What to do when demoralized?

Dems can’t afford to ‘cave-in’ as Indiana did in 83-20 defeat

Many liberals and progressives are demoralized over the results of the November 2nd elections, ready to give in to the corporate-supported public policy agenda that is being rammed through by smug, arrogant Republicans.

Case in point: The waffling by the White House and key Democrats regarding ending the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  True, they’re basing this indecision on the belief that in order to continue tax cuts for the rest of us they’ll need to compromise and continue it for the wealthy as well.

Why are the White House and so many Democrats caving in so easily?

It makes no sense.  Virtually any rational person who looks at the facts will come to the conclusion that continuing to give the wealthy a tax break will do nothing to help the country climb up and out of it’s economic valley.

Just consider what Nicholas Kristoff wrote on Nov. 7 in The New York Times:

The richest 1 percent of Americans now take home almost 24 percent of income, up from almost 9 percent in 1976. . .   C.E.O.’s of the largest American companies earned an average of 42 times as much as the average worker in 1980, but 531 times as much in 2001. Perhaps the most astounding statistic is this: From 1980 to 2005, more than four-fifths of the total increase in American incomes went to the richest 1 percent. . . . The richest 0.1 percent of taxpayers would get a tax cut of $61,000 from President Obama. They would get $370,000 from Republicans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. And that provides only a modest economic stimulus, because the rich are less likely to spend their tax savings.

Also, continuing the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2% would add perhaps some $700 billion over 10 years to the deficit; secondly, it affects about 2% of all small business owners, and thirdly, the amount of extra cash the wealthy will receive will be hardly incentive enough to prompt any of the businesspeople to hire an additional person.

OK, the Dems say, that all may be true, but we can’t continue ANY tax cut unless we compromise.  Perhaps true, but don’t give in without a fight!

There’s wide evidence to show that if the Democrats put up a fight, they’d begin to win back some of the independents they lost in November.  Only a minority of Americans supports continuation of the tax cuts for the wealthy; if the facts were more widely trumpeted (and they would be in a prolonged fight), the truth might conquer.

The tax cut issue is but one example of how the White House and the Democrats are retreating, like a dog in a losing fight, slinking off with its tail between its legs.

Did the Democrats really get a “shellacking,” as the President said on the day after the election?  Not really, since on the average 47% of the votes cast nationwide went to Democrats, indicating at least half of all Americans still support the party candidates and more liberal issues.  That’s enough to build upon for the future and enough to encourage the remaining Democrats to stand up to the corporate onslaught.

A real “shellacking” is what happened to the Indiana Hoosiers on the Camp Randall football field in Madison, Wisconsin, on Nov. 13 when the highly ranked Wisconsin Badgers beat it, 83-20.  It was a gruesome sight to behold, watching an under-manned and talent-shy Indiana team put up a gallant fight for the first 20 minutes of the game, only to fold so completely.  The TV announcers said the “fight seemed to go out” of the Indiana team, as Wisconsin capitalized on a turnover in the second quarter and the Indiana star quarterback was injured.

The Democrats seem to be acting like a bedraggled second-rate football team, spiritless and demoralized.

If ever times called for some new “fight,” it’s now.  The stakes in the future are too high.  Democrats still have the facts on their side, not only on the tax cut issue, but also on environmental reforms, health care, education and on and on.

Sadly, I suspect, however, these political leaders will slink off, seceding the playing field to the Republicans and their greedy corporate cohorts.

That’s why we – as liberals, progressives and many others who believe in rational, good government – need to do more than cheer on the sidelines (though that helps); and we better not leave in the 3rd quarter when the score on the field is against us.

We need to raise our voices, through supporting groups like Move On, by getting the facts out through letters to the editor, through blogs and other Internet gimmicks, and by sounding off whenever and wherever we can.  Many of the cards in the fight are stacked against us, due to the undue influence of Fox News (an oxymoron, if ever there was one) and talk radio.  Let’s not let that deter our effort, but make us speak out louder and louder.

The real fight in the long run is for the minds of the nation’s people.

In the short run, some issues may be lost including the tax cut issue.  Even then, we should not be demoralized.  Remember, when a good football team suffers a loss, it goes back to the locker room to regroup and comes out even stronger to win the next game.

Kenneth A. Germanson, Nov. 14, 2010, Milwaukee WI

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