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What Democrats Should Be Saying

If Obamacare is repealed, or even gutted so that it no longer guarantees medical insurance for those with pre-existing conditions, many of our most needy and vulnerable citizens will be financially and medically ruined. If we don’t do something to mitigate greenhouse gases, our planet’s warming will reach a point that makes it difficult to reverse. Wildfires, rising sea levels, hurricanes and droughts, not to mention the alteration in plant and animal life will pose life-threatening risks to millions of people. Even on the less massively catastrophic side, stagnation in the incomes of the lower middle class and poor, combined with rising costs of housing, will leave more and more people homeless. Meanwhile, recent test results show that, as a country, our educational system is failing our young people, especially our young people of color, not just in comparison to other countries, but also in comparison to those who went before them here in the United States.

We may have a thriving economy, but it’s not working for everyone. Threats to our citizens, especially those without substantial financial means, abound. At the same time, our country’s foreign policy supports dictators, thugs, wars that wipe out thousands of innocent civilians (e.g. Yemen), and helps to foment continued hostility between Middle Eastern countries.

In the midst of these existential threats, our Democratic Party leaders are involved with trying to outdo a foul-mouthed, insulting president by fighting him back using his own tactics. Politics from the left has turned into an unending series of accusations about the their opponents’ insensitivity, the racist or sexist innuendos contained in their tweets and public statements. Yes, there are warnings about the real dangers that an anti-public healthcare, anti-environment, anti-poor Republican Party poses, but with few exceptions, these are only hysterical warnings, lacking in concrete proposals. 

Medicare-for-All can work. Simple math and common sense prove that even if taxes must be raised to pay for such a program, the money saved by not having to pay huge insurance premiums and massive deductibles or taking bankruptcy because of medical bills that can’t be paid will be a net financial benefit for most Americans, though perhaps not those in the upper 1-10% who already have platinum health insurance and will bear the brunt of the taxes. Obama-era or California-like regulations on carbon emissions as well as international cooperation in addressing global warming through agreements such as the Paris Accords has at least a chance of slowing or stopping global warming. Arguments that the world’s or our country’s economy can’t afford such efforts fly in the face of reality. Already, the solar energy field employs more people than the coal industry in the United States. Both China and several Scandinavian countries have mandated all electric vehicles in the near future. They aren’t afraid that such a change will ruin their economies; they are embracing it.

Our progressive political leaders need to quit squabbling, quit trading insult for insult. Get out of the mud and the irrelevancy. No one cares if Stormy Daniels wins her lawsuit or not, or if Elizabeth Warren is part Native American, or if another insensitive Republican characterizes women inappropriately. Of course we don’t want misogynists, racists or sexual predators to be running our country. But that’s just a bottom line of decency, and the focus on constant accusations about such issues at the expense of concrete proposals for dealing with life-threatening issues, is not providing voting America with ideas they can get behind to really turn our country around. 

It’s not a question of going high or going low, it’s a question of offering a vision of a country that will be of help to every one of its citizens and the world around us in making our future lives livable and something to look forward to, rather than to dread. 

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