Guest View | Jim Carl: Give us a reason

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Who’s going to save us? The Democrats? We’re told we should Vote Blue, No Matter Who. Seriously? Vote for who? The specimen Democratic primary election ballot shows they can’t even field a team.

Jackson County primary voters and, thus, general election voters will find no candidates for state senator in the 58th or 59th districts, no candidate to represent them in the general assembly from the 115th or 118th districts, no candidate for regional superintendent of schools for Franklin, Johnson, Massac or Williamson Counties, no candidate for county board in District 1 and no candidate for judge of the circuit court 5th judicial circuit. Additionally, primary voters in 30 precincts will find no candidate listed.

I assume the reason for this is that no one stepped up to run. But, isn’t it the job of the party leadership to recruit candidates to run for election? If the problem is that candidates are scared off by the lack of financial resources, why aren’t the state and national party committees stepping in to help?

I suspect that the argument would be that they don’t want to waste their money on what they call “red districts” or counties. If that is their reasoning, we’re doomed. They are conceding huge swaths of the country, permanently. In so doing, they are allowing the politics of the country to move continually rightward, with no hope of the pendulum swinging back, at least at the ballot box. The Democrats have abandoned their advocacy for the poor, they’ve abandoned the working class and now, apparently, they’ve abandoned any intent to obtain elective political power.

Given how the system is rigged against any new political parties, this country has a duopoly consisting of a right of center party and an increasingly fascist party. Both will probably object to my characterization, but today I’m focusing on the Democrats. They have, through their words and actions, helped the Republicans move the country rightward for the last 30 to 35 years. I may not agree with anything they do or stand for, but Republicans are clear about who they claim to be: conservatives. Some, like Trump, even admit to being nationalists. No Democratic candidate, in a generation, has proclaimed himself a liberal. No, they began stealing the word “progressive” which had, and has, represented those they left behind: the New Deal/civil liberties/environmental/anti-war/anti-poverty activists. But, what is the Democrats current political philosophy? Do they have one, beyond political careerism and crony capitalism?

We were told that the election of 2020 was the most important in our history. If so, one would have thought there would have been a sense of urgency about passing legislation, in the first weeks and months of 2021. We were told that Biden had to be the nominee because he could uniquely work with Republicans to get things done. We were told we had to give money to elect Democratic senators from Georgia, because that would give Democrats a Senate majority, counting the vice president. Nothing. No minimum wage increase, no voting rights, no substantial climate action.

Now, we’re told we must vote harder in 2022. Everything will be different if more Democrats are elected. I have a question: how many more do they need? Ten more, to make it 60? What about Sinema and Manchin? Without 62 Democrats, we’ll we be told, “sorry, we still can’t overcome the Republicans’ filibuster”?

While the national Democratic leadership spends its political and financial energy trying to defeat actual progressives in primaries from Ohio to Texas, two unfamiliar names appear on the ballot for the 12th congressional district and we can assume the winner will get next to no support, in their campaign against Bost. Meanwhile, the party is just conceding seats in the General Assembly.

The country and state face the lingering effects of the Great Recession, the continuing horror of the corona virus pandemic, catastrophic results of climate change, anti-intellectualism and creeping fascism. Who’s going to save us? Vote Blue, No Matter Who? Why? Give us a reason. ACT!

Jim Carl is one of those people who came to Southern Illinois to go to college, fell in love with the place and never left. He is retired after serving for 30 years as a civil servant and administrator at SIU. A lifelong human rights activist, he is a homebrewer, a beekeeper and lives in Makanda with his wife and two cats.

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Region: Southern,Editorial,City: Carbondale,Region: Carbondale,Opinion

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June 10, 2022 at 12:04AM

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