Change Begins At Home
By David Michael Rothschild
Being a politically active person, discussions with family
and friends frequently turn to our chances in 2004. For the
most part, they are at best pessimistic, or just scared; I
tell them that our chances in 2004 are superb.
George's popularity? The War on Terror? Gulf War II? How
can we win? The answer is two-fold. Firstly, we represent
most Americans on most issues and secondly, Karl Rove does
have a fatal flaw. He shares the same attribute that has brought
down giants since antiquity - hubris. These two facts are
not mutually exclusive, because it is Karl Rove's voracious
hubris that will lead journalists and consequently Americans
to begin appreciating just how damaging the current regime
has been to America.
Hubris will force George to finally stop gloating over the
trauma of September 11th and allow journalists to focus their
attention on those other 99% of policy issues where the current
government is already a proven failure. This will happen because
there is limit to just how shamefully George can manipulate
the fears and concerns of the American people for his political
good, and that limit is hosting his convention at Ground Zero
right around September 11.
Let him walk into the trap, let him shuttle back and forth
between Ground Zero and Madison Square Garden, let him be
all solemn and serious, let him denounce as traitors those
who question him, while he exploits September 11th for personal
What he is anticipating is a few straggly hippies protesting
in the street. What he will get is thousands of firemen upset
that his lack of aid has caused the closing of some of those
firehouses that responded to the attacks, widows and children
denouncing his exploitation of their loved ones' deaths, hundreds
of thousands of average New Yorkers appalled by the large
federal tax cuts as their taxes go up to cover the cost of
homeland security in New York City and the promised federal
funds that never materialized, plus hundreds of thousands
of youths from across the country disgusted at an administration
that has traded their future for the administration's (read
rich people's) short term economic gain.
We will slowly and surely let Americans understand just
how badly the government has duped us on the War on Terror
(we cannot be passive about this). We will aggressively advertise
America's failure to help the Afghan people and her failure
in destroying Al Qaeda (Osama is still out there killing Americans).
We will also demonstrate the serious danger our isolated position
in the world is to both our physical and economic safety.
We will show news clips from likes of BBC, instead of Fox,
and ask the country if they still think we won over the hearts
and minds of Iraqis and the world. We will be more aggressive
in our opposition to the war in Iran (or will it be Syria?)
and make the government prove that the potential enemy is
harboring terrorists and peddling weapons of mass destruction.
We will force journalists to discuss the pertinent questions:
are we safer because of Gulf War II (and possibly III) and
are we safer today than on September 12, 2001? While we win
back some of our legitimacy on foreign policy, it is domestic
policy where we take the election.
Last week I spoke at length about many of those issues in
which our position represents both the popular policy and
the only policy designed for the benefit of all Americans
(versus the detriment of most Americans), and we must excite
the masses about these issues. We need to be blunt. George
will try to confuse people about different health care policies,
make people think he cares.
We need to show a chart that demonstrates exactly how fewer
Americans have health care now than the day Bush took office,
how fewer children have healthcare, and how fewer elderly
have healthcare. We do not win when we debate the nuances
of our detailed plans. As sad as it is to say, it bores people.
George will try to confuse the environmental issues by describing
how many more factories are following regulations (of course
they are, because so many regulations have been eliminated
or loosened!). We will supply concrete examples of George
changing a regulation to provide short-term economic advantage
to a friend over the long-term benefit to the country. This
applies to both our destruction of irreplaceable natural treasures
and to his abject failure to relieve our dependence on foreign
We will ask why he has not funded his education initiative
(that hooks both people who are disgusted by the premise of
yearly testing and those who appreciate fiscal responsibility).
We will show pictures of Ken Lay and other "evildoers" of
industry still hang out in swanky Texas country clubs while
the average American is left holding the bill for his deception.
Similarly, we will make "voodoo economics" a personal issue,
highlighting rich people's (i.e. his) gain and ask George
to use his "business school education" to explain exactly
how everyone benefits. The government's reckless tax cuts
and disregard for any real work initiatives will be our most
Lastly, many progressives contend that no matter the level
of injustice, civil liberties are just too abstract for most
Americans to understand and accept. Yet, we have a trump card
this time. John Ashcroft's inconsistent and pervasive use
of federal power in America has convinced many staunch Republicans
to support the ACLU (Bob Barr, for example). There is nothing
more convincing to the American people that something is correct
than if there is bipartisan support for the issue.
If Karl Rove's strategy is to make people forsake everything
they stand for because they like George W. Bush, we will make
sure people vote for issues they really care about. We will
make them realize that Bush has exploited Americans in a time
of great need. So get angry, volunteer, talk to your friends,
register, and register your neighbors. We can win in 2004.