MUST beat the haters in November!!!! These are Hair on Fire times!