I realize Obamacare wasn’t perfect — my own premiums have spiked, in part because so many people in Texas had gone without coverage for so long that they overwhelmed the system. But I’d still take the Affordable Care Act over what we had before any day. As a self-employed person, health insurance has been the bane of my existence for much of my career. For a few blissful years, I didn’t have to worry about it. Now I’m back to worrying. Why does Trump hate small businesspeople?
Of course I wish we had universal health care like most other industrialized nations on earth, but that wasn’t politically possible at the time Obama sought reform, and something had to be done. The ACA saved lives, and for that I’m grateful.
Apologies for the late posting this week. I had to dig myself out of a post-holiday pileup of to-dos.
Let me start by saying I consider myself to be somewhat to the left of Bernie. I favor a Scandinavian-style social safety net — heck, I am Scandinavian. And I admire Elizabeth Warren more than just about anyone. So this comic is not coming from the perspective of a milquetoast centrist Democrat, or even a strong Hillary partisan, as I’m guessing some will assume in our world of fun political binaries. What concerns me is that I’m seeing fundamentally right-wing concepts being adopted by those who self-identify as lefties or progressives. You might say I’m criticizing the left from the left.
To address a few points raised in the cartoon: I shouldn’t need to even spell this out, but as a gentle reminder, Russia is an authoritarian regime that crushes free speech, dissidents, LGBT rights, and now, apparently, my own health insurance. This didn’t just happen to Hillary; it happened to all of us. It’s pretty much the definition of what should be a non-partisan concern. Mountains of evidence exist for Putin’s attempt to swing our election (and others), and to minimize the problem is nothing short of laughable. And yes, I do think the interference had a substantial impact.
Hillary has certainly frustrated me at times over the years, but I came to admire her intelligence and poise over the course of this election cycle. Her performance at the debates with Trump was nothing short of heroic. She also ran on the most progressive Democratic platform ever, but since policy has become almost completely divorced from politics, that doesn’t get talked about much. I could go on, but as my husband says, this was not so much an election as an exorcism, the culmination of a decades-long smear campaign by the right.
The term “political correctness” has been the cornerstone of conservative efforts to transform the ideas of civil rights and equality into something frivolous and stupid. The right loves plucking silly examples from obscure, powerless people and blowing them up into huge “culture war” issues that supposedly threaten the nation. “PC” is an insult that plays into their hands.
Along these same lines, “liberal elites” — long a Fox News favorite — is designed to shift attention away from the actual economic elites hoovering up the world’s wealth and resources, such as the Koch Brothers or Trump, and instead make one think of poodle-owning urbanites supposedly looking down their noses at everyone (while in reality voting to raise the minimum wage). It’s a frame, not a fact, and hides a deep anti-intellectual agenda. By definition, I would say a liberal is someone who cares about the less fortunate. So a liberal “elite” would be a liberal with power. However, the term is thrown around as a pejorative to smear just about anyone — feminists, college student activists, etc. — rendering it meaningless, and an effective right-wing language hack that divides the left.
So don’t fall for these con-job concepts! We progressives need to be strategic in our opposition, not Fox News Lefties.
This strip revisits an earlier cartoon, in which a 1990s couple is warned about future developments. Alas, I don’t have much confidence in the Russia revelations changing anything. If there’s one thing people fear more than dooming the planet, it’s rocking the boat.
When you hear someone throwing around the suddenly-ubiquitous term “identity politics,” it’s useful to try substituting the words “civil rights” and “equality.” Economic justice and social justice are part of the same package.
Do some people take their idealism too far? Of course. But the right has long employed a strategy of cherry-picking the most over-the-top examples of college student activism as supposedly representative of all historical struggles for marginalized groups. “Identity politics” can easily be used as a frame that trivializes bedrock progressive values — as though fighting, say, voter suppression is the frivolous agenda of a special interest group. It’s important, as we face staggering abuses of power in the future, that we don’t allow their rhetoric to divide us.
I may have taken artistic license by showing a mainstream-ish TV news reporter here, as it seems this very important story is being largely ignored. In case you haven’t been following, a recent college grad had her arm mutilated by what many think was a concussion grenade; police sprayed people with hoses in the subfreezing night, risking deadly hypothermia; another woman had her retina severed. Journalists are facing arrest and rubber bullets. The camp is facing evacuation on December 5, a situation which threatens to become violent. It’s imperative that Obama step in; this is not a time for overcautiousness. The stakes here are enormous. It’s not only the Standing Rock Sioux who are imperiled; the world cannot afford this pipeline.
I appreciated the notes from people eager for an election rant. I’ve been busy lately and am still gathering my thoughts (I have a lot of them). At some point, I’m sure I’ll write something. In the meantime, enjoy those mashed potatoes.