To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Thursday, July 18, 2024


Exploiting Our Discontent


Almost all politicians do it. They look for our grievances and lay blame on their opponents. They exploit our fears to win votes, and it is a legitimate way of doing political business, but only if the parties involved are telling the truth.

We know that our freedoms are on the line in the next election cycles. Justice Thomas made it clear, from his own mouth, with his own words, that access to contraception and the right to marry whom one loves, regardless of gender, are insecure.

We know that voting rights are being attacked, and for no good reason. Too many reviews have found that those who break the voting laws are too few in number to make a difference, that widespread voter fraud was not found in any of the cases that were reviewed. The recounts found no issues. Voting machine and mail-in ballots are secure, or at least they were before actors came in and copied data they had no right to.

Now, let’s examine two of the GOP talking points – open borders and the crime rate.

To blast the Biden Administration, GOP legislators complain on Twitter about the number of migrants apprehended at the border. Do they not know what apprehended means? It means that the Border Patrol is doing its job. They also seem to misunderstand that migrants have the right to request asylum, to have their cases heard. Is this deliberate or is it ignorance?

Republican lawmakers would have you believe that Democrats are soft on crime, and they use the rising crime rate to prove their point. It’s true that the murder rate rose 30% in 2020, an alarming rise. Why? Who’s responsible?

Using available crime data and local news sources, Third Way journalists Kylie Murdoch and Jim Kessler found that eight of the Top 10 murder rates were in Trump-voting red states. All but one of the Top 10 states were in the Southeast. The highest per-capita murder rate was in deep-red Mississippi. Neither New York or California made the Top 10. Just looking at the Top 10 list makes one wonder what role poverty plays in the crime rate.

Another curious note: The murder rate was higher in Bakersfield, in Kevin McCarthy’s district, than in San Francisco, in Speaker Pelosi’s district.

Crime is a serious problem, but it’s not one party’s problem. Democrats, Republicans, and Independents need to work together to find solutions.

Of course, it is the economy that provides the most fodder for political talking points. Bill Clinton and Al Gore hit on it in the ‘90s with this quip borrowed from James Carville: “It’s the economy, stupid!”

There are things legislators can do to lift people out of poverty. The Child Tax Credit is an example. There are things they can do that widen the equality gap, like tax cuts for the wealthy. But, like it or not, the economy is a global thing. Right now, there is global inflation caused by multiple triggers, including the pandemic and the resulting supply chain issues, and the war in Ukraine.

People are hurting all over, and an honest politician can talk about real solutions to real problems. Blaming the other side is not the answer. Working together to better the lives of constituents is.

Our job as citizens is to do our research and to vote for the candidates who tell the truth.

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