Friday, December 13, 2013

Workin’ for the Democratic Man!

Excerpts from The Journals Of A 21st Century Schizoid Man:
Jim Browning was a short stocky man about as tall as I was and that wasn’t very tall. I don’t often work for members of the Democratic Party, but this guy was local. I knew him and I knew his politics. Although he wore a suite, he also had a slight beard, his hair had just a touch of gray and he had a laid back look about him.  
His desk was a meager looking plain wooden table with drawers. His office was small and rather plain except for all the election posters he had on the wall. I was sitting at a table full of information pamphlets that I would soon be giving away door to door.  Browning was running for the Representative to my district and he was running as a Democrat.
He was running against a far-right-wing Republican. His name is Mike O’Connally, a true Tea-Party Yahoo. This young twerp looked as yuppie as it was possible to get. Always in the three-piece suit and tie, with his boyish looks, he couldn’t have been much over 25. He had short crew-cut style hair and he was clean shaven. He looked like a Jehovah’s Witness traveling around on the bicycle. But he would have none of that. The chamber of commerce and had just backed him, along with the Koch brother’s fake think tank Americans for Prosperity backed O’Connally against a moderate Republican who had served the business community well over the last 20 years. But now, The Chamber and the Koch brother stooges decided they could get a better deal. In fact, they owned this guy, lock, stock and barrel. O’Connally was also tied in with ALEC so he could get free speeches he didn’t have to write.
Sitting next to me was a friend of mine, a free-lance writer named Hector Helium. He was about my age, dressed rather business casual and he started laughing when he told us he had heard O’Connally giving a speech at an economic forum put on by our local Chamber of Commerce. He recorded the speech and to his surprise, it was word-for-word identical to a speech he had taped by a politician who spoke at a similar event in St. Louis.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Hector said as he stroked his sort goatee. “I didn’t realize you can get elected knowing nothing at all. Both O’Connell and this other guy, Gibbs, had pulled up ready-made speeches from ALEC. All you have to do is parrot what these ass holes tell you to say. Talk about an easy job!”
One thing we all noticed was that O’Connally won the primary election where only 19% of people voted. Surely when we explain that O’Connally had used the low primary turnout as a “dirty trick” to try and flush out a moderate Republican, it wouldn’t be that hard to convince people to vote for Browning as a reasonable alternative—or would it?
I started walking door to door in Browning’s district and already I knew we had problems. I went up to this normal looking middle class house, with blue wooden framing on the outside and the guy inside literally gave me the creeps.
Out walks this old fart wearing overalls, a john Deer hat, with white hair and crooked teeth. He told me; “Them thar libaruls want to take all our guns away and make ever-boduh gay. I never vote fer nun them thar Dem’crats. I’m a Kanzen. I always vote Republukin.”
The next guy I came across called himself Ray. He also described himself as a Republican. He’s a 40 something, not that old with dark hair, wearing blue jeans and a clean shave and he looked like a good ol’ boy as far as a nice open minded guy. But he wasn’t.
“People vote Democrat because they want a welfare check rather than working for a living,” he said. Apparently he believed only Republicans hold jobs.
“Do you seriously believe no one who votes Democrat holds an actual job?” I asked rather astounded that anyone would actually say that, much less believe it.
“Some uh them thar people work at government jobs in one form or another,” he said. “Those are just another form uh welfare. Dem’crats get ‘dem a job where they only work a few hours a day and get what amounts to a government handout.”
A few minutes later this same jackass was bitching because there is only one place to renew a person’s driver’s license.
“It took me three hours of waiting and there is only one office left in town!” he said.
I thought to myself; “You dumb-ass! Did you really think all these people working in government offices didn’t really do any work?” Then there is that annoying belief that poor people are just lazy and chose to live that way.
“Those people could get jobs if they really wanted them,” Ray said.
“Do you have a job?” I asked him.
“Of course ay do. I always had a job. You think Ay’m one them thar lazy poor Dem’crats?”
“So you never had to look for work?”
“So you haven’t actually had to look for work in a long time?”
“I keep my job. That’s cuz ay’m not lazy. I work hard and don’t lose my job. People who aren’t working’ choose to live that way. They make a choice. That is why I never vote for those lazy people who vote Democrat.”
I decided that I would attach my Republican opponent at his weak spot, his corrupt relationship with the Koch Brothers and the Chamber.
“Did you know that Mike O’Connally is finance largely by the Koch Brothers and their PAC Americans for Prosperity?” I asked Ray. “So the Koch Brothers are actually trying to buy this election. They used dirty tricks to get O’Connally to beat a moderate Republican in the primary so he could win the general by just beating a Democrat. The Chamber of Commerce was behind him also.”
“What do you have against the Koch Brut has? They are producers. The Democrats err supported by parasites who just want to get free money from our movement, while people like the Koch Brothels are producing the wealth in this contra.”
Well, I finally decided that talking to Ray was a lot like talking to a wall. Surely I would have better luck with one of the other working class voters in this largely working class neighborhood. Surely there was someone in this neighborhood who was bothered by the idea of a corrupt politician running for the benefit of a few moneyed interests over the interests of the workers.
So I walked a few blocks to a large pale red house and knocked on the door. This balding guy with glasses came out to talk to me. He looked smarter than the last two. Would that turn out to be true?
“I’m Mark; I’m canvassing on behalf of Jim Browning, who is running for this district’s House of Representatives.”
“I’m Phil,” the man quickly answered. “Is he a Republican?”
“No,” I answered.
“I can’t vote for a Democrat.”
“He might be pro-union. “
“Unions aren’t supporting Democrats anymore.”
“I can’t take a chance. It isn’t fair that they make all that money and the rest of us just make a little over minimum wage. Do you know how much more those Boeing Union guys make than I do?”
“But there unions earn them that money. They pay dues, go to meetings give up their incomes when it comes time to strike. It takes a lot of work being in the union.”
“I think they are all just lazy and want an easy paycheck. They don’t want to work too hard so they join a union.”
“You mean they’re lazy like the poor people on welfare and the people who work for the government?”
“That’s right!”
“But if they are so lazy, how do they get those benefits?”
“They buy off our elections through the Democrats. It’s all about corruption.”
“What about the Koch Brothers and their PACs, the Americans for Prosperity and their use of ALEC. They give way more than unions to buy elections. Did you know that O’Connally is solidly in the pockets of the Chamber of Commerce and the Koch Brothers? He’s in debt to those people for a lot. Whatever they ask for he will have to give it to them. He won’t have to pay any attention to your needs or those who work as you do. He can put all the tax burden on you, while giving his rich friends all the tax breaks.”
“But they are rich and this is America where you earn all that wealth and power. If I ever get rich, and I hope someday I do, I want to be able to count on the political system to protect my rights. People who don’t like the Koch Brothers are just jealous that they don’t have all that money.”
“But Browning would defend you and your rights right now. Don’t you want a politician who cares what happens to you now, before you ‘get rich?”
“If I’m not rich it’s my own fault. I’m not going to blame the Koch Brothers or any other rich people because I don’t live the way I want to. The answer is to get rich.”
By now I realized I was just talking to another wall. Throughout the neighborhood, I was running into weird ass yahoos who didn’t seem to have a lick of sense between their ears. It was nearly the end of the day and it was at a rather large house and maybe this guy made a little more money. Of course I didn’t know if they would make any difference.
“Hi! I’m Bob,” the enthusiastic tall thin man said.     
I thought maybe this guy might be a little different. So I decided to go straight at the environmental argument.
“People here don’t like them tree-huggin’ enviermenalists,” Bob said. “And there ain’t no global warmin.’ That’s just a scam by them libaruls who just want to control us with all their socialism and communism.”
“Why would they want to do that?” I asked in amazement. After all, I was a socialist and I couldn’t see any clear cut link between socialists and liberals—accept on some social issues. Most socialists and Marxists I knew hated liberals almost more then they hated conservatives. I have to admit that I was one of the acceptations to the rule.
“It’s all about control,” Bob explained. “That’s what the Democrats is all about. They just want to control us and tell us how to live. I’m an individualist. I don’t depend on anyone for anything. I’m completely self sufficient.”
“An individualist?  Do you make your own clothes, build your own car, and grow your own food?”
“Well that doesn’t matter. Modern man uses the paycheck rather than the bow and arrow for his food. I just don’t believe in taking hand-outs.”
“Most people who have taken government handouts have paid into the system at one time or another.  Even the few people who haven’t ever held a job pay taxes and spend their money on the economy. So everyone is interdependent in one way or another—unless you live as a hermit in a cave.”
“Oh! That’s ridiculous. People on welfare are bums and I’m not one of those. Those people are ignorant. The reason Republicans win in this state is because people in Kansas are better educated. Ignorant people vote for Democrats.”
“Since I’m working for a Democrat, you must think I’m very ignorant.’
 “You don’t understand simple economics that much I can say for sure. If you understood how economics work you would never vote for a Democrat.”
“I guess I just need more education,” I said sarcastically.
“You need a job that is for sure.”
“I have a job.”
His jaw dropped and he gave me a look of surprise as if he had never heard of a working Democrat before.
Finally—done with canvassing for the day. And if I had seriously given it any thought, I would never do it again. After a hard day on the campaign trail, it was time to kick back and relax in my black leather chair with a cold Magnum Malt liquor can. The TV was on and one of our esteemed City Councilmen Cal Brewhaa was on TV talking about a new airline coming to Wichita, known throughout the city as the “Air Capital.” Brewhaa talked about all of the great jobs it would bring here.
“We hope to have the AA-Hole Airline moving to Wichita next month,” said Brewhaa. “This will provide lots of aircraft jobs.”
Yes it would, I thought to myself. But what kind of jobs? Will there be minimum or near minimum wages! Or will there be any union jobs that pay an actual living wage. This town was good at finding low income jobs for the little people who lived here. Many, just like those I had talked to while canvassing were likely to work at such low paying jobs and then bitch because they can barely get by—then vote Republican!
Make no mistake about it. This is a one-horse town. It’s the air capital of the Mid-west.
Of course those who don’t want to build air craft can blow it out their asses, as far as our city leaders were concerned. Most people with significant talents, which did not go well with building aircraft, left this town—if they were smart.
Finally the day had come to reap the rewards of our hard fought campaign labor. It was campaign night. It’s a great time to mingle with political folks and swill cheap boos while watching to see if any of our candidates actually win. On those rare occasions when a Democrat does win in the Wichita, it is a big celebration. I was wearing my business casual duds and sitting at one of the many folding chairs around the folding tables covered with all kinds of nifty snacks, cheese, crackers, finger meets, etc. Then there was a bar that served all kinds of soft drinks, coffee, a few types of beer and wine. This was a large building which used to be an old theater and had lots of meeting areas. It had lots of homey decorations and real furniture.
What I liked best about these events were all the cute Democrat women. Some were quite sexy looking. That is one thing the Republicans did not have was really sexy women. And there women were as dull as they come.
I stood with Browning by the TV all night as the local news reported one district’s results after another.  By now I figured that losing this election was a foregone conclusion. But what I didn’t expect was the percentage of votes Browning did get. By about midnight, with more than 90% of the votes in, Browning got 43% of the popular vote. Was that possible?!
Could some of the voters actually grown tired of Brownback’s personal punk boy? Were there some voters who actually took the time to look at issues and the blatant corruption of the Republican Party in this coup they used to gain control for their corporate greed? Apparently I got to a few voters. I don’t know who they were, but not every voter in this state is an ignoramus. Some can actually think for themselves and that was a great revelation for me that night.

No comments: