Posted by: Bruce Allen | March 26, 2018

Most Republicans on the Wrong Side of History. Again.

© Bruce Allen. March 26, 2018

NRA Terr Org.

It would be such a wonderful trip if these millions of outraged tweeners (whom we have failed, BTW) became activist single-issue voters on the side of the angels, passing out NRA report cards on every candidate at every rally and etc. If it catches on, the A+ NRA ratings of the Rubios of the world would become political indictments, smoking guns. And we libtards might find a coherent reason to vote, other than just to honor the institution of voting. The demographics, as predicted when Clinton was president, are moving inexorably in the direction of the Democrats and for good reason. This is a young blue wave.

Imagine if the alleged Movement took hold. Imagine Democratic candidates coming out of the woodwork proclaiming their lifelong fear of and hatred of machine guns and automatic weapons. Explaining how the framers of the Constitution could not be expected, in their time, to imagine the immense destructive capacity of constitutionally-protected assault weapons once commonly/now formerly sold at Walmart.

While being governed by Republicans, people of color, the dispossessed, the barista with $80,000 of student loans, people with health issues, people with income issues, in short, pretty much every new young voter, is finding the quality of their lives diminished. This is how modern Republicans get things done, via the Reverse Robin Hood theorem, taxing the poor to give to the rich, all done under the mantle of “reform.” Consistently, predictably on the wrong side of issues, typically bought and paid for by the trade associations involved. They are always in search of new, regressive ways to finance this largesse, and predictably look in the direction of “unsustainable entitlement” programs, the fast movers of which are SSI and Medicare.

The students at Parkland fit the profile. Young, mostly minority backgrounds. We probably hear mostly from the kids who are on the student council and the debate club, the high achievers, but it appears to make no difference to students nationwide. All appear to be on board, regardless of their differences, and all are counting the days until they can register to vote and begin what they claim is a systematic process to remove legislators and politicians who are on the payroll of the terrorist organization called the NRA. And taking things from there. That’s a mouthful. Many of these kids have experienced gun violence up close and personal. Their credibility is unassailable.

Add to this new layer of outrage over guns the upcoming Great UnGerrymandering of the United States, and the ceaseless disgust/terror generated by Donald Trump–taking Congress in 2018 could be the first step in re-defining the Democratic party. The party of single-payer health care. The party of the modernizing of the American workforce and labor markets. The party of outlawing assault weapons, offering amnesty for their surrender, and getting every possible AK, Mac and AR off the streets of the U.S. Turning the War on Drugs into the War on Assault Weapons.

Ah, but single-issue voters, and the candidates who appeal to them, are dangerous, fully capable of spouting crackpot theories on lots of stuff. Personally, I can live with that. If I have a choice of two Democratic candidates for the same seat, both of whom promise to help outlaw assault weapons, I’d just vote for the less-crazy of the two. Most people would do the same. And if they’re against guns, they’re probably liberals; no need to worry about anti-LBGTQ stuff, etc., in the statehouse. This is the thinking of many single-issue voters on both sides. ‘As long as they’re this, I don’t care about that.’

Being a liberal would once again be okay. Revisions to the IRS code and statues governing entitlement programs would steepen the tax curve and the incidence thereof would fall, visibly, on the highest 10% of earners and asset-owners. The way God intended. The earnings cap on social security contributions would be removed, and SSI benefits would be means-tested, i.e., benefits would not available to rich people who don’t need them. Legislatively, this would represent hard cheese for the ruling class. It cannot and won’t get accomplished under the Mitch McConnells of the world. Never mind you know who.

Single-payer health insurance will need to be paid for and will necessitate a multitude of adjustments and changes for practically everyone. It will also take health care off the table, off the list of global-scale problems the U.S. needs to face up to. And it should lower the aggregate per capita cost of healthcare nationally. Medicare runs like a watch these days. Sell it to everyone. Eliminate the need for separate Medigap and prescription plans. Free preventive care and well-baby exams. To those who would shout that health care is not a right, I would say, “Step aside. Please. Your ideas are outmoded. Thank you for your service.”

Coincident with this must come serious efforts to install term, pension and compensation limits on elected officials, and to get private money out of elections. Repeal Citizens United. Remind ourselves that corporations are not people. Get real. The young people coming at you in a massive blue wave need you to get real and keep it real. About the heating of the planet, and the environment, the air and water. Plastics in the ocean.

They have an innate distrust of career politicians. They want to get rid of them, too, someday.

As 2018 approaches and the Mueller investigation begins its crescendo, this wave will attract growing attention from disaffected middle-class Trump supporters. It will begin to change the minds of adults. Back in 1972 I convinced my parents, both of whom were lifelong Dems, NOT to vote for Richard Nixon in his mismatch with George McGovern. They changed their minds, got crushed, and never stopped thanking me.

This new movement, comprised mostly of high school and college students, must make one of their primary goals the enlistment of their parents in this effort and this new approach to being governed. Though thoroughly earnest and completely energized—radicalized— by what has happened, they are currently few in number. Whatever their numbers today, they could quickly double them by getting their own parents on board, demonstrating and asking other parents to discuss the issue. This is how ideas gain momentum on the ground. Person-to-person with people you know.

We must also make it clear that our desires do not include properly-licensed and registered rifles, shotguns and handguns. Assault weapons only. This group of students, as brave and articulate as any adults, if and when it gets us sensible gun law reform, appears ready to take on the world. First, we must devote time, talent and treasure to the effort to attain critical mass in support of banning assault weapons. I believe we will attain critical mass and that the kids will cause the laws to change.

After all, they have a strong advantage—they are on the right side of history.

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