The question above stems from my obsessive reading of (a) Twitter and (b) readers’ comments to the Daily News and the New York Times — especially the Times.
The general tone is: “What are the Democrats doing about [fill in your blank]!!! Nothing! That’s what they’re doing.”
Great yelling about how Senate Democrats can’t let the GOP walk all over them about Trump’s next Supreme Court nomination. “They let McConnell control them over Merrick Garland!” And “The GOP knows how to power play and they run rings all over the Democrats.” (Oops, forgot the !!!!!!!)
Virtually everyone who’s yelling slams the “decrepit” Democratic Party itself for making a mess of the 2016 elections. I’m getting tired of reminding everyone it is the GOP that is febrile and disintegrating: despite a heap of semi-credible presidential candidates, the GOP mismanaged so badly they wound up with Trump as their nominee. (Oh, and the GOP does not have super delegates. Could that be one reason for their incompetence and lack of grown-up strength in their party? You want to argue with me? Sure. Here’s my counterargument: Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump.)
And within this coterie of complaints comes the “Democratic leaders are too old and they’ve been in there too long and they should step aside and let the younger ones take over.”
Yeah, well, I’m not going to use the word you think I might but will say this: when did age in years automatically mean a disconnect with political wisdom, historical memory, intelligence, knowledge, thick skin and competence? Or, let me put it this way: when did youth automatically correlate with political wisdom, historical memory, intelligence, thick skin, knowledge and competence?
It seems to me that many of the people who complain loudest don’t understand the way government works, and certainly do not understand the Senate.
Among the ways in which this Senate works: a party in the majority can do things; a party in the minority really can’t. There are no dirty rules or tricks Democratic Senators can use — even if they were so willing and I’m glad to say they’re not. They can fight, yes, but they can’t somehow become the majority when they’re not.
I’m not even sure what the complainers are suggesting when they say, “They’ve got to fight!!” Are they suggesting fisticuffs in the Senate? Murder? And no matter how satisfying either would be to us constituents, how would either down a SCOTUS nominee?
Lately I’ve been replying to complaints about how the Dems are doing nothing, have no policies they’re advancing, by saying what I’m going to say here:
You can follow individual Democratic congresspeople on their websites, or you can find out how they’re reacting to events, sponsoring events, putting forth policies and legislation by following any number of them on Twitter.
It’s easy and it’s free.
Open a Twitter account. You do not have to write tweets, you don’t have to make yourself known. You don’t have to use your real name. All you need to do is select people you want to follow.
Then, every time you go on Twitter you’ll see tweets from people you’re following. Often you’ll see responses to tweets from people you wish you’d never heard of, tweets that otherwise might sicken you. But you don’t have to get sick! The intrepid people you follow have cast iron stomachs and will take on that burden of responding themselves.
When you follow people on Twitter, you get a sort of short-form debate. Mostly, you learn what everybody is doing out there. Warning: it just might de-cynicize you.
In the next post I’m going to give you a list of some of the Democratic political figures I follow, with their Twitter info. You can start with this group or not — it’s up to you. Some of the people I follow are, of course, New Yorkers, because I am. You’ll probably want to add people in your political arena to your list.
You might start simply, by following your two senators and one congressperson. It won’t take much time, it costs nothing and you’ll find out what, if anything, they’re doing. You can talk to them, too: you can “like” what they’ve posted, or comment about it.
And if you don’t like what they’re doing or not doing, you can vote against them in the next election.