Monday, January 27, 2014

Old Geezers Should Communicate with Young Folks

[from billlifka, posted with his prior permission]
A few days ago, I heard an excellent talk by a local political guru of the Conservative persuasion. He was offering ideas how ordinary folks of his political persuasion might help the Republican Party do better in the coming election. The bottom line was that he recommended the old geezers in the audience should start communicating with young folks between the ages of fifteen and thirty.

His principal argument was that, beyond the age of thirty, people tend not to change much from what they have become and what they believe in at that point in their lives. Also, he argued that people in the target age range were open to considering new ideas, perhaps even eager to try new things. He cautioned that these strange young folks should be approached cautiously, even deviously, because if they knew an exchange of political ideas was the goal, they’d be turned off immediately.

I suspect he was right in all respects, at least for the majority of young adults. I’ve been following his recommended practice for a number of years, at least the basic idea. One of the great joys of my life is being able to learn new things that change my life even as I approach the end of life. I hope it will be the same for you.

As to a devious approach, it’s not like me not to say (or write) just what’s on my mind. Most folks who read what I write would judge it to be political, yet I argue that it may seem so to them but I am really writing about good governance, good goals and good process. If it turns out that the same people in office keep governing poorly, have troublesome objectives and use questionable means to achieve those objectives, it’s to be expected they will come off poorly in my writings.

Long before now you should have recognized that I prefer to focus on national issues I believe to be of greatest importance to the nation’s well-being, the elements of those issues, what history (should have) taught us about optional ways of addressing those issues and, usually, suggesting what I believe to be the best options.

As I do this, some people stand out as bad guys and, of late, these have all belonged to the left wing of the Democratic Party. I’m sorry about that because I really want our leaders to be outstanding leaders no matter which political party they call home. If they are not, then I am going to be against that party until they start running competent men and women for office who focus on the critical issues with honesty, coherence and perseverance.

I’ve never wanted anyone to vote for my preferred candidates just because they were my choice. What I want is for the overwhelming majority of voters to know the truth about main issues and how opposing candidates stand on those issues. I’ll never get what I want because the majority of voters don’t take time to become knowledgeable and the majority of politicians do their best to mislead the voters.

I pointed out precarious national and international conditions and the critical importance of competent leaders being elected. I emphasized that the vote of the young adults would determine the outcome. I was correct. 2014 is another critical election year. By now you should know how much your future has been adversely affected by the outcomes of elections for which you’ve been eligible voters.

For the record, I'm a registered Republican but, under that umbrella, a Conservative with a few Libertarian tendencies. I was a “cradle Democrat” and remained so until the current age of my oldest grandchild. I was an ardent fan of the Chicago Cubs who did manage to capture two pennants before they forgot how to play the game.

These days, rooting for the Republicans seems like rooting for the Cubs. Both teams have talented players, know the principles of the sport, play like gentlemen but seem not to understand the objective is to beat the opponents. It may be the absence of a good manager and an ossified front office. Maybe the players should mutiny.

Currently, 31% of the voting population considers itself to be Democratic, 25% considers itself Republican and 42% considers itself Independent. The Republican % is the lowest it’s been in modern times. It’s no wonder that Democratic political tactics are designed to solidify its base and to infuriate Republicans.

Rather than fighting the “enemy”, prominent Republicans yell at each other while elbowing members of their own team into less desirable vantage points from which to launch a campaign for the big enchilada. Tea partiers are similar to Republicans in many ways except they are mouthier and more fed up, but still mostly nice people. They have no effective central control which is another thing they’ve in common with Republicans.

Independents are growing in number, mostly cutting into the Republican fan base. The not-at-all independent media blames this on Republican ineptitude but a goodly part comes from people being tired of much political talk and little effective political results. While the Democrats are more guilty of that, their fan base expects them to be obnoxious and ineffective at governing; it’s part of their appeal.

It’s bad enough for Republicans to lose those Independents who used to show up for their bigger games but now many Republican fans avoid the big ones and hardly any buy season tickets. As for the younger fans, forget it; they enjoy the raucous Democratic play and can’t understand the headier Republican approach to the game.

Republicans needn’t play Democratic ball to win. It’s not necessary to throw at the batter’s head or slide into second with spikes high. However, barreling over a catcher blocking home plate is admirable; the runner has a right to the baseline. Forget longing for a star hitter with 50 HR’s a season and 500 K’s. They need single hitters with high batting averages, fielders who hit the cut-off man, pitchers who credit the fielding for their low ERA’s and runners who follow the coaching signs. It’s a team game, dummies, not a boxing match to determine a single champion!

This might be amusing if not for the serious matter of America’s heading for a cliff without a capable government. There’s a World Series each year but an America only once in 8,000 years of history Mike Huckabee is a good guy and was a viable candidate in 2008. He made the same main point as this essay, but with less colorful imagery. Unfortunately, he played to the stands allowing partisan “sportwriters” a chance for another “war on women” tirade. His lesser point could have been made by citing the Justice Dept’s war on the Little Sisters of the Poor; he would have been playing a winning game. There are Republicans who can do that.


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