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Monday, July 17, 2017


More than just harsh language

by Tom Sullivan

Still from Aliens (1986). "What the hell are we supposed to use, man, harsh language?"

Something about how the audio-visual content of movies stores in my long-term memory makes it jump out in response to fresh stimuli. Like this scene with the space Marines from Aliens:

Hold that thought.

So a recent comment on social media got under my skin. Likely, the topic was defeating the Republican repeal of Obamacare. Someone was urging friends to write or call their senators to fight repeal. A respondent said it was pointless and/or unnecessary to call Democratic senators. From the tone of the reply, I gathered this was a more-progressive-than-thou progressive.

If they are Democrats, this person wrote, they should already know how I want them to vote. And if they don't, they should lose their seat.

head : desk

Now, the last Democratic congressman who represented me was a Blue Dog. I know. But still a Democrat (80 percent of the time). Ahead of one important vote, I called his local office, told them what I thought, and asked the office manager how her calls were running.

Right wingers were lighting up the phones. Ten to one conservative-to-liberal, she said with an exasperated sigh, asking, "Where are the Democrats?!"

It is a small thing, but it matters. You can't expect your Democratic representatives to fight for you without ammunition. They need those calls, those faxes and emails as tangible evidence of popular support for our positions and to change their minds when they need changing. (Plus, as members of the minority, they need the moral support.) The other team won't be shy about making its presence felt. Congressmen and senators need active support to stiffen their spines and to help them hold their ground when challenged. Hullabaloo readers know this, but not everyone on my social media feed does: If you don't show up to play, you forfeit.

Still from Sands of Iwo Jima (1949).

Really reaching back now. Sands of Iwo Jima, the old John Wayne film. Marines again. Three of them in a foxhole somewhere inland in a firefight with the Japanese. But they are running low on ammunition. Someone needs to fetch more. The layabout of the bunch bails out of the foxhole and runs back to the beach. But after grabbing the ammunition bandoliers, he passes a mortar team in the rear brewing fresh coffee. He asks for a cup, sits down, tips back his helmet, and relaxes to enjoy it. While he is living "the life of Riley," his buddies run out of ammunition. They get overrun and bayoneted.

As we fight passage of Trumpcare, expecting electeds to read your mind and vote as you would want them to won't cut it. Remind friends "sending good energy" won't either. Don't assume your Democratic representatives don't need you actively to supply them with ammunition in the form of calls and massive stacks of letters and faxes.

Because what the hell are they supposed to use, man, harsh language?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Speaking of stacks of faxes. Should you live in AK, NV, OH or WV, your fence-sitting GOP senators in particular might need to hear what you think about Paul Ryan's and Mitch McConnell's "Better" plan to roll back Medicaid and leave millions of Americans uninsured. Over at Howie's place there is some free advice on how to turn individual letters or calls from volunteers on your email list into a lasting impression.