Americans know how to work hard. We put a lot of hours at the office or in the field. We also know how to play hard. Millions of Americans sit in front of the television for the Super Bowl and World Series. What we don’t do is pay attention to our democracy. While our military defends our democracy from outside threats, the average voter is the domestic defender of internal threats.
Americans are ignorant of the real issues, which is why the regressive Republicans are able to use fear and jealousy as pinpoints in election. The GOP have been masters at turning brother vs. brother, father vs. son, mother vs. daughter and fighting within one class of people, mainly the working class.
Yes, there are classes in this country, no matter what the conservatives say. All the liberals have to do is point to Wall Street or corporate America and the GOP complains of class warfare. Yet they use these same tactics. The Republicans will point to the union members and tell the non union member that the reason his job may be outsourced is the threat of unions organizers. The conservatives just spent a lot of political capital trying to dismantle public unions, pointing to the union’s “generous” benefits and telling the private sector non-union guy that he should fight against these union thugs because he doesn’t get a pension. Rather than telling the non-union member to join a union and negotiate a pension for himself, they want him to take away the pension of someone else.
It is about the POLITICS OF RESENTMENT and it’s as old as the Reagan revolution and his welfare queen. Except today’s GOP welfare queens are public sector union members, like police, teachers and firemen.
John Cogan, a fellow at the corporate-backed Hoover Institution, attempts to frame the retiree as “lucky” in the Wall Street Journal in a piece titled, “The Millionaire Retirees Next Door.” He writes, “The typical husband and wife who reach age 66 and qualify for Social Security … will begin collecting a combination of cash and health-care entitlement benefits that will total $1 million over their remaining expected lifetime.”
“The typical 66-year-old couple and their employers, on their behalf, have contributed nearly $500,000 in payroll taxes.” So they are taking more than they paid in, making THEM, the elderly, welfare recipients. As Alternet points out:
Cogan’s sleight of hand is simple: when he gives the amount this average couple paid into the two programs, he adjusts for inflation to current dollars. On the benefits side, he doesn’t – he uses future dollars, which results in a larger number. John Cogan is a professor of public policy at Stanford University; every one of his students knows that he or she would get an F comparing inflation adjusted numbers on one side of the ledger to nominal dollars on the other – it’s apples and oranges and it’s about as mendacious as one can get.
So the average American who is not paying attention to policy, politics and our democracy because their personal lives are filled with work and play will start to resent the people who built our country, the elderly.
This is how the Republicans win elections. They don’t want you to pay attention to the outsourcing corporations and the shareholders who push for more of it in order to increase dividend checks. They don’t want you to realize that wages for working class Americans have stagnated for a generation while corporate profits continue to grow. Instead they want you to resent fellow middle class citizens and retirees.
The conservatives continually paint liberals in a bad light but if you think about it, it is the liberal who fights for the worker on the factory floor and it is the conservative who protects the outsourcing corporation, CEO and shareholder. That being the case, liberals have a lot to be proud of.