I have been a long-time reader of the Daily Kos and have never created my own diary before. I guess I never had anything worth saying or maybe I was worried that it wouldn't be well received. Reading the headlines these last few months has made me decide that I don't want to watch the death of this country go by without trying to find a solution. So, I decided to write this diary in hopes of creating a conversation that we can all get behind and create a unifying idea of how to undo the damage caused by the years of Ronald Reagan. I'm not talking about his politics or his economic policies. I'm talking about he made most of America view the poor and homeless. One of his most famous quotes,
"You can't help those who simply will not be helped. One problem that we've had, even in the best of times, is people who are sleeping on the grates, the homeless who are homeless, you might say, by choice."He used this quote to defend his administration from charges of callousness on their treatment of the poor and homeless. He encouraged the majority of America to view people on Welfare as shiftless layabouts who do nothing but lay back and collect money off the backs of the government. This is why he enacted the California Welfare Reform Act in 1971. The biggest result of this "reform" was that now the welfare system was transitioned to "workfare", where there was no such thing as a free lunch. Reagan went on to use welfare in his Presidential Campaign to further divide the nation by introducing the concept of the "welfare queen". He gave this quote at speeches all across the country,
"She has eighty names, thirty addresses, twelve Social Security cards and is collecting veteran's benefits on four non-existing deceased husbands. And she is collecting Social Security on her cards. She's got Medicaid, getting food stamps, and she is collecting welfare under each of her names. Her tax-free cash income is over $150,000."Due to this one example, millions of Americans grew up believing that all African-Americans who were on welfare were like this, "eating steak and driving Caddies". It's a stereotype that further served to widen the gap between the 1% and the 99%. His goals were no less than to undo the Great Society programs of the 1960s. But how to do it? How to convince an America that believed in each other and in helping their fellow man that it was in their best interest to not care about that anymore? More below the orange squiggle.
It was simple. You start by bombarding people with talk radio and media that will help to warp their minds. Enter Rush Limbaugh. Who is Rush Limbaugh? Let's be real here, folks. Rush Limbaugh is a man who dropped out of college, was fired from four radio stations, has been divorced multiple times, is severely obese, has drug problems, and is severely insecure. So, with all of that, why is he so successful? He appeals to the bad seed in every human being and pulls it out and nurtures it and helps it grow until it can stand on its own. He was so successful at this that even Ronald Reagan called him
"the number one voice for conservatism in our country."Okay, I can understand that people have a bad streak and he appeals to that, but does that explain how he keeps them? Is his audience full of redneck hillbillies and trailer trash and militia? A little. However, the vast majority of his audience is white men, who are businessmen. You could pass them on the street and not notice anything different about them. But, what about the rest of his 20 million listeners? How does he keep them? Enter Fox News. Fox News, as we all know, is the media wing of Australian media baron Rupert Murdoch, the same Rupert Murdoch being investigated right now for his office hacking into the phones of the Royal Family of England. He created a media news network that panders to Rush Limbaugh's audience and allows them to live in a self-contained bubble of superiority so they can look down on their fellow man without feeling bad about it. Their media network constantly assaults Democratic positions on social issues and routinely gives Republicans a dedicated forum to express their views in a supportive framework that allows no disagreement on their position. This helps unify their audience, essentially turning them into a hive mind of voters who all vote the same way on issues. This is why they still have power and why it is so hard to fight their influence today. Mainstream media has given Republicans a pass on asking the hard-hitting questions that journalism used to demand. Instead, because corporations have reduced the number of media outlets by merging them together, we have less opportunities for our voices to be heard by mainstream America.
So, I ask you this, Daily Kos members. What do we do to turn the tide? How do we reverse the balance and bring back sanity to a country that is slowly going the way of Rome? How do we get people to start viewing the homeless as people and no longer as things? How do we get everyone to realize that the economic policies being enacted are not helping us? That the sequester and austerity are a failed measure?
We need specific ideas. We need bold ideas. Even crazy ideas. I'm for any idea that could help us turn the tide around. Obviously, we're not going to be doing anything crazy, like kill all the billionaires, politicians, lawyers, or bankers. However, we need bold ideas that go beyond "elect better politicians" or "start more petitions". It's a fundamental question that most likely will have a lot of answers, but we need to decide which answers we want to support and move forward with those answers. Right now, we are floundering and the only ones getting ahead are conservatives. We keep fighting this battle and fighting this battle. However, we aren't thinking ahead. We just keep reacting to each crisis, instead of planning ahead. We have two excellent Senators right now who are for the people: Senator Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. We have Democrats in Congress who believe like we do, but there's not enough of them. Obviously, we have to elect more. There are over a hundred progressive groups throughout the country. There are over a thousand conservative groups in this country, all with large financial backing. If we develop a plan of attack that has approval from our members, perhaps we can take that idea to other progressive groups and get them to see the benefits behind it, and join forces with us. Then, we can be unified. Everyone knows the more people you have, the stronger a force you are.
My idea for this is something I can do, just on my own. This will not include the work I do for groups. I'm going to create a Podcast. As often as I can, this podcast will attempt to get interviews from progressives throughout the country; not just Senators and Congressmen, but Governors, Mayors, regular business owners, and even common citizens. This is phase one. This will help introduce the fact to people watching the podcast that throughout the country, there are people who think just like them and are in their same social or economic circles. This will help them realize that the policies being introduced are not just created for the poor or "the takers" and will benefit them as well. Phase two is to produce segments showcasing segments of social injustice and the inequality gap between the 1% and the 99%. Not only will this prove to any of the well-off people who watch this show that there is a dramatic gap between the two, it will also help galvanize the poor and middle-class into action, by inciting them to start their own petitions, protests, or by voting for their own policies to support their beliefs. As any scientist worth his salt knows, while you may have science on your side, unless you can sway their hearts and minds, you don't have a chance of winning their support. The third phase is to raise awareness of racial injustice, derision of equal rights, and instances of these violations by Republicans throughout the country. If you want to make yourself effective, you have to constantly hammer on people when they do something wrong or say something racist. It's like when you constantly discipline children every time they do something wrong, because otherwise they would never learn. If you want to prevent violations by the police, such as being shot for running away or being shot simply for knocking on someone's door while being African-American, you need to bring this up in the social conscious every day. You need to channel the same disgust and outrage that Rush Limbaugh and Fox News bring to their programs and use that for the right reasons. You also highlight stories of people doing the right thing to reintroduce the concept that America is a community and not a country of isolated people. We are a melting pot and we have to remember we are a community, which helps bring us closer together. Finally, the last phase will be to introduce segments highlighting the poor and homeless, bringing them up close and personal to the viewers, and documenting their stories of how they live and how they became poor, showing that it wasn't just "bad luck", like Republicans claim. This will help to humanize them and show them as people and change them from being an "it" to being a "her" or "he". Studies have shown that once you view the homeless as people, it is much harder to criticize them for trying to survive. Then, you close with a moving quote from an inspirational leader, and hopefully, we have a successful movement to change the way we think.
There will be more on this idea to come later, when it is fully fleshed out. I am going to run a campaign on either Kickstarter or Indiegogo to help finance the podcast for the interview costs for travel expenses and such. In the meantime, if anyone has any other ideas for how to put the country back on the right path, please, I'm all ears. We need help.