Thursday, January 23, 2014

Only Republicans Can Restore MLK's Dream ...

Once again. Got your attention. Now. Here me out. Oh. I should point out that I did actually write and post this (elsewhere) on MLK Day. Just posting it late here.

The last year has been a pretty bad one for Barack Obama. But I don’t find too many folks any more disillusioned than they were when he achieved a landslide victory against Mitt Romney in 2012. They’re unhappy now. They were unhappy then. Maybe for different reasons. But he got his second term.

What he did not get was much of a supporting cast. The Senate became a bit more friendly. The House, still unfriendly. But the most telling trend, a continuation of the pattern set in 2010, was Republican success in State governance. We now have a situation where almost half of the States have Republicans in total control of both the Governorship and the Legislature.

In almost every instance, this Republican surge, federal and state wise, has been fueled by copious amounts of greenback from rich folks and their front organizations. In North Carolina, dollar store owner Art Pope was the fairy godfather. He also supplied the new Republican NC Governor (Pat McCrory) with his new budget chief. Er. Himself.

The result across the country, since 2010, has been a swathe of legislation undermining programs that empower working and middle-class Americans. Why would this be?

Well. And this is only my opinion. The middle-class is dead. And the rich no longer need working folk, poor or otherwise. Never did. Even less now. But why?

Because rich America no longer makes its money investing in American manufacturing and its support structures. Which used to require the American middle-class to manage it, and American workers to provide labor and market. Rich America now makes its money speculating in the rapid growth of emerging nations.

So, rich America no longer has any interest in safety nets or aspiration programs for its own working and middle classes. Period. Hence the Koch Brothers and Art Pope. North Carolina – a state which has so become the poster boy for rich-boy Republican throwback that it gets written up in newspapers from the land of my birth (er … the UK). Pat McCrory. Paul Ryan. And Ted Cruz.

That, however, is not the worst. The most chilling feature of this whole shambles is the support given to this slideback in history by working Republicans. Car lot owners. Farmers. Tea Partiers. But why is that support so avidly given?

Because they truly believe the dishonest mish-mash put forth by the likes of Art Pope that said mish-mash actually has something to do with freedom, patriotism and the original intention of the Founding Fathers.

Working Republicans have no clue (yet) that the entire philosophic edifice put forth by the Pope-Koch mob is about nothing more than lining the pockets of folks who would foreclose, bankrupt, gouge and merrily destroy each and every one of those working Republican suckers, if it meant allowing rich fat cat Republicans the opportunity to buy one more yacht, purchase one more vacation home.

And in that one word – yet – lies the only likely salvation of Martin Luther King’s and the American Dream.

There aren’t any more Democrat votes to milk. 2012 proved that. And it wasn’t enough. We now need the votes of those working Republicans. And they will only be made available when those working Republicans begin to suffer the consequences of what they have been told to vote for.

When it is their friends and neighbors making claim against corporations for polluting the local water source. When it is their friends and neighbors unable to claim unemployment benefit. When it is their friends and neighbors sending their kids into schools which do not have enough teachers.

Then and only then will working Republicans switch their votes.

What can be done to speed the process? Not much, in my opinion. It may take as much as a decade for the penny finally to drop. In the meantime, however, I predict more horrors may be in store for us. I believe for example that in 2016 Republicans will end up controlling all three branches of the government in Washington.

That said, there is always something we can do to be a beacon of truth to those we need to win over. What will most definitely not work in that regard is our talking to ourselves. Or engaging in self-serving photo ops like Moral Monday.

Said it before. Say it again. It’s working Republicans we need to target. And you don’t find them hanging around the state capitol of NC on your average Monday morning. They are, by definition, er, working. And they don’t, by nature, have a great deal of time for those of us who, for whatever reason, don’t have to get up on said Monday morning, and go to work.

No. You will find those working Republicans in conservative Christian congregations. Down the VFW on a Friday evening. And hanging around convenience stores in rural counties; the sort of stores where the patrons think Merlot is a make of French car.

If Democrats are serious about turning the poisonous Republican tide, about restoring Martin Luther King’s Dream, then that is where their political machines need to be, each and every day for the next decade. Then, and only then, may we be able properly to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in, say, 2023 …