A swing voter’s wish list
Growing up in Ohio in the 1970’s meant I grew up a Democrat. In my northern industrial area, the Republicans were old folks or those three good-natured Jaycee boys who used to joke about “next year” at the campaign rallies.
It’s true. I used to write for them nationeven a few articles for the New York Times. I haven’t changed much, but my party has changed, and one day a few years ago, women in pink hats yelled at me that I was a racist – if not a Nazi – for having the freedom of expression they were demanding support “hate speech”.
I didn’t leave the Democratic Party as much as it left me. With the party’s mid-term demise this fall, as sure as the good guy in pro wrestling wins (big in Ohio), I can’t say I’m ready to return. but if Democrats want to lure people like me home, here are some things they need to do.
Dems, third trimester abortions, really? And just because I personally support limited abortion rights, you’re saying I also have to agree to a whole full meal deal from LGB with no relation to anyone but youETC.? Didn’t you get the memo? Trying to bundle all of these things with the Equal Rights Amendment and various other wake-up calls costs you support, you don’t deserve it.
Ditch the Blue Anon rhetoric. I barely got through the four years under Trump, hearing every day the sky was falling, the walls were closing in and that damn clock wouldn’t stop ticking. It turns out that not every tweet from Trump spelled the end of democracy, the fall of the republic, or the closing party for the rule of law.
If the Supreme Court is going against your will, I don’t have to start with headlines like “The Supreme Court is a tool of tyrants” or worse, “Time for Canada to offer gender-based asylum to American women.” Same if the Electoral College or the Senate doesn’t accommodate you. These institutions were created by the Founders to achieve a balance of power, and they do it pretty well.
Accept that “balance” means that things occasionally go the other way. The same court that rewrote the implementation of society roe can break it down again roe. So no more op-eds calling for a full court, or a change in equal representation in the Senate, or the end of electoral college, or more weight on the popular vote, or anything like that. Turn off MSDNC and its fake news. We’re sick of the media pinning the elected candidate’s latest statement to the national fridge door.
Despite their mistakes, the founders are still role models. Many were only in their twenties when they wrote the code that ran under the United States, children who for the first time in history created a nation based on a synthesis of ideas. They risked “our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor” to do so, a fine example for today’s politicians who are unwilling to stand up and give an opinion without opinion polls.
They weren’t perfect, but they deserve our respect and admiration. Find something more important to squander political capital. What we see in modern “awakeness” is the difference between a small mind and a big mind, between people ignoring their own flaws to pick at others out of time and context. Men like Jefferson were drivers, men who started the thing that led to the next thing. That’s worth a statue or two.
Parties are supposed to be big tents, and that doesn’t mean we all have to give up our seats for the meme of the day. Democrats giving in to a racial group (black lives are no more important than any other life, like my own) or gay people — until they got bored and the party moved to the All Trans Network — is tiring.
Stop raising shallow clowns like AOC and their squad. They are hypocrites demanding we not judge by race or gender while pushing white men to the back of the bus. Look back to the civil rights movements of the 1950s and ’60s, which emphasized the inclusiveness of human dignity, not special treatment for every high school kid who wanted to tease their parents by wearing dresses in junior year.
Many of us are just as concerned about the First Amendment outside of our tents as we are about the issues listed above. Speech is the fundamental right, the basis that sustains and drives all others. This beautiful First Amendment haiku certainly protects what you call “hate speech,” an idea that, if started with good intentions, sucks dirt and means practically anything that offends anyone at any given time.
The Supreme Court has consistently held that this foul stuff is protected under the First Amendment. Let ’em sing, the rude and radical, and fight bad language with better language. Leave Elon alone. Before him, Twitter sold censorship, the promise to pretty little flower people that they would never come across challenging ideas in their social media stream, but that is anathema to a democracy that must thrive in the marketplace of ideas.
No more wars. No one voted for Joe Biden to restart the Cold War after two decades of failure and lies and body bags in the Middle East. The United States, I thought, had learned something of a lesson from the pathetic Kabul finale, until Old Joe reminded us through his watch that it was 1980 again. How the hell did I get myself to worry about nuclear war again? Trump (say what you want, I’ll wait) did not restart the Cold War. He didn’t go to war like you said, against China, Venezuela or Iran. He even tried to make peace with North Korea. I want more of this, not that.
Please, Dems, if you want someone back, really retire Hillary. She represents little beyond corruption, with all those “donations” to the Clinton Foundation – which dried up next to her political opportunities, funny thing – and a near-endless appetite for power.
Spare us “but the other party…” Voters understand that no one is perfect, just like no party. Think about it all while licking your wounds at the loss roe, and the very likely throb in the midterms. You have two years to find a real candidate and avoid the easy failures of clones like Harris, Beto or Buttigieg. It’s an indication that someone doesn’t have what it takes to run for the White House because they lost on the spot and got a patronage job.
In 2016, Democrats called for change and instead watched as the party drove Bernie to the swamp. In 2020, we got the sad skeleton of Joe Biden. No more rigged area codes. No more hillaries and “debates” with whatever trinkets the Washington Generals play. Learn the lesson before 2024 if you want people like me to be part of the future of the party. Otherwise we vote for Trump.
Peter Van Buren is the author of We Mean Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, Hooper’s War: A Novel of World War II Japan, and Ghosts by Tom Joad: A History of the 99 Percent.
The Post Wish List of a Swing Voter first appeared on The American Conservative.