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The Politics of Compassion: Short Version, Part III


Note to the reader: I have been working on this idea for a long time and have posted it twice, this last June and August, As The Politics of Compassion, Parts I and II.  It is to save the Democratic Party and win the elections for a change, then get a supermajority in Congress.  I wanted to re-establish the Democrats, because they are the most likely to show compassion in the allocation of the resources at hand.  By compassion, I mean the Buddhist concept.

To recapitulate for emphasis: the Democratic Party needs a platform, propaganda, and voter turnout.  These three legs of an election program are all critical to democratic success.

Fight for our legal rights

We will start by assuming an equal playing field but if the leadership of the Democratic Party learns that, for any reason, a level playing field is not available, special tactics must be introduced.  Should gerrymandering be present, or active attempts at voter suppression, these must be dealt with by lawyers expert in these fields.  When there are thugs beating up people in the street, physical force by protesters trained in street brawling should be enlisted.  If the paper ballot is being corrupted by computer malware then expert hackers should be employed.

The Democratic Party Platform

The first leg of the Party should be its platform.  This is most important because it is, after all, what we are fighting for.  The platform should be egalitarian, democratic, and oriented towards the human rights of the individual member of the Party (and indeed the rights of all people) , particularly when the member is discriminated against because of color or gender (or gender preference, for that matter.)  The platform should support strong central and state governments (local governments too) that collect taxes according to ability to pay up to, say, 50% of a high-earning individual’s income, but no more than half his income could be taxed away (a sop to those who fear the Roosevelt-Eisenhower days of 70% taxes.)  When pressed, the Party can point out that the vast majority of the democratically voting population stands to benefit by higher taxes on the 1%, and economic studies have shown the economy to be stimulated significantly by higher taxes when fairly collected.  In addition, we should say that the burden of taxes should fall on those with the greatest ability to pay.  Then sometimes the IRS has to be militarized.  No, just kidding.

One of the problems that low income taxes on the wealthy related to the poor cause is exaggeration of wealth inequality.  Low taxes enhance inequality.  High levels of inequality are associated with social unrest and civil rebellion and that is bad.  The point is that the very poorest members of society desperately need some sort of social safety net to protect them from becoming homeless, with nothing to lose, and liable to throw their lives away in some desperate, violent act of protest.  So taxes must, at least protect these members of society from their circumstances with a roof over their heads, a bed, a hot meal, and a job to go to.

Central and peripheral governments

These strong central governments will be oriented towards problems that affect the nation as a whole, particularly foreign affairs.  At the same time, the federal government must have departments that embody the concepts listed in the Preamble to the Constitution in order to implement attempts to manage those problems.  In addition, such things that already exist in some form such as a Department of Highways and Bridges should be included and should be oriented towards coordination of state efforts, supervision of the awarding of federal grant money, and so on.  Peripheral governments will be oriented towards infrastructure maintenance and development; local policing; housing the homeless; local emergency planning; fire and medical services; and other strictly local problems.  Sometimes it will be necessary to change our current government in fairly small ways, to add services for the homeless for example.

One of the canards of the Republican Party has always been that we have too much government, it should be shrunk and simplified, it is taking aways our Rights, and so on.  Not to say that they are wrong, but we do have significantly less government than the European, or other civilized countries, with the exception that we seem to have many more men in prison than any other country.  As Democrats we should be disturbed by this and in favor of the rehabilitation of the criminal and the protection of his rights (but not at the expense of his fellow citizens.)  Drug treatment, humane confinement, parole, and the provision of jobs with living wages to ex-prisoners should be priorities of a Democratically-led penal system.

A necessary component of government will be an active Inspector General in each and every major department of government.  Only regular and careful internal inspection can ensure that the departments are not wasteful of funds, do not show unfair preferences, and do not create an atmosphere of bribery or corruption.

Current deficiencies in the system

The Democratic Party has a platform but it is probably not well-known to voters.  Elections have been about the politician, not about his plans for his office.  Revision of the platform to make it simpler and clearer is important to the development of a plan for winning the election.  Most people don’t realize that they are voting for principles of human equality, fair play, and support for everyone.  They think that, in voting for Democrats, they are voting for “tax and spend” or rights for minorities with whom they are not connected– since the majority of voters are still white and privileged in some way.  White women seem to show distinct attitudes of privilege even though they are still restricted by lower wages than white men.  In the last election, 53% of white women voted for Don the Con.

The platform must make it clear that the principles of fair taxation and the need for redistribution of a portion of the nation’s income– a portion that everyone can afford to contribute.  Currently, taxation takes away a larger proportion of the poor person’s income than of the wealthy person’s.  This is not fair.  Wealthy people should contribute their fair share towards the maintenance of the state: infrastructure, administration, and support of health, education, and food and housing.  The wealthy are disproportionately greater users of the resources needed by all people, for example, the air, which they use for their private jets to take them wherever they want to go.  In addition, the wealthy take up a larger proportion of the policeman’s time in guarding them and their houses.  So for them to say they don’t need the government is hypocritical.

At the same time, the platform must support human equality and freedom.  The country has come a long way in a very short time.  Gay marriage has just been recognized as legal recently and not everyone agrees with the Supreme Court on this.  So human equality and human rights are things that still need to be fought for.

Democratic propaganda

Democratic propaganda is traditional but now needs to place an emphasis on new internet-based methods of targeting and the production of new, short items such as six-second videos that will fit on social media, photos with pithy sayings, publication of news that is unbiased and points out Republican-caused weaknesses in the economy and incidents of discrimination, and on and on.

By “internet-based methods” I refer to the Republican use of Cambridge Analytica with Russian help to develop targeted lists of people who were sent specific types of advertising based on their profiles.  Perhaps I should use “alleged” in the previous sentence, but I don’t think so.

Propaganda must be factual because there is no advantage in repeating obvious lies.  If only factual information is spread, the listeners will gradually come to trust the source better than the enemy’s source.

Voter Turnout

Turning out the voter is a critical part of the process– it cannot be ignored if winning is contemplated.  Using targeted voter lists to determine, and verify that every person has an opportunity to vote, local party organization should determine if they can provide necessary transportation.  It may be economical to hire a bus to take groups of people who are contacted beforehand and express a need for transportation (or else the local party member has determined that they probably have a need, see also the targeted voter lists.)  In fact, in some urban areas, it may be possible to hire a bus that will take almost anybody to the polls and provide propaganda on the bus.

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