Occupy Wall Street Has Friends And Enemies!
The Democratic Party is clearly on the side of the 99%’ers and no amount of denial and blame shifting can change that. And yes, the Democratic Party has their share of elected representatives that act more like conservatives than liberals, but that fact shouldn’t diminish the hard working liberals in the party who are fighting for all of us in this country who don’t have lobbyists. When I hear or read people generalize and group all Democrats in with big business, they are ignoring reality and perpetuating false memes.
I had an exchange on Twitter the other day with a person who exemplifies much of that “head-in-the-sand” thinking. Here are a few of his tweets, with my responses.
Tweeter: The difference between a Democrat and Republican is the difference between a man and his mirrored reflection.
Extreme Liberal: How does the mirror reflect the repeal of DADT? Or health care for children? Or Lily Ledbetter? Or the Matthew Shepard law?
Extreme Liberal: Or who’s reflection is opposite Sotomayor or Kagan? Do you want a Republican picking the next nominee to the SUPREME COURT!
The Tweeter in question then sent a tweet that he has since deleted, probably had second thoughts about it, but he basically said that the issues I raised were “petty”, to which I replied…
Extreme Liberal: Tell my niece who now has health care that she is petty or over 60,000 LGBT people now serving openly in our military.
Extreme Liberal: And if you have any females in your family, are you willing to give up their rights to their own bodies? Supreme Court matters!
Tweeter: Bush might as well have been a Democrat, Obama a Republican for the similar aims and interests re: domestic/foreign policy.
It went on for a while, but you get the gist of what was said. I had a similar exchange last week with someone who said elections are worthless. That made me wonder what exactly he would put in its stead. I’ve heard similar sentiments coming from some “Occupy” folks, or those claiming to represent them. But they never seem to take it to the next step and tell us what the alternative is. It’s one thing to think the whole system is screwed, which I agree with, but it’s quite another to do away with it – in favor of what? If you really want to know how to make a difference within the political system, go spend some time at Please Cut The Crap (PCTC) or read the writing of Allan Brauer at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.
So much of what is wrong with our politics stems from one human character flaw, generalizations. It is so common these days that people accept the “always” and “never” qualifiers without batting an eye. The idea that both the Democrats and Republicans are exactly the same should be dismissed out of hand, whenever it is uttered. Even if there are some Democrats who act like Republicans on some issues, that doesn’t mean they are just like Republicans. Saying they are the same shows ignorance and intellectually dishonesty. Many times it seems like the statement is made just to get a reaction, which it certainly does in my case.
Even listing some of the differences between the two parties seems like an exercise in futility, but I guess the best way to fight ignorance is with facts. I’ll start with a list of accomplishments of President Obama that you would NEVER have seen from a Republican President or congress. The first two years of Obama’s presidency, with a cobbled together super majority to overcome the filibustering asswipes in the GOP, produced a lot of great changes.
- Presidential Memorandum extending benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees.
- Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.
- Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability.
- Repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT).
- Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act; Instituted equal pay for women.
- Presidential Memorandum protecting gay and lesbian partners’ visitation/healthcare decision-making rights (4/15/2010).
- Dodd-Frank (DF) Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the biggest financial reform law since the Great Depression.
- Pension relief Act of 2010.
- Reformed deferral rules to curb tax advantages for investing overseas.
- Cut salaries for 65 bailout executives (Pay Czar).
- Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.
- $60 billion in spending and tax incentives for renewable and clean energy.
- Expanded Pell grants for low-income students.
- Provided means for students struggling to make college loan payments to refinance.
- Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010.
- Signed the Tribal Law and Order Act. Tribes will now have the right–and the resources–to investigate and prosecute rapes perpetrated by non-Natives on tribal lands.
The list goes on and on — hundreds of liberal/progressive changes that affect real people. Dismissing any or all of those accomplishments shows a crassness that is unequaled. For those people saying that stuff doesn’t matter, I want them to look one of those people in the eye and tell them it is “petty.” Tell that college student who can now afford to go to college AND stay on his/her parents insurance that it doesn’t matter if Republicans or Democrats are in charge. Tell that native American girl who has been raped repeatedly that it doesn’t matter which party is in control. Tell that child with a preexisting condition who can now get health insurance that there is no difference. Or look your mother, daughter, sister or aunt in the eye and tell them that their right to control their own body doesn’t matter.
This isn’t some game that has no consequences. These are real people who are affected by these laws and executive orders. Generalizing and being flippant about them is like spitting in their faces and in my opinion makes them no better than the uncaring, I’ve got mine – you get yours Republicans.
I’m all for calling out individual Democrats and the entire party when warranted, but making blanket statements that disregard millions of people directly affected by these policies, makes one just another tool of the Right wing, who is intent on taking back control of the executive branch. And if you thought President Bush was bad, just wait till a Tea Party beholden Republican takes the reigns. You’ll have something to bitch about then, won’t you? And innocent men, women and children will suffer.
To all you people out in the streets who I fully support in your efforts, resist the attempts by people to generalize both political parties as the same. Think about those real people who will either benefit from a Democratic government or suffer horrendous consequences if the Republicans gain control of the rest of our government. And most importantly, register to vote and help your fellow protestors register. Run for office, help someone else run for office or lend your voice to issues you care about. If you stand on the sidelines, you will only end up watching as the Republicans run roughshod over what’s left of our country.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles