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The Problem With Labels

April 9, 2015

                                                           Published on



The Easter buffet with the relatives went reasonably well. But some of the conversations amongst the three generations present? Not so.

            Oh so normal people that they are, they caught up with one another’s family sagas, eyed photos of infants, chased toddlers, and enjoyed God’s sense of humor for all of them. However, once politics entered in and terms like Democrat and Republican slid into the talk of this mostly Irish-German, Catholic crowd, hard working and self-made all, a chill descended. Notions of forgiveness and redemption disappeared like the warmth of a snuffed candle. It was as if battle lines needed to be drawn, position points needed to be made, and each word offered from another, opposing view needed to be ignored. At such times, people hurry to counter rather than strain to listen.

            Never mind that the old-time Democrats there felt similarly about so many of the same issues as Republicans and Independents who find themselves in the broad center of the political continuum. Never mind that many Republicans there were once Democrats before the party left them. Perception, unfortunately, is today’s reality.

            To listen to the so-called mainstream media—a bunch we should call “State Media” because they parrot so perfectly the current administration’s talking points—the Republican Party has been captured and gagged as hostages by caricatured Tea Partiers—you know, the Carhartt clad, uni-browed denizens of fly-over country. For the past two decades, on the other hand, Democrats with moderate, sensible instincts have been out-shouted and out-guilted into silence by Saul Alinsky’s spiritual progeny running politically amok, but identifying as a Democrat is more important than being ignored.

            Without the labels and the fringes, centrist Democrats, Republicans, and Independents might agree on the broad strokes of these lurking issues:

1.     Immigration Policy: No homeowner of any party mops the floor before fixing the leak in the roof. Secure the borders (all of them), identify who’s here, deport all undocumented felons, and delineate a programmed way and waiting period for legitimization. As in Ellis Island days, relatives may not tailgate.

2.     Poverty Strategies: Every study from every source says that living out of poverty requires education, a job—any job—, and no children without a committed mate. Rather than push kids into college, require all our young citizens to finish high school, no matter what. Insist on natal care and parenting classes, supplement low-end jobs (rather than buying votes via the minimum wage), support community institutions that promote societal objectives.

3.     Middle-Eastern Affairs: Israel has been our one steadfast ally in that region of the globe since May 1948. True, we have had tentative relations with the Egyptians, the Saudis, and a few others, but since we abandoned hard won Iraq to the orbit of Iran, let’s remember what’s in our best interests. Iran with a nuclear weapon is not parity with Israel. It’s Hannibal Lecter on the mount with Abraham—just who will be the sacrifice?

4.     Domestic Integrity: Put as much DOJ energy into disinfecting the IRS as was used to enflame Ferguson. Deal with poverty and ignorance. Work to eliminate all Staten Islands. Find and release the Benghazi emails and let accountability be the norm. Shun the Harry Reids and the Al Sharptons. Encourage all who are the solution. Lead us from a splintered society of hyphenated Americans with Babel-like complexities, to a nation with one national language celebrating cultural and ethnic diversity.

            So, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell? So, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Rand Paul? For us in the big middle, on the high ground, for us who pay the bills and die to keep us free—will you quibble, will you parse, will you posture? Speak—we can’t hear you!

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