I’m back home for a few (too few) weeks. I woke up very early this morning to write today’s post. I had planned to do a book review on one of the two books I finished reading this weekend. But as I was watching the sun rise, over the water, listening to the sound of the waves, I started to think about politics, about the state of our nation and the state of our disunion.
Then, sitting down and going over the site, I realized that I haven’t written a political post since April 29, two days short of 3 months. Sure, I write short opinions on politics in the weekly OpinionList, but nothing fleshed out like I used to do before. This is strange to me because when I started this blog two years ago, the main focus was to be political, and because I wasn’t shooting for an ESPN-y site, I had decided to throw in other subjects as well.
The fact that these past months I write more about those other subjects than about politics is a sign of how disgusted and disappointed I feel about the current political environment. For the first time in our history, the House is suing a sitting President. But what is even worse is that the lawsuit makes absolutely no sense, a huge waste of time and money, the most cynical political theatre that, were it not so sad and disturbing, would be laughable.
There is no question that today’s GOP needs to be voted out. No question, yet we talk about the real possibility that the Senate will turn Republican in November, something that completely boggles the mind (at least mine) considering what the GOP has done throughout Obama’s presidency and considering the most recent abomination: Boehner’s lawsuit.
I have repeatedly pointed the finger at the Democratic party for its incompetence at political communication. It fails on two levels: talking about its successes, and allowing the GOP to distort the Democratic policies and positions. I admit that I place a lot of the blame on the Democratic leadership for the precarious position in which we find ourselves today. We don’t know if we can keep the Senate. This, after having to accept that the House will remain Republican due to GOP’s gerrymandering.
However, today, I realized that I can’t just blame the Democratic leadership. It’s also about the voters. We are talking about the Senate turning Republican because historically Democratic voters don’t vote in the mid-terms. The Republicans will win not only because their voters will show up (especially the ones that have been convinced that Obama is the Anti-Christ), but because ours won’t.
But think of it. Most people are not right-wing extremists. Most are average Joes (and Jos) who are reasonable, interested in living a healthy, financially secure life. Why aren’t these people more interested in politics? I get that most people are not political junkies like me. But, how can we get them to care even a little bit more about politics, especially during the midterms?
Looking at the ocean this morning, I had an epiphany. Everyone cares at least about one issue. The person who loves the ocean doesn’t want to see it polluted. The one who cares about education wants to have better schools and teachers. The one afraid of gun violence wants more effective gun controls. The one who is unemployed wants to find a job. If each of these people would research which is the party that is either doing (or trying to do) the most on his/her subject of interest, if each of these people would understand that the candidates in that party, both at the local and federal levels are the ones who need to be elected into office, then we would have more people showing up at the polls in the midterm elections.
So maybe what we, the Democratic political junkies, need to do is take a whole new direction. Let’s stop trying to convince others that today’s GOP is dead wrong. It is. But seeing how Republicans continue to push towards “extreme extremism,” the party will eventually self-destruct. Let’s stop trying to convince others to care about politics, or that the GOP is leading us into the annihilation of our democracy, even though it is.
What we need to do is ask the people that we know, one at a time, what is the one issue that they care about, and then show them the difference between the two parties. The Democratic party, today, even with all its failings is the only sane choice that we have.
Ok, fine, but how does all this translate into getting people to the polls? It doesn’t (too bad we can’t drag them there). But the bottom line is that either we take responsibility for the future in our own hands or we don’t. We have to show up. Whether we do or don’t will determine what kind of life we will have in the next two years and beyond, and this, we also need to let our friends know.