On Direction

Since I (really) hate pollsters who call just as I put the first fork of Marilyn’s hot dinner in my mouth, I rarely answer, so when I was sent an online poll just recently by one of our Congresswomen, I responded.

Many of you know I spent over forty years in information technology handling data, creating polls and class evaluations, and analyzing the data. It’s a complex subject. I know a biased poll when I see it. In my opinion, this most recent survey did not mean to be biased, but it made a common assumption–that our lives and voting habits have a single focus. Yes, in some (sad) cases, voters cast their ballot based on whether or not the candidate, regardless of their criminality, past history, or marital status (or lack there-of), opposed abortion, or gun rights, got rid of the immigrants, or promised to fix that dam at the end of town. Most intelligent voters are smarter than that–about 30% are not. The smart ones know that despite slick (and expensive) ads to the contrary, politicians are all too often self-serving and will say anything to get elected and their hands on those campaign contributions–until they get caught. Then it’s always someone else’s fault (even throwing their wife or mistress under the bus). But I digress.

This online poll asked me to prioritize five different concerns.

  • The Environment
  • The Economy
  • Healthcare
  • Immigration
  • Crime and violence

While the poll did give me a (very) little space to comment on why I prioritized these issues, I felt it did not adequately reflect what I think about them. Each of these is an important issue. Of course, several were left out: Money in politics, human rights abuses, voter rights, and more, but that’s the fodder for other articles.

The point I’m trying to make here is that sometimes Congressmen (and women) assume we’re one-issue voters and Congress should focus on the most pressing (in our opinion) of these issues. Some of these concerns, like the environment, seem like long-term problems that could be put on the back-burner and dealt with later. I don’t agree. We need to aggressively deal with climate change now–of course, it may be too late, but we do need to press hard to prepare for the inevitable. Other issues like healthcare seem more pressing–more central to the lives of Americans from all walks of life. Thankfully, I’m hearing of more discussions of a single-payer “Medicare for All” plan (let’s hope they don’t call it Trump Care). But immigration is tearing the economy apart. Crops rot in the fields and hang on the trees unharvested, buildings remain unbuilt, lawns and gardens left untended and all because of the racist bent to “protect” white jobs. In the same sweep to rid the country of “unwanted” people of color, hardworking doctors, physicists, and other professionals who have lived and contributed to our society (and paid billions in taxes) are also being deported while their children are still being held captive by an uncaring, inept, and corrupt for-profit immigration system. So yes, this too is important.

I will not go through each of these “priorities” one-by-one to justify why they should be at the top of the list. If I could, I would have said: “All of the Above” in the survey. We, Congress, needs to address them all. When I worked in the IT industry, and now as an author, I often have to multitask–working on an editorial one minute, a new chapter the next, and cleaning out the cat box the next. All of my tasks have to be done–some sooner than later, but they all need to be done. Don’t make me draw a verbal picture of an untended cat box.

Given the wide swath of destruction created by the Trump administration and the Republicans in Congress bent on getting what they can, while they can (and they know their time is short), the Democrats have considerable work to do. What we voters won’t settle for is the same old compromise and acquiesce for the sake of harmony BS we’ve heard in the past–half-measures that maintain the status quo.

We as a nation have a lot of hard work and hard decisions to make in the next few years and much of it can’t wait on “priorities.” There is too much at stake. Don’t let Congress get away with “focusing” on single issues when there are so many important, critical issues to tackle.



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