Who Is Mistral Dawn?

Mistral Dawn is a thirty-something gal who has lived on both coasts of the US but somehow never in the middle. She currently resides in the Southeast US with her kitty cats (please spay or neuter! :-)) where she works as a hospital drudge and attends graduate school. Taken By The Huntsman is her first effort at writing fiction and if it is well received she has ideas for several more novels and short-stories in this series. Please feel free to visit her on FaceBook or drop her a line at mistralkdawn@gmail.com

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Stay On Target!

Hey Everyone! :-)

Remember that line from the first Star Wars movie? It was at the end when the Rebels were fighting the Death Star. One of the pilots was concerned because Imperial fighters were chasing them, but the squadron leader urged them all to, "Stay on target. Stay on target!"  That admonition resulted in the death of the pilot who tried to give warning, but it ultimately led to the Rebels winning a victory.  In other words, remaining focused on the goal of the mission allowed the Rebel Alliance to survive.  If the x-wing pilots had abandoned their objective and run from the Imperial fighters, they might have lived. But the Rebel Alliance, and the last hope for the galaxy, would have been exterminated that day.

So, what's up with the Star Wars analysis?  Well, it seems to me that it makes an excellent metaphor for the Democratic Party, right now.  Progressives are the Rebels and the establishment Democrats are the evil, Imperial forces who are trying to silence us.  If we're going to prevail against our enemy, we need to keep the things that matter in our sights and not allow ourselves to be distracted by less urgent issues.

That's a challenge, I know. The Democratic establishment is so good at creating distractions, after all. Just look at Hillary Clinton's campaign. According to a study that was recently published in The Forum, A Journal of Applied Research in Contemporary Politics, only 25% of her campaign ads focused on policy issues.(1)  The rest were character attacks against Trump and empty platitudes.  And losing the election, apparently, hasn't taught the Democrats anything. Rather than refocusing on the things American citizens care about -- healthcare, income inequality, infrastructure, etc -- they have decided to focus all their efforts on Russia, Russia, Russia.

Why would they do that when such tactics lost them the election? Because establishment Democrats are far more afraid of losing control of the party to Progressives than they are of losing control of the country to Republicans. Why? Because many of the establishment Democrats have financial ties to the lobbyist groups and campaign consulting corporations that profit off the Democratic Party.  If Progressives gain control of the party, they will be out of a job. But if they just lose elections to Republicans, they get to keep sucking on that sweet, sweet corporate tit.

See, that's what they're trying to distract us from. When the DNC elected a new chair, they chose Tom Perez, an establishment pick with ties to corporate lobbying firms. They also voted against banning corporate lobbyist donations and even struck down the limited ban that Obama had instituted.  Since then, Perez has created a transition team that consists almost exclusively of establishment Democrats with ties to lobbyist and consulting firms.  Not exactly the actions of a party interested in learning from past mistakes, are they?

Of course, these establishment Democrats can't afford to have people pay too much attention to their blatant corruption, so they needed to come up with something to keep us occupied. Trump's supposed connections with the Russians are what they chose. Because if they can keep us all focused on the big, talking head, maybe we won't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain.

Are their accusations regarding Trump and the Russians true? I don't know. As I've said in previous posts, that's something that needs to be investigated. But, in some ways, it doesn't matter if the connection between Trump and Russia is real or not. The Imperial fighters were real, but they weren't the biggest threat at that time. The larger issue, the issue that the Rebel pilots needed to focus on, was the Death Star.  And the biggest threat to Americans at this time isn't whether Trump has connections to Russia, it's whether or not there are any viable alternatives to Trump during the next election.

Because, like it or not, the American people will not vote for an establishment Democrat in numbers large enough to defeat Trump. Don't believe me? Just look at the most recent poll on the relative popularity of Trump vs. the Democratic Party. Right now, Trump has a 45% favorable rating and a 47% unfavorable rating.(2)  Pretty bad for a President who just took office, right?  Well, compare those numbers to the numbers for the Democratic party. According to the same poll, the Democratic Party has a 36% favorable and a 52% unfavorable rating.(2) Scared yet? I am, and it's not of the Russians.

But that isn't to say that Americans aren't in favor of Progressive values.  According to an aggregate of polls, Bernie Sanders has a 56.1% favorable rating and a 31.7% unfavorable rating, at the time I'm writing this.(3)  Think about that. Bernie Sanders is 20% more popular and 20% less unpopular than the Democratic Party. Why?  Because, for the last forty years, Bernie Sanders has done nothing except advocate for income equality, an end to foreign wars, workers' rights, civil rights, universal healthcare, and freedom and fairness for regular Americans. And, for some reason, regular Americans respond to that message.

So, what does this mean? It means we need to "stay on target" and not let ourselves be distracted by the establishment's slight-of-hand. It means we need to focus on the things that really matter, not the distractions that those in power want us to attend to. It means we acknowledge that, yeah, the Russians might be a problem. But they aren't the biggest or most urgent problem. And, yes, I know, the Democrats are hardly the only ones who use such tactics. When Trump wants to distract us from the fact that he's defunding Meals on Wheels and Sesame Street, he sends an asinine tweet to Snoop Dogg.

But that's exactly the kind of thing I'm talking about. We need to ignore that tweet, as obnoxious as it may be, and focus on the issues that matter. We need to hold Trump accountable for defunding safety net programs. But, more importantly even then taking Trump to task, we need to force the Democrats to present a viable alternative. Because, as has already been proven, Americans aren't going to vote for "not Trump" or "not Republican."

We need to have something to vote for, not against.  Rather than candidates who yell, "Squirrel!" and point at Russia, we need candidates like Bernie Sanders, who will fight for a living minimum wage, Medicare for all, sensible regulations on industry and Wall Street, a tax structure that makes corporations pay their fair share, an end to the military/industrial complex's control of the US government, public funding of higher education, protection of unions and workers' rights, getting corporate money out of politics, the fair and equal treatment of all US citizens, regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc, and all the other real issues that real people care about because their lives are directly affected by them. The numbers are in and these are issues that American citizens will fight for and will vote for. We just need political candidates who will do the same, which means we need to put an end to establishment control of the Democratic Party.

It's time to shut down the giant, talking head, yank back the curtain, and tell that man he's out of a job. Otherwise, come 2018 and 2020, the American voters aren't going to find anything but the same smoke and mirrors they rejected before. If the Democrats won't offer them something real, who do you think they'll vote for?  I don't know about you, but I find that prospect much more frightening than the Russians.


1. https://www.degruyter.com/view/j/for.2016.14.issue-4/for-2016-0040/for-2016-0040.xml?format=INT

2. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/king-democratic-party-doesn-unpopular-article-1.2993659

3. http://elections.huffingtonpost.com/pollster/bernie-sanders-favorable-rating

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