Yo. Democrats. Listen up.
I was talking to a coworker earlier today. My enlistment runs out in 2007 and I’m not planning on re-enlisting. He asked me why, and I told him it was because I wanted to get involved in politics. He asked what party, and I told him Democrat. He looks all shocked and makes a disapproving noise and says “Well, be sure you don’t attack the military like Democrats do”.
I cleared him up on that, on how many Democrats in politics and in the media have military experience and are prior military, naming off a few, and how so very very few Republicans do, and then I named off some of the prominent Republicans who got deferments or who boldly guarded Texas. Then we talked about the Iraq war, and we both complained about the money that is being wasted here on contractors, and how we should have the military do many of the jobs we contract out. The thing is, he knew that Republicans, especially Bush and Cheney, were making mad cash off the war, and he wasn’t happy about it, but he was still Republican (until he talked to me) simply because he always accepted what he was told: Democrats hate the military, Republicans like the military.
So, there are two things the Democrats can do if they want to get more military Democrats.
Make it clear that they support the military. Detail it, in simple and in complicated terms. Simple fact is, a lot of people in the military believe what they’re told, and what they’re told is that the Republicans are their friends. Friends don’t send friends to drive and die in the desert. We need to clear up that misconception, and the sooner the better. This will help with the Republican military.
For the independents and “there’s no difference” crowd, the Democrats have to work to set themselves apart from the Republicans. They have to provide a clear alternative. I know a lot of moderates say we need to shift more towards the center, well, in America the far right has pulled the country so far in one direction that the so-called “Far left” or “radical left” is the center. We have to make it clear that we are not the corporate shills that the Republicans are, and that we offer a clear alternative. If we have corporate shills and DINOs in the party, we gotta kick them to the curb.
So, across the board, educate, educate, educate. Military members as a whole have a lot of misconceptions about politics, not surprising considering how our attentions tend to be focused on other things, and it is through reasonable and rational informing that we will correct the misconceptions.
The thing that struck me when jabbausaf was recounting his coversation with his co-worker was how familiar it sounded. We’ve all had those conversations, where someone says to us, “Well, yeah, but the Democrats tax and spend.” Or “Well, yeah, but John Kerry was a liar.” And you want to pull your hair out, and you start to argue, and they look at you like it’s just all too much for them to understand. People develop these vague misconceptions because a vague misconception is easier to remember than seven pointed facts, and Republicans have figured that out, and figured out how to push these hazy ideas (“Democrats hate the military.”) out into the general population.
He’s right about offering an alternative. He leaves out my favorite solution to any political problem, make the other guy look worse, but he’s right about making it simple. He’s right about this: Friends don’t send friends to drive and die in the desert.
Go. Read. Learn.