Being philosophical, being right, is simply not enough! Without being practical, the road to ruin is paved with good intentions and strewn with "bodies" of far too many of our best men and women figuratively and literally sacrificed for a "good cause." I supported Bernie Sanders and I still do, but as honest and forthright as he is, as just as his cause is, he was simply not well enough prepared to dethrone Hillary from her predetermined coronation. He had his righteous issues, but did not always present them in perspective. A successful single payer healthcare system presumes delousing Medicare of rampant parasites in Congress along with their pet lobbies who transmit those parasites. Implementation of a clean single payer system can save businesses literally hundreds of billions of dollars every year! Even a modified ACA and all other plans couldn't even lie and predict similar savings every decade! Package this fact with a plan to tie lower corporate taxes to companies that pay higher wages because they no longer need to pay for healthcare and call it a long term, practical plan that can be presented to both employers and employees.
If lowering corporate taxes for participating companies insults our Democratic Party's arbitrary philosophical hatred of corporations and love of regressive taxes, then it's time to revisit our lack of perspective. By corporations demeaning their dependence on workers and workers doing the same to corporations, are not both "biting the hand that feeds them?" Meanwhile, I can guarantee that if a legitimate single payer system as described above were to be evaluated by the Congressional Budget Office, the results would be startling and an outright embarrassment to Republican lawmakers.
Another impractical issue for which neither Bernie nor Hillary properly prepared, is paying for a college education. Hillary, quite simply would make college loans simpler and cheaper. Bernie would make college free. Both, however would still send millions and millions of unprepared or unqualified young men and women to college where a huge percentage would get drunk, stoned, and summarily flunk out. And, unfortunately, Bernie did not mention many of the reasons for the success of free college tuition in other countries. Students in so many other countries have to pass competency tests before advancing to academic high schools and college. Many students with aptitudes for various skills are diverted to trade and skilled education. The students in their colleges and universities are more motivated as a group than they are in the United states. It is no coincidence that the best college students in this country are so often from abroad. If Bernie and Democrats really want to "sell" free college tuition, we can't take the "shortcut." We first need to discuss the necessity for changing our education system into a more practical and functional one. Otherwise we are ceding our future to pseudo educators such as Betsy DeVos and Michelle Rhee who share a sordid history of exploiting children for profit in the form of vouchers and corrupt private charter schools.
The last issue to be discussed is our party's failure despite all of our ranting and raving, to actually explain to the average citizen the significance of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision. It is far more important than the various issues of abortion, gay marriage and whether church owned private schools are entitled to the same state funding for playground repair as secular private schools. It's main importance does not even lie in the fact that it so proudly enhances our already established "pay for play" campaign finance racket. It is the fact that, as I have said so many times before to deaf ears, it grants First Amendment protection to unlimited, secret political donations as political opinions, but does not grant the very same protection to the voter trying to express the same exact opinion at the polls!!!! In other words: (1) It means that a voter actually has to pay a candidate to earn First Amendment protection, the very same "right" to protection that he does not have when he votes for the candidate? And (2) that's why state governments can find so many ways to keep targeted groups of citizens from voting in large numbers by simply making it harder for specific subsets of voters to vote. On the other hand, If voting were actually protected as free speech (AKA "freedom of expression"), then anything that makes it harder to vote would thus automatically need to be scrutinized and eliminated as a violation of the First Amendment. Get it? Somehow, "conservatives" and even "liberals" on the Supreme Court didn't get it! Somehow, the ACLU didn't get it!
Meanwhile why don't we ask part time libertarian Rand Paul if he gets it. Rand, as one of the only Republicans still even pretending to have a conscience, did you know that the "right" of free speech doesn't extend to voters? According to your Supreme Court (apparently not ours) it's not one of our "God given" rights in this country. In fact, according to your godfather, Antonin Scalia, our Constitution doesn't specifically protect the general right to vote at all! So, if voting isn't actually protected by the First Amendment as expression of opinion, guess what; it's really not protected at all! What's more, your robotic vote for Neil Gorsuch might qualify you for deletion from even the part time roll of honorable libertarians.
As for serious Democrats, without a spokesperson and with no coherent message except to our own "true believers," by flitting from issue to issue, our party will not be able to sustain its influence. Contrary to popular belief, as shown earlier, our concerns regarding healthcare, education, the right to vote as well as making a living are not separate issues and do not impact only "true believers." Consider this little story:
I know this "pain in the neck" guy who earned a bachelor's degree in philosophy. In a stormy undergraduate career, he was told countless times that he was too practical to be a pre-med major, an English major and finally, a philosophy major. He was directed to the School of Education where he chose to perform a "practicum," a fancy word for actually teaching young adults, graduate students and children. His choices included either practical experience or a thesis to be gleaned from someone else's ideas, including many who had never taught. Nonetheless, under the guidance of some wonderful professors he earned his Master's Degree in "Philosophy of Education." After teaching in preschool, grade school, junior high, college and finally in medical school, he found that sometimes it's not how much you know that counts, but how well you can use your knowledge and how well you can impart it to others. In fact, the thing that he found most amazing was the number of brilliant philosophers he had studied whose work is still unappreciated to this day, simply because they lacked the skill to even explain how one ties a shoelace. Taking a stand and explaining it to those who already agree is not the same as explaining it to those who do not understand and therefore do not agree. What's more, falling on one's sword may show just how deeply one believes, but probably won't explain how to tie that shoelace.
Allen Finkelstein 4/8/17
(Article changed on April 11, 2017 at 19:33)