My epic rant from the final episode of This American Election, revised for the blogosphere:
The party continues for some. The reckless abandon in some quarters is astounding. The country is on a trajectory of debt that can’t be sustained to support priorities that amount to a giant list of bad ideas. We’ve got imperial wars that continue in stealth mode because the media won’t let information through, discretionary budgets that are just black holes that suck up money with no accounting for it, money-printing on demand and loaned at zero rates, an entitlement state that surpluses nearly half the population out of the workforce.
How did we find ourselves here? I never would have thought four and a half years ago as I was working for the election of Hillary Clinton that I would be here. And where is here?
I’m not yet a Republican, but I have come to realize that I am somewhat of a conservative. I have to be. I work for a living. I’m married and I have a family to protect. I am a family-oriented fiscal conservative. But I’m also socially liberal to an extent. I’m for civil rights and women’s rights, and fair pay, and social justice. Gay marriage? I’m for it, but the institution of marriage might be dead before we get it, rendering it a mute point.
I’d like to see the institution of marriage resurrected, because men and women, left to their own devices, tend to devolve into selfish, heartless monsters, and now we have a whole party of them. A good marriage breeds a compromising mindset of necessity, and it goes a long way toward helping understand the nature of personal accountability. That doesn’t mean I’m for forced marriages, but how did we get from where we were 30 years ago to where we are now?
I have to say, I feel left behind. I fought my way to a bachelors degree, which I finally earned in 2007 after chipping away at it for years on a part-time basis while I worked to raise my daughter. As soon as I earned it, the bottom fell out. Now the market is so glutted with people with master degrees that I can’t get an interview if the positions says “bachelor degree required; masters preferred.” Hell, I can’t even get an interview for a secretarial position and I have over a decade of experience there. Now I’m “too qualified.” Is there is even a place in the job market for a bachelor degree anymore? Is it the new high school diploma?
I also got married in 2007. In 2011, for the first time ever, unmarried women outnumbered married women, and these women helped carry Obama over the finish line. Now they’re the constituency everybody wants. Being a single woman was a wasteland experience until I got married. Now it’s the new normal and my group is disempowered. Sometimes I wonder: Is it me? Is it whatever I do that I can count on failing? I don’t want to believe that, but on a day like today, it’s hard to hold my head up.
When I really think about it, I love who I am, who I made myself into through sheer grit and determination, and I love the choices I made to get here. But I gotta tell you, having every rug yanked out from beneath me as I steadfastly make the right and healthy choices, because the culture is on a disease-embracing binge and loving it, is wearing thin. It’s discouraging as hell. And it’s not going to get any better anytime soon.
Somewhere along the way, our ideas of what social issues are have transformed themselves from doing the right thing to getting some of mine, and hurting people in the process is now considered sport. Where is the moral America? Where is the America that informs itself, looks the facts squarely in the face, and say, “Oh yeah? Well I’ve got news for you. We’re better than that!”
Let me tell you a story: I spent an hour this afternoon talking to a neighbor who is a wonderful lady, raising her daughter on her own, and who breezed into my house declaring, “Y’all know I’m poor, right?” She then proceeded to tell me about the misery of trying to get an appointment to get heating assistance this winter. In the very next breath she told me how her boss quit and her employer asked her if she wanted the job and she said no, because then she wouldn’t qualify for heating assistance. Which she is not going to get anyway because the people in charge of helping her with assistance lost the information for her appointment and are no longer taking new ones.
Five minutes later she was telling me that in 18 months she’s going to try to use her 10-year-old degree in early childhood education to get a job with Head Start. When I asked her why she didn’t do it now, she explained that if she did, her 15 year old wouldn’t qualify for HoosierHealth anymore and she’d have to buy insurance. But since that gets cut off the day the child turns 18 and what with Obamacare allowing children to stay on their parents insurance until they are 26, she’d just put it off until right before her daughter turned 18. To save money.
I feel for the woman, I really do, but this is what America has come to: People afraid of making too much money because it will hurt their chances of gaming the system.
When the fuck did this happen? I haven’t caught up. I’m still of the mindset of fuck the system; I can do better on my own. All I want is meaningful work at a decent wage and I’ve met every single litmus test that society has thrown at me, done everything they told me I needed to do.
And now, when I get to the front of line, it’s all, sorry, that door’s 10 miles down a road littered with deadbeats who don’t even try. And nearly every one of them voted for Obama. Because free shit. Free shit I’ll have to pay for unless I decide to give up and join the party on Broadway. All I’m looking for is a rental on Main Street, but Broadway is looking pretty tempting right now, even if it is lined with flop houses and stinks of stale beer and fruity blunts.
So that’s where I am today. Yes, I resent both Wall Street and Broadway, because these two classes of people are living it up on my dime. Maybe it’s a paltry sum of a few thousand dollars a year in taxes, but as long as they’re living it up and sucking up all the tax money, I’ll never get ahead and my priorities will never get addressed. Because the Democratic party has paid them off to assemble a coalition of the countable, a mix of demographics and clever little number-crunching market hipsters pitted against the people paying for all this shit.
We, we are the coalition of the accountable, people trying to do the right thing for the right reasons. We’re smart and educated, and we take the time to inform ourselves and it is for these reasons we could not join the party. So we tried on Republicans for a while because we could see they were in the process of reforming themselves and maybe we expected miracles in too short a time with too little effort. That’s the danger of naiveté, which earnest people are always susceptible too.
We have got to fight smarter than Democrats. Their intellectual veneer hides an authoritarian rhetoric that will take this country places it doesn’t want to go. Even the people who voted for Obama, if they knew, if they bothered to inform themselves, don’t want to go the places he is likely going to take us. They glossed right over what’s actually happening in favor of more feel-good bullshit, a self-congratulatory pat on the back, because they are no better than trained dogs.
Maybe it’s time to train a new pack of dogs to battle them. The GOP currently has a lot right, but their rhetoric sucks. What’s not right can be fixed from the inside. They aren’t selling their ideas in a way that appeals to the middle. Their ideas are easily characterized as racism, xenophobia, homophobia, and whatever other -phobia Democrats can dream up.
This identify-based argument works because there is a kernel of old truth to it, and because Democrats have been barking this same message for some 40 years. But look where that has got us. Not one single social problem is solved, and the Democratic equivalent of Richard M. Nixon sits in the White House for four more years. This is unacceptable.
We’ve got choices to make. We can either join the party on Broadway, give up and hide out, or we can stop hedging on a culture war we never wanted to fight. If they want the war, we have to bring it. And because of who we are, we can win it, and win it on moral grounds with a nod to social justice. We can bring people up to level instead of dragging everyone down in the name of fairness.
The battle is on now. I was serious about realignment when I wrote about it this summer. It’s happening and it’s happening because people like me, people like my husband, are fed up with Democrats and their games and their bullshit. My husband declared to me this afternoon that maybe it was time to double down on the GOP, to bark the extreme religious right and the elites right out of it, to teach Tea Partiers that the bullshit socialist rhetoric they love so much is not going to fly because Democrats have found ways to inoculate the public against the rhetoric of honesty.
Maybe it’s time to take the party over so we can build a power base. Screw third parties–don’t even bring me that shit. If that’s your plan, you own your vote. But my family? We want change, we want something restored–opportunity–and we’re willing to fight for it. We would prefer not to be barking out in the dogyard, but if that’s what it takes, we’re ready.