The Wrong Side is on the Defensive

With less than a week to go before the election, there’s a lot being written about the enthusiasm gap. I noticed it last year when we could barely motivate the democrats in Fairfield or even more than a handful of independents to come out and vote.

It’s not that the Democrats don’t care, but there’s a certain apathy involved because there is no out there to beat the drums.

The Republicans have been fanning the flames of fear, impatience, and anger ever since Barak Obama was elected in 2008. They have been aided and abetted by a gaggle of fiery pundits, mostly appearing on the Fox News channel, daily hammering home their one-sided, jingoistic bile.

The Democrats have no one to go toe to toe with Bill O’Reilly and Glen Beck. There is no one sharp-tongued enough to deflate the vapidity of Sarah Palin. At best, Democrats rely on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert to be their advocates.

That’s not good enough.

In the past two years, the Democratically controlled House and Senate have worked with the Oval Office to accomplish a lot but no one is climbing the mountaintops to shout about it, no one is repeatedly hammering home the good news to counteract the shrieking from the other side that has pooh-poohed these accomplishments.

The majority of economists have declared that the stimulus package saved this country from a deep, dark depression. According to the current tea leaves, we ended the recession over a year ago and while the recovery hasn’t been instantaneous, it has been tangible.

The stimulus package also gave us overdue infrastructure improvements while putting people to work. It wasn’t all it could be, or should have been but schools kept teachers and roads got smoother.

Look at the third quarter earnings reports that have filled the headlines this month. The national unemployment figure actually went down last month. The Dow Jones Average has remained over 11,100 for a while now, indicating investor confidence in the economy.

The automobile bailouts worked, saving thousands of jobs and earning us a profit as we got paid back. GM alone has added 9% to its workforce when no one else seems to be hiring. (Why aren’t the pundits demanding the Fortune 500 to invest in the workforce rather than blame the government which is essentially  powerless in this area?)

The Federal Government has finally taken major steps towards turning our attention towards renewable resources thanks to the stimulus package. Continued investment in R&D is required but steps we should have taken under President Carter are finally happening.

We have finally gotten a national debate started over health care. Is the current plan perfect? Of course not. But if it can bring any pressure whatsoever on lowering costs while also extending coverage to millions who didn’t have it before, then guess what, we’re on our way.

Our leaders should be taking pride in our accomplishments. Instead, they are being put on the defensive. The Republicans should have been the ones on the defensive, held accountable for their stalling and delaying and cowardice to have a discussion over the major issues.

Fear is overruling reason and should the Republicans regain control of the House, a new dialogue has to begin. But we the people need to pressure our duly elected representatives to represent all of us and lead.  They have to be ready to stand up and make the tough decisions and recognize that neither side can have it all. When that happens, we’ll finally be back on track.

Keep this in mind when you got to the polls next week.

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