May 24, 2019

TITLE: The other side

As a kid in school I remember reading how in the future, as entrenched interests and existing power structures became threatened by dwindling resources, demographic shifts, and social upheaval, those interests would fight back like the dinosaurs in their death throes. In my youthful mind I imagined the battle would be direct and clear cut -- like the Green Goblin going after poor little Spiderman. That they would come right at us. But I was naive. Resistance to change doesn't come head on. It's too easy to see what's actually happening. It comes at you in the guise of a smiling face, soothing words. And perfect hair. It comes at you like Fox News.

The conservative machine which includes the full tableau of Fox personalities, most of talk radio, the Republican senate, and the presidency itself is the personification of corporate resistance to change. They're the "don't worry about it" gang. The you-go-shopping-and-we'll-take-care-of-it sentiment reminiscent of George W. Bush's comments just after the 9/11 attacks of 2001 even as his neocon nitwits were in the process of ramping up the disastrous war in Iraq -- a senseless eruption of violence so calamitous it has spread an alluvial fan of human misery across the entire Mideast for the past 15 years with no end in sight.

This machine has the primary purpose of convincing Americans that the way things currently are is the way they should remain; that taking the easy path of DOING NOTHING is not only right, it is courageous and noble. But these are not simple times and we have problems which must be faced. Let's look at a few:

Energy: Our centuries-old system of extracting energy from the earth is ending. Yes, there's still plenty of it in the ground, but it's getting increasingly hard to get at and it's damaging our planet irreparably. Question: Why in the world would anyone ever cheer the notion of sending young people down into deadly coal mines when they can be up in the sunshine on their neighbors roofs installing solar panels or in the fresh, clean air erecting US-made windmills across America's vast wind alley? Why not be remembered as the generation that moved the U.S. to renewable energy rather than the one that fought it at every turn?

Climate: Utah senator Mike Lee recently noted that the solution to climate change is to "fall in love, get married, and have some kids... More babies mean more forward-looking adults -- the sort we need to tackle long-term, large-scale problems." Perfect. The same old put-it-off-on-the-next-generation self-deception that has gotten us into the jam we're in today. The big wheel has spun and it is OUR number which has come up. We can stick our heads in the sand but that sand is soon going to be under three feet of water.

Healthcare and retirement security: "Pop-up" clinics like "Remote Area Medical" (RAM) provide desperately needed medical relief to rural villages from Africa to South America. Know where RAM has had its largest turnouts ever? In Baltimore, Maryland. USA. In West Virginia. Add to that a callous abdication of responsibility by U.S. companies which for generations provided workers with comprehensive healthcare and a comfortable retirement. According to money.com, "The percentage of workers in the private sector whose only retirement account is a defined benefit pension plan is now 4%, down from 60% in the early 1980s." 'Nuff said.

In closing, let me leave any fence-sitters out there with one more question: In your heart of hearts, which world do you want to live in?: The "don't worry your pretty little head about it" worldview presented by the right or the "let's roll up our sleeves and fix this together" view of the left?

I don't often source Republicans for wisdom but GOP strategist Frank Luntz noted that, when it comes to getting a message into the minds of the American people, "there's a simple rule: You say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and you say it again, and then again and again and again and again, and about the time that you're absolutely sick of saying it is about the time that your target audience has heard it for the first time."

In the 18 months between now and the Nov. 2020 presidential election, Dems WILL develop a clear, simple, and honest message that Americans want to hear. And we'll say it again, and again, and...

Sadly, what we're living through right now is looking like it's going to take some time, and it's going to be painful; like a bullet that has to work its way all the way through and come out the other side.

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On a personal note, like all good Democrats I'll be taking some time off to... run for the Presidency of these United States! Just kidding, but I will be taking a break from all of my writing gigs to travel with my family and finish my newest play, "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Angels," being produced Dec. 2019 at the California Center for the Arts. See you right back here before you know it.

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Contact Charles Caratti at charlescaratti.com and to view all of his past award-winning Southpaw columns and other writings.