Thursday, November 04, 2004

the inevitable post-election post

I've been doing a fair bit of participatin' over at New Patriot -- and since Blogger has eaten this post at least once, failed to acknowledge it, and then spit it out twice in two minutes, prompting me to trash one of the copies... well, anyway I don't want to lose this idea.

I'm responding here to someone who argues that the Left has been bitching about joblessness and the decay of the support network all his/her 31 years, and it's a big turn-off. In responding, i may have accidentally said something cogent and helpful about what I think the left side of the middle ground is about.

Anonymous 5:17pm, I hear what you're saying -- that message sounds a lot like "wolf" to most people, as long as the cable TV works and there's a paycheck coming on Friday. But it's amazing how little there really is between any one of us and poverty. Think about where you'd be, if two paychecks in a row failed to arrive, and there wasn't unemployment to work with. Or if you needed a $2700 visit to the emergency room, with insurance paying for only $1800 of it.

Nobody wants to be reminded of the gloom and doom crap, and if we really did live in a world where people really did get to keep what they earn, where they used only what they paid for and only paid for what they use, then there might be a position to defend there. But the fact is, things might be fine right now, for you, but there's a lot more to it than that.

They used to make fun of the Left by saying, 'a Conservative is a Liberal who's ever been robbed.' Well, these days, a Liberal is a Conservative who's ever been sick. Or had an accident they couldn't sue somebody over. Or lost a job and been unable to find another one. Or had to work way below their training level. I sincerely hope you don't have to understand any of this first-hand, but it really does happen, and it happens a lot more than it used to. It just happens to, you know, OTHER people.

Conservatives like to talk about the politics of self-sufficiency. I got mine; you go earn yours. Which, again, WOULD be fine... if everyone who could earn a living actually had a shot at a job someplace near their skill level. If getting sick or getting hit by a car wasn't an instant ticket to financial ruin. If the arena where talent and hard work are all you need wasn't so damned hard to get into in the first place.

If random bad luck ever tosses you on the scrap heap, with the teenage moms and the homeless vets, the people who get sicker because prescriptions cost more than rent and the families declaring bankruptcy without being able to shake the credit card companies, I guess you can keep on espousing that message of "just one more day, one more lottery ticket, and I'll be back on top." You can keep on voting like people who have enough money they don't need anyone else's help... but it won't ever help you become one of them.

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