I Am Part of the Problem
At least some of you may respond to the headline on this post with a, “Wow, he just figured that out!”
Let me tell you what I mean. I, like many others, traveled to a swing state in 2016 to volunteer for the Clinton campaign. But I did this not because I was fired up for Hillary, not really. I did it because I was so appalled by Donald Trump. I remain anti-Trump.
But in order to defeat Trump I have come to the conclusion that we must focus less on Trump. We cannot be mesmerized by him or only animated by how distasteful he is. We cannot live in fear of him or by daily reciting a list of his latest outrages.
We need to focus on the issues/ policies and, yes, a messenger/ candidate, who we believe in and who can win. In other words, just be “anti-Trump” is not enough. To focus overly much on Trump magnifies him, swelling his importance and mystique. It gives him too much air (which was one of my objections to the impeachment process).
In my last post, I channeled James Carville to say that Democrats need to focus on those policies that speak to a broad range of the American people about the issues that really matter to them: health care coverage (including pre-existing conditions), good jobs, education and child-care, gun violence and environmental protections that effect people’s lives and health.
Too often the progressive/ liberal menu of issues are “right causes” or “correct” positions, but not ones that touch a majority of people’s day to day lives. Besides, you can’t make a big difference on those “right causes” unless you are in power.
In another previous post “Getting Power” I confessed my own quandary about how to best contribute my time and resources in this new election cycle. What I am saying here is I need to focus less on Trump, more on policies that have broad appeal and a candidate I can be enthusiastic about. I did like Senator Michael Bennet, who is now out of the race after New Hampshire. I continue to like, and support Senator Amy Klobuchar. And I am keeping an open mind on former Mayor Bloomberg. I don’t think the fact that he is wealthy disqualifies him. He came by his wealth honestly and uses it well.
A further note: in response to that “Getting Power” post, I heard from a local group “P4Progress,” which stands for “Proactive, Persistent People for Progress.” You can learn about what they are doing, and what you and I might be doing, at www.p4progress.com. They have a flyer you can download at their site, “A guide for people with little time or campaign experience.” Check it out.
I used to remind church congregations that “Protestant” did not mean that we were just protestors or only against stuff. Too often liberal and progressive Christians can tell you what they are against, but not what they are for — at least in terms of faith. “We’re not like those awful fundamentalists. We hate the Religious Right,” etc.
The word “Protestant” comes from the Latin meaning “for testimony.” To offer testimony is to say what we are for, what we believe in, and not just what we are against. So now I remind myself, and perhaps others, that what and who we are for is more important than what/ who we are against.