Last Of The Breed?
I continually ask myself, regarding the godawfully depressing 2016 election, is this a bump in the road or is it the road?
The 2018 midterm election indicated a lot of people who voted for our current president decided, hey, mebbe the Dems ain’t so bad in comparison to the incurious, happily uninformed, impulsive, likely psychologically damaged archvillain who occupies the Oval Office these days.
Thing is, the Democratic Party still does not have a coherent, punchy, straightforward message that easily trips off the lips of its candidates and, it would be hoped, the electorate. Say what you will about Li’l Duce, “Make America Great Again” is pure gold as a tagline. It’s almost as good as Ronald Reagan’s “Morning in America.”
Can you think of any line or slogan the Dems have employed within the last 50 years that comes within a hundred miles of either of those two utterances? I can’t. In fact, you have to go back some 86 years to then-candidate Franklin Roosevelt’s acceptance speech at the 1932 Democratic National Convention before you find as sharp, as compelling a political line from a donkey party standard bearer. On July 2, 1932, in Chicago, Roosevelt accepted his party’s nomination and promised the American public a “new deal.” This was a New Deal nation at least through the next half century, until Reagan came along with his sledgehammer.
Now ask yourself what today’s Democratic Party stands for. It sure isn’t the New Deal. The party, in fact, is facing a crossroads. Does it continue to mumble, stumble, and mealymouth its way through elections, trying to sweet talk voters, saying Aw, we’re not that bad, honest? Or does the Democratic Party become bold and say our capitalist system has turned largely rotten these days, serving only the haves while the have nots hold on by their very fingernails?
In truth, that’s what candidate Trump told America in 2015 and ’16. Yeah, he’s a billionaire and yeah, he’s four-square for laws and regulations that keep wealth at the very top and if you’re not living at the apex of the pyramid, well, tough shit for you. But his essential message was You’re getting fucked by the big guys and only I can save you.
Have I mentioned Americans love to be lied to? Love it.
Anyway, the Democrats are policy wonks. They read all the reports, study all the research papers, pore over books by economists, sociologists, and other decorated academicians and then speak to the public in jargon. They see all the problems and have all the answers. Just listen to us, they say. And, next thing they know, another Republican has been elected to Congress or the statehouse or the school board.
Bloomington’s mayor, John Hamilton, is perhaps the apotheosis of this smarter-than-thou Democratic politician. Time and again he’s rolled out one idea or another — annexation, say, or his extortion scheme to benefit “affordable housing” — without feeling out the populace. For my good money, a politician’s chief asset should be her or his ear. That is, the good ones know how to listen. Hamilton, by and large, is not just tone-deaf, he’s profoundly hearing impaired.
Yep, Hamilton’s read all the research papers. He’s studied all the learned tomes. He’s conferred with all the experts. He doesn’t have to listen to his constituents because he has all the answers. He knows how to fix all the problems and don’t disagree with him because he knows best and you don’t.
And some people wonder why Democrats, too often, turn off large swathes of the electorate.
I wonder if the Democratic Party is becoming smart enough to realize guys like Hamilton are dinosaurs and the Trump victory in ’16 was the asteroid that smashed into the Yucatan Peninsula some 65 million years ago?
First One’s Free, Kid
So, some seditious scientists are working night and day to develop ways you can — emmis! — make your own medicines.
If you think pharmaceutical drugs cost too much money — and who doesn’t — you might get a kick out of this. Researchers are working on ways that you and I can make our own, say, epinephrine pens or the HIV drug Daraprim.
Now these off-the-grid chemists are actually making quite a few of these drugs and are handing them out at conferences and conventions. They’re even handing out the recipes for the meds.
The traditional pharmaceutical companies, natch, will be screaming bloody murder about all this for a couple of reasons, one good and one not so. On the good side, the Big Pharma guys’ll be hollering, Hey, you people in the general public aren’t licensed, experienced pharmacologists working in inspected labs, using sterile, pure ingredients. That’s true. And that’s one good reason why I’d be leery of someone passing me a handful of pills that are intended to cure my baldness made in their garage. OTOH, the likes of Pfizer, Roche, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline will hate this DYI development because, well, it’ll mean fewer folks will be compelled to buy their drugs only from those multinational, monolithic business empires.
I’m eager to see how this plays out.
[h/t to Alex Straiker.]