Loraine Boyle: Time for Democrats to Turn up the Volume

I woke up this morning from a dream of teachers on strike in a large group of protesters that resembled in size those in the Middle East. I didn’t realize how much the Wisconsin protests against the Republican governor’s plan to take away collective bargaining rights from unions had invaded my subconscious. Maybe it’s because many years ago I was a proud member of the Newspaper Guild when I worked for the Detroit Free Press. More likely, it’s because I’m really concerned about Republican and Tea Party power trying to gut not only unions in various states but also about the House of Representatives staying up all night to eviscerate funding to programs like environmental regulations, food safety, family planning, the Space Agency, the NEA and the health care overhaul.

As an average citizen I guess I’m so worried that politics invades my dreams. I’m worried when I hear a Republican propose cutting the TSA staff because he sees some of them standing around at the airport. Gee, I thought they’re standing there watching passengers to detect suspicious behavior in order to prevent a plane from blowing up. In Congress, Republicans are cutting family planning programs and voting to withhold all funds from Planned Parenthood because they must think that women’s health services don’t matter much. Preventing teenage pregnancies and providing health care for poor women just doesn’t matter to conservatives because they equate it all with their right to life agenda. Are they trying to make the US like those third world countries where women get short shrift from the medical profession?

What’s wrong with the people led by Tea Partiers who voted in the Republicans? I always thought that the average person would favor unions since they protect workers’ interest. Wasn’t it always big business that wanted to bust the unions? And I would think that most people would want environmental regulations and food safety inspections to help prevent them and their kids from getting cancer caused by environmental toxins or dying from E.coli in contaminated meat

There are government services we can’t do without. Cutting funds for meat inspection which are meager enough will only lead to more potentially deadly diseases. The average Joe is more likely to eat fast food burgers that come from giant meat processers who are happy not to have to spend money on food safety. Those of us who can afford good grass raised organic beef aren’t as likely to get sick. So actually once again the Republicans are favoring the rich but we always knew that. The wealthier among us can buy their own health insurance or and pay for their own doctors. Congress too has the benefit of a good health insurance plan.

Why can’t the Democrats grab the bully pulpit and get their message across as loudly as the Tea Partiers and the Republicans? Why can’t Democrats turn the message around to show how the Conservatives efforts only undermine programs that the average person relies on? We Democrats lost the last election and we just cannot afford to lose the next one. There has to be a way to turn to turn up the volume to get people to see what is really happening. Most people don’t seem to read to get their information and it’s who yells the loudest that gets the attention. If the people who say we need to cut the deficit would actually learn about what is being cut, perhaps they would change their tune. It’s time now for Democrats and President Obama to figure out how to make people see where their real self-interests lie.

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