You may wonder why I am suddenly writing about the economy all the time. Where are my Barack-bashing snarky posts? Has someone kidnapped me, the way so many bloggers have been kidnapped by, and assimilated into, the O-Borg?
Of course not. I’m still me, and I’m sure many snarky posts will be forthcoming. But frankly, I think the election is all but over at this point. Our next President will be John McCain, and our next Vice-President will be the glass-ceiling shattering Alaskan Governor, Sarah Palin. (Yes, she knows how much she owes to Hillary Clinton, and so do we!) I am now seeking my post-election mission, and for me, it has to do with framing.
You see, I firmly believe that Americans are mostly in agreement about the major issues in our country. Polling shows that we support a social safety net (including universal health care) and would be willing to pay for it. We are ready for a new New Deal, a radical re-claiming of the American Dream. Hillary Clinton’s incredible success in the primaries, and her consistently superior polling over John McCain (when it was still being done), shows that her FDR-style message was heard, understood and appreciated.
Yet we have been manipulated by BOTH parties into thinking that we can never come together to solve these problems. We think of political parties as if they were football teams: We root for them, think they can do no wrong, and refuse to hold them to account when they collect too many penalties. And of course, we know in our bones that the other team sucks! Boooooooo!!!!
As a result of this gridlock, America has done nothing earth-shattering, made no great scientific advances, since we went to the moon in 1969. And our beloved country is slowly devolving into a place where the American dream is dying. Social mobility is down to its lowest point in decades. The gap between the rich and poor is huge and getting huger. Unemployment is at its highest rate since 2003. Is this the direction we really want to go? More than 80% of Americans say no. But how do we change this horrible state of affairs?
It’s time to realize that we need to be not post-partisan, not bi-partisan, but NON-partisan. Post-partisan doesn’t exist (who in the world is above having a point of view?), and bi-partisan means that both parties reach a compromise that is dictated by politics, not policy. Both of these ideas lead to more gridlock, which is why both the media and the corporate forces in both parties continue to push for them.
Non-partisan means that all parties agree on a particular idea because it is good, in itself. (Say, addressing and remediating climate change.) If the idea comes from someone who happens to be on the other team, we are not afraid to acknowledge and admit it. This was the original thinking behind Bill Clinton’s “Third Way” and the DLC. It was the partially successful implementation of this approach that caused President Clinton’s job approval to remain sky-high, even during his impeachment.
Yet a fully-formed non-partisan approach has been impossible in our current environment. After all, we liberals want to tax you all into poverty, while burning American flags, teaching your five-year-olds how to give blow jobs, investing your money into homes for the endangered Tasmanian lemur and giving all your jobs away to illegal immigrants. Meanwhile, you conservatives are so stupid that you constantly refuse to acknowledge the moral and intellectual superiority of liberals, and are nothing but a bunch of Bible-toting, gun-slinging, banjo-twanging rednecks.
This is the year, I believe, that we are all slowly waking up from our framing-induced trances.
For example, as a liberal, I took incredible offense at Barack Obama’s insulting remarks (which I call BitterCling) about the voters of Pennsylvania and Ohio. Yet going around the blogosphere, I saw very few who felt the way I did at all my usual haunts. They were all saying how brilliant Obama was and lauding him for speaking uncomfortable truths – truths which were, to my mind, lies.
I began to notice the snobbery and elitism that were rampant at these sites – and became shamefully aware of my own. As a result, my mind began to open to the fact that sometimes, the things conservatives said about my team were true. And it was only a short hop, skip and jump from that point to finding Riverdaughter, and becoming a full-fledged PUMA.
I am hoping that we PUMAs can become a group that is about really solving problems. A group that goes beyond partisanship to non-partisanship. A group that can help move America into the 21st century. As Hillary says, when we use the internal combustion engine, we are relying on technology that is more than a hundred years old. Are we really to believe that we Americans cannot do better?
I am an American voter, and I am DEMANDING that my government stop kow-towing to corporations, and start kow-towing to the needs of We the People.
Who’s with me?