As a lifelong Democrat with progressive values, I sit here bewildered by the lack of common sense so predominant in my political party. From John Kerry in 2004, ranting about partial birth abortion without studying the subject at all to the completely inappropriate choice of John Edwards, a political ignoramus who I predicted as the only human being who could lose a debate to Dick Cheney, over Bob Graham for a running mate, to left wing idiots "taking their ball home" and not voting for Hillary, I've watched my Democratic Party earn the name I once gave it in my article "The Democratic Party of Stupid vs. the Republican Party of Evil."
While cowardly Republicans defend complete degenerates like Donald Trump and political degenerates like William Barr, far left wing Democrats brag about being socialists as if the ideology itself will be any better at saving us from our fate than the Republican ideology of feudalism will. Naked ideologies are like so many popular organized religions that promise to somehow "save us from ourselves." I always thought that the idea of a religion is to make you a stronger and better person, one able to face the challenges of life without crumbling. What I seem to find time and time again, however, is that one is not a good person because he or she is a Christian, Jew, or Muslim, but that he or she is a good Christian, Jew, or Muslim because he or she is a good person.
It had been the same until the past few years with our political parties. Now, however, with so many heinous right wing extremists dictating Republican policy and many left wing extremists trying to dictate Democratic policy, many good common sense candidates are often primaried and lost. Democrats are left with too many well meaning candidates with policies that frankly lack credibility, while Republicans seem stuck with literally "evil" policies such as the wanton destruction of the public school system, private for-profit prisons, draconian scapegoat immigration policies, broken international treaties, and loss of American oversight and the respect of foreign leaders.
While it is the Republicans who hypocritically "project" the concept of "fake news," many candidates on the left are careful to gloss over statistics and basic math in their fanciful quest for the elusive "free lunch." On paper, "Medicare for All" looks like a viable "idea," and eventually it may well end up being the only viable option affordable, but not if one ignores the fact that at least one third of every Medicare dollar is wasted on overpriced pharmaceuticals, medical goods, or lab tests. In addition, one reason socialized medicine works in many countries is due to less stringent laws with respect to keeping dead people alive on ventilators for 6-12 months while children die due to lack of adequate medical care and insurance. Before otherwise intelligent candidates advocate "Medicare for All," they need to fumigate the program and delouse those members of Congress in charge of the graft. They also need to talk with Rand Paul who posited the idea of everyone being eligible for membership in some source of group insurance, creating a force that could drastically reduce the inordinate power and influence of insurance companies as well as tempering the influence of all forms of medical providers. Both parties seem reluctant to assemble a legitimate healthcare panel made up of physicians, lawyers, insurers, and various other healthcare providers possessing INFORMED opinions for fear of insulting their favorite lobbies.
"Free College Tuition" is another subject thrown out, with little credibility, to be fought over much like ravenous dogs over raw meat. Don't you think we are "putting the cart before the horse" here? I live in Florida, a state where Republican atrocities are magnified beyond all rational thinking. We have "Stand Your Ground" laws encouraging one person to kill another unnecessarily (almost always a black victim) as a vicarious thrill for Republican legislators who are too cowardly to kill someone for themselves. These very same cowards have instituted a voucher system which blatantly loots funds from the public schools (sure seems unconstitutional to me) to fund private charter schools which receive more money per student than do the public schools. Many of these private charter "schools" receive thousands of dollars to renovate their barns and may never even end up opening their doors as a school! Now, in a flash of blatant "evil," the same legislators propose to steal money raised independently by local municipalities, funds intended for increasing teacher salaries and infrastructure maintenance and instead spread the money wherever the legislators' mob bosses instruct them!
Is there anyone who really believes that Catholics and Jews couldn't afford to fund their private schools if they wanted to? And couldn't rich telEvangelists like pat Robertson and Benny Hinn sell one or two of their mansions to help out their followers a little bit? Remember the Ten Commandments boys and girls of all persuasions in the Florida legislature? Stealing is against the law. Maybe one of you religious zealots could show them the movie if they can't read the BIble.
In other words, I think we ought to worry about primary and secondary schools even before we start making wild promises regarding college. Meanwhile, it may not hurt to do a little research and maybe even remember what college life was all about before offering free tuition to an unfortunately large percentage of students destined to flunk out early, many in a drunken or drug induced stupor. In fact, it wouldn't hurt to ascertain what percentage of major state university students flunk or drop out in their first and second year and are replaced by more mature community college students. What if we started out worrying about bringing back lower interest, deferred student loans before we consider free tuition? What if we required that everyone learn some skill in highschool so that many more students could take part time college classes and work part time, giving them a real feeling of self worth, something so often lacking in scared, uncertain students on their way to dormitories far away from home?
In the end, we need to be willing to consider all sorts of diverse ideas and strategies, but refrain from forcing them on everyone. No matter how progressive or conservative a candidate is, if he or she cannot discuss and recognize just how complex the issues of financing our education system, primary through college, really are, then that candidate needs to be dismissed as nothing more than a quack.
Al Finkelstein, D.O., M Ed. 5/2/19