By Lorenzo Canizares
It feels wonderful to be corroborated. For some time, I have been saying that we are a nation in deep trouble. On 6/1/22 in an article titled “The Nation Can’t Wait Any Longer,” I wrote “Somebody would have to be willfully blind not to see the crisis of inaction that we are living through.” A couple of days ago, New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie wrote an excellent article titled “The Democratic Gerontocracy Doesn’t Understand That the Nation’s on the Brink” corroborating the point I was trying to make on my previous article.
Mr. Bouie makes three key points that need to be put on the table hoping that the younger leaders of the Democratic Party take up on them. By the way, whatever I’m quoting here from Mr. Bouie, I agree 100% with him.
First, Mr. Bouie says “What’s missing from Party leaders is any sense of urgency and crisis – any sense that our system is on the brink.” This highlights a sense of complacency that shocks those Americans going through very difficult times just trying to keep themselves from having to live under a bridge. Mr. Bouie says, “Despite mounting threats to the right to vote, the right to an abortion and the ability of the federal government to act in the public interest, senior Democrats continue to act as if American politics is back to business as usual.” It must be wishful thinking on the gerontocracy part because we are seeing in the 1/6 hearings how close we were to losing our democracy through a successful coup.
It is important to realize that many Americans remember the Democratic Party being an accessory to many of those trade agreements that destroyed the middle-class way of life enjoyed by many American workers before the great job outsourcing. They also know that the underlying reason that this happened is because a green light was given to manufacturing corporations to maximize profits by moving jobs overseas seeking low wages and minimum workers benefits. This also was coupled with attacks on private sector labor unions that reduced union membership significantly. According to CNN since 2000 the U.S. has lost five million jobs. Many of them good paying jobs with excellent benefits. Jobs that left our shores seeking maximization of profits.
Second, the belief that bipartisanship is actually being practiced by Republican leaders. Mr. Bouie cites as example of the absurdity of this belief, Biden’s recent statement about Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell at the National Prayer Breakfast earlier this year. Biden said to McConnell “Thank you for being my friend” Biden said this to the man who is almost singularly responsible for the destruction of the Senate as a functional lawmaking body and who according to Mr. Bouie his chief accomplishment in public life is the creation of a far-right Supreme Court majority. This to the man who made Barack Obama’s presidency a much more difficult experience that it had to be. Mr. Bouie adds Nancy Pelosi’s veneration of Ronald Reagan as another example of the disconnect. The disconnect has a deeper essence than meets the eye. Is the desire by both Biden and Pelosi to disregard class differences that exists among certain democratic proposals and today’s Republicans views of what is good for the country’s upper class. Remember that not a single Republican voted for the even trimmed down Build Back Better bill. Just imagine how different the Democratic Party will feel today about their mid-term prospects if that bill had been passed. Now, we are seeing through all the expenditures in the Ukraine War that money was never really the object in the Republicans opposition to the bill.
Lastly, Mr. Bouie says “Millions of Democratic voters can see and feel that American politics has changed in profound ways since at least the 1990’s, and they want their leaders to act, and react, accordingly.” The American people might not be able to articulate it clearly, but they are very aware that we are involved in a class war and that our Democratic Party leaders don’t seem to grasp or even understand that fact (Even though it is fair to say that Biden has been the most pro-union president at least since FDR). And the reality is that 10 years ago we would have never expected that 21 House Republicans would be voting against honoring the capitol police after a mob caused the loss of three police officers. We would have never expected that this same mob could have been 40 feet away from terminating the live of the Vice-President of our nation.
The Party needs new leadership to come forward now and take a more visible role in providing leadership in the fight for the issues that matters most to the American people especially health care, housing, public education, taking money out of politics, abortion rights, etc. People like the members of the expanded Squad, Katie Porter, Stacey Abrams, John Fetterman, Eric Swalwell, Pramila Jayapal and many others need to step up and exert leadership to correct the direction of the Party. Let’s take advantage that people like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are still around to provide leadership and energize people with their progressive ideas. We don’t have a minute to waste.