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Friday, June 24, 2011

Remind me again why we're supposed to support Democrats
Posted by Jill | 5:38 AM
Here in my little town in Outer Whitelandia, a populace that's been asleep for thirty years is finally waking up to the reality of the one-party rule that's been running the town for the last three decades. The primary intersection in town is a bottleneck every single day at rush hour. There are nights when it can take me twenty five minutes to go twenty miles, and another twenty minutes to go two. This intersection is in a residential neighborhood, but a small gas station on the corner has been grandfathered in, and there is a large catering hall on another corner, owned by a guy who has over the last decade been quietly buying up houses on the main drag and letting them fall apart. For the last five years, the first thing you see when you come into town is a house with boarded-up windows and a hole in the roof. There have been rumors that the catering hall puts up its undocumented workers in these hell houses, but they are just rumors.

Now the owner if the catering hall and the owner of the gas station have simultaneously come up with grand plans to turn the gas station into a Wawa-like convenience store/gas and diesel station complex and the dilapidated houses into a strip mall containing a CVS with a drive-thru, a hair salon, and a coffee shop -- while a quarter mile down the road, there is already a half-empty strip mall with plenty of parking on site that has a Rite-Aid, a hair salon, a Dunkin Donuts, and a bagel shop. And finally the citizenry has awakened, even though the local government refuses to allow the public to talk at the zoning board meetings that are supposed to be where people can be heard.

In 2008, the town held its first contested election in thirty years -- and the sheeple in this town voted back in the same people who had been giviing crony contracts to their friends for years. Part of the problem was that in New Jersey, we vote not office-by-office, but on a giant screen where each candidate is in a party's line. So if you tend to vote Republican, as most people in this town do, you are not going to jump around the ballot. It of course didn't help that the Democratic candidate, who had lived in town barely two years, was the brother of one of the biggest Democratic Party hacks in he state.

It's like that in Democratic Party politics. Not a month goes by when someone doesn't tell me to run for office in town, but believe me, you do not want to touch these people or play their game. Every two years, they either refuse to run a candidate to run for Congress against the odious teabagger Scott Garrett, who was a teabagger long before the Tea Party kooks even existed; or else they run a weak candidate and then refuse to support that candidate with money. The New Jersey State Democratic Party, like the natonal party has been under everyone except Howard Dean, is only interested in fighting battles it knows in advance it can win.

And so the stage is set for the travesty that happened in Trenton yesterday, where Governor Gasbag, Chris Christie, succeeded in getting bipartisan support in the state Assembly for a law to gut public worker benefits and remove their ability to collectively bargain, with the help of Senate President Stephen Sweeney (D-Gloucester) and Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver (D-Essex), who had shepherded the bill through the state Senate on Monday.

Everyone knows that the state pension system is dramatically underfunded, after being stiffed for decades by governors of both parties, What most people don't understand is that the police, firefighters and teachers who receive these pensions also pay in. So when politicians decide to gut these benefits, it's money paid out to these workers that's stolen for other needs -- mostly to keep from having to raise taxes on the wealthiest people in the state.

If the Democrats on the national stage won't stand up for people who pay into Social Security and Medicare all their lives and are then told not to depend on it because they stole all the money; if Democrats won't stand up for the rights of all Americans to be the same under the law; if Democrats won't stand up for the rights of workers; then why on earth should we reward them with our votes?

We know what Republicans are -- greedy, venal, hateful, cold-hearted and devoid of empathy. Republicans will do what Republicans do. We know this. Our problem is not them; it is the Democrats -- the party that increasingly pisses down our backs and then tells us it's raining.

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Anonymous terraformer said...
Yeah, many of us have recognized this for several years now, if not longer.

Question is, what can we do about it? I think many people are simply getting fed up with this, and have no real belief that anything can be done about it. They're just too entrenched, powerful, and connected to entertain realistic thoughts of change.

Really, what can we do? We're outgunned, and anything we start to do is immediately and with prejudice attacked and removed. Often by those who are our supposed representatives. Which is what hurts most - people are beginning to recognize that they've been had, that the dynamic as it really is is not what they thought it was.

Anonymous BNJ said...
>"...why on earth should we reward them with our votes?"

Beats me. But I feel confident you'll continue to do it anyway.

Blogger Susan of Texas said...
I don't think there's any way to fight this. Breaking the bond between authority and authoritarian is too difficult; they need it too much to give it up.

The best we can do, perhaps, is to present an alternate authority, which Bob Altemeyer says will confuse the authoritarian into paralysis.

When an enemy is infinitely stronger than you are you must use its own weapons against it. The biggest fear of every authoritarian is that he will be kicked out of the club and will be alone with his fears and insecurities. The biggest fear of his leader is that he will lose his authority.

So you attack the authoritarian followers for being bad authoritarians, not worthy, different. And you attack their leaders by attacking the basis of their authority.

The leaders know this, which is one of the reasons why they spend so much time discussing how elite they are, and disciplining and shaming their base to keep them in line. Democrats know that if they criticize Obama all their authoritarian fellow tribesmen will turn on them with glee, the better to prove that they are important tribal members of good standing, to curry favor with the powerful, and to experience the emotional high of being part of a powerful group.

How do we compete with that? Should we even try, or just let nature take its course, as it will do no matter what we attempt to do?

Blogger Ema Nymton said...

Because sadly there is no other choice.

One has to vote.

Ema Nymton

Anonymous BNJ said...
BTW, I wonder whether you and I should just trade counties? How'd you end up in a red town in such a blue state? Unfortunately, though, one-party rule isn't all that great no matter which party it is.

Anonymous Rose said...
Because the Democrats will save Social Security and Medicare, that's why......while the Republicans will destroy it through "privatizing."

Blogger Pangolin said...
Register and run as a Green or Democratic Socialist or Independent or any damn thing but a Democrat or a Republican.

The bullshit argument that New Jersey is somehow a piss poor province that can't afford to take care of it's people is done. There is plenty of money in New Jersey it's just concentrated in the hands of a few cronies that have run everything and skimmed the cream since God was born.

Tax the fracking rich already. If they don't like the high taxes they can move.

As long as you make it clear that you are done with THOSE bastards people will vote for you. That was the excuse the "Tea Party" people used to get into office never mind that they represent the GOP side of those bastards in spades.

Blogger Cirze said...
I can't vote for Dims who sell my life (and country) out everyday.

I'm looking for evolutionary reform.

And a candidate other than the obviously bought-and-paid-for Obama (who will not save Social Security, Medicare, etc.).

He's not kidding with that Bowles/Asshole Cat Food Commission.

Thanks for keeping us informed about your views.