Louder and slower
I was married for 21 years before I got divorced. In the 11 years since the divorce, I’ve accepted the things I did wrong and I’ve embraced the things I did right.
One of my worst shortcomings was acting as if volume and speed were the answers to spousal communication. If I didn’t get my way or my point across, I’d repeat them louder and slower.
As you may imagine, this approach to matrimonial communication didn’t work…AND…it made my ex feel like I thought she was stupid (which she was not). That made her determined to ignore me and my wishes. I deserved it.
This was the approach taken by the Republican Party in the last election.
The Repubs repeated their tired, old message louder and slower, over and over until they really pissed us off. That’s when folks decided to wait in long lines to teach these sons-of-bitches a lesson.
I was born in 1954. I grew up watching Black people getting their heads bashed in, and I heard people say really stupid shit about why it was OK.
I watched as we sent millions of Americans (including my Dad) to Vietnam, and I heard people say really stupid shit about what we hoped to accomplish over there.
I saw women fighting for equal rights, and I heard people saying really stupid shit about why it was OK to keep them barefoot and pregnant.
I saw gay Americans move from the closet to the streets, and I heard stupid shit about why it was OK to knock them back into the closet and take away their rights.
Saying real stupid shit only works when a majority of people believe the stupid shit you say. That usually means that the people that say and believe stupid shit are kindred in some way…religion, race, sex, sexual preference, socio-economic status.
There is no lack of people saying stupid shit in America, but the number of people that believe the stupid shit is shrinking rapidly because all of the groups of people that were marginalized group-by-group in isolation became the majority this decade.
These are still disparate groups in many respects, but they have all started to know stupid shit when they hear it, and they have come to understand that the ballot box is the best weapon they can wield against the people saying stupid shit.
I have to admit that I thought all the Citizen United money and the voter suppression drives in key states were going to blunt the power of the electorate…and I believe the intervention by the Justice Department using the Voter Rights Act as it entrée into the fight saved the day for America’s new majority.
This is a fledgling coalition to be sure. We came together to defeat the people saying stupid shit, but we undoubtedly have many more internal squabbles ahead of us. The new minority will be digging for the issues that will separate us into pieces parts again, but I think we can recognize more stupid shit when we hear it.
A sizeable majority of Americans want to:
- Balance the budget on the check books of the rich. All that entails is letting the Bush tax cuts expire only on Americans that make more than $250,000.00 a year.
- Get the United States out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Bring these people home to their families.
- Close Guantanamo. Tear it down and send everyone home.
- Muzzle Wall Street so they can’t bite us in the ass again.
- Quit trying to keep Gay men and women from enjoying all the benefits of American Citizenship.
- Find an immigration policy that rewards good people and removes bad people.
- Leave women alone to make decisions about their own reproductive health.
- Live in a country that takes care of its poor, sick and elderly.
- Have corporations pay their fair share of taxes. Take a look some time at the huge list of very successful corporations that pay no federal income tax.
- Decrease our dependency on petroleum products and develop clean, renewable energy sources.
- Make sure our past, present, and future veterans get all the help they need and deserve.
If our political leaders could accomplish any three of these things before the 2014 mid-term elections, they would be surprised at how much the electorate would appreciate it and how good it will make them feel.
The House and the Senate must be pretty depressing places to work. Success is measured by how little of anything worthwhile gets done. For God’s sake, don’t get caught doing anything that allows the other side to receive any credit for doing something right.
We shall see if the Republicans are capable of learning that repeating the same stupid shit louder and slower isn’t the way to get anything done…Lord, I hope they can learn.