June 2, 2017

TITLE: How the left blew it

Anyone who's had the patience to put up with me knows I've been making department store television salespersons nervous for more than 20 years. And, around the time of the last election, our new smart TV (which 'listens' to everything we say) must have been THIS CLOSE to suggesting anger management courses and running ads for anti-anxiety medications. But, even more than railing at hi-def images of low-def right wing nitwits, more often than not it's been fellow LEFTIES who have made me want to climb into the screen and dispense a little common sense.

Fox News, et al. must be given their due. For decades they've successfully been able to mischaracterize liberals as being pedantic and inimical, with hypocritical leaders that exempt themselves from the sacrifices they demand of others (Al Gore squanders energy, Obama wastes taxpayer money playing golf 24 hours a day, Hillary and Bill misuse privilege to financially benefit themselves). We also use words like 'pedantic' and 'inimical' when 'preachy butt-heads' would better get the point across.

But Dem leaders have to accept some of the blame. For years we've been taking the votes of an entire swath of hardworking middle-Americans for granted with a 'Hey, you're doing okay, right? Great! See you the first Tuesday in November!' attitude.

While libs have done an excellent job of appealing to the intellectual mind on issues like healthcare, the environment, and social equality; when it comes to the heart... not so much. We saw this with the Affordable Care Act, where we continually pressed the social responsibility angle of healthcare for all, but continually neglected to press the fact that the law is chock-full of goodness for average Americans. Had we done so it would have been much easier to bring bipartisan legislative pressure to bear to strengthen the bill rather than sabotage it.

Moving forward, we must dispense with the soothing palliative that Hillary won the presidential election by three million votes (she did) or that she lost because of the last minute FBI investigation and Wikileaks email dumps (she did) and settle for nothing short of another great communicator. Like Barack Obama.

That was, and continues to be, the genius of Obama. With everything righties threw at him (birtherism, 'he's not one of us,' he's 'uppity') he had an unimpeachable (!) quality that never allowed them to land a solid blow. And it's where we got into a bit of a jam with Hillary. Don't get me wrong, I ADORE Hillary, but we have to admit that for whatever reason she was simply not able to rise above the barrage they threw at her -- unfair as it was -- and that's the only kind of person we should ever run for high office.

After all, we have a LOT of work to do. When only one in three Americans approve of the GOP's health care bill (I mean, tax cut for the wealthy), we're being missed. When President Trump's approval rating continues to plummet below 40%, we're being summoned. And when a whole mess of New Jersey eighth-graders this week choose NOT to have their picture taken with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, we're being sent a message. And, while middle-schoolers are notoriously unreliable voters (they tend to be playing dodge ball), what they're telling us could not be clearer: Give us someone we feel we KNOW. Someone we can trust. Someone who makes us believe in a better future than the righties, who tell us they want to pilot the airplane but only issue parachutes to THEMSELVES.

But, most importantly, we must give people a permanent HOME rather than merely yet another choice between the lesser of two evils: 'We know you don't like us, but they're even worse!'

So that's why my TV is worried about me.

Thanks for reading. Next time: The path forward.

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Multiple award-winner author Charles Carr has written well over a thousand columns and articles for The Union-Tribune, The Orange County Register, The Reader, The Californian, Parent Magazine, and many others. Thousands have attended Carr's original theater productions at prominent venues throughout So Cal. He is also co-founder of Art Animates Life Films. More info and contact at charlescarr.com.