Issues Separation Anxiety Disorder – v2.0

Issues Separation Anxiety Disorder - a Republican affliction

Issues Separation Anxiety Disorder – a Republican affliction

Reading time – 70 seconds  .  .  .

Boyhood pal Frank Levy offered a comment to last Sunday’s blog, Issues Separation Anxiety Disorder, focused on how Republicans work to divide Americans. His question is worthy of consideration and comment. Here is what he wrote:

I don’t have a comment, only a question – what is it about the 158 richest families in America that the Republicans feel they must build their entire economic policy around what they think these people want? I get that they help them win elections every 4 years, but in reality these families provide nothing of substance to individual Republicans, their friends, or their families.

In order to address Frank’s question, let’s separate Americans into two groups: politicians plus very wealthy people; and regular, non-super wealthy Americans.

For politicians and very wealthy people there is a plain and simple, very powerful system in place. Elections are hideously expensive, making the groveling for money from people who have lots of 220px-Serpiente_alquimicait consume 50% of the time and energy of politicians. The largess of those money baggers makes politicians beholden to them, so politicians do their bidding. The donors get regulations and legislation they want to maximizes their profits, laws like those that: cripple the regulatory power of the EPA, allowing ever greater air, water and land pollution; severely limits the ability of consumers to sue corporations for the harm they cause; and the absence of limitations of who should be able to own firearms, allowing for the continuation of our national massacre. The wealthy people then use a little of their enlarged stash of cash to fund the campaigns of their next hand-picked politicians. It’s a toxic cycle of life thing. But, of course, you knew all that.

The second group of people is composed of ordinary, non-wealthy Americans. The question that puzzles so many is why these folks vote against their own interests – that’s Frank’s question. There are many answers and, interestingly, numerous studies have shown that large numbers of Americans identify with very wealthy people and believe that they will be in their ranks some day. While that clearly is not going to happen for nearly any ordinary American, those aspirations provide powerful blinders and people act irrationally – i.e., against their own interests.

The larger reason, though, for Americans voting for those who, ”  .  .  .  provide nothing of substance to individual Republicans, their friends, or their families,” is what I detailed in the preceding blog. Republicans appeal to hate and fear and that drives people to the polls to vote for those who stimulate them with their “scare ’em and save ’em” tactic. That kind of manipulation is used to sell underarm deodorant, security systems, investment services and, yes, politicians.

Listen to the words of consumer commercials (ignore the visuals) and you’ll hear the appeal to fear. Listen to a Republican running for office and you’ll hear the same thing.

So, to answer Frank’s question, there are three powerful responses that lapdog politicians running for office create as they manipulate ordinary Americans with their calls to hate and fear and get them to vote against their own interests.

First, the politicians tell those angry people that they’re right. That’s very gratifying. This has the additional benefit of letting voters feel a bit in control, this in stark contrast to their ongoing sense of powerlessness in their lives.

Second, voters get to vent their frustrations. That feels good.

Third, and most powerful, most persuasive, they imply a promise of freedom from fear. That they never deliver is quite beside the point. That the lapdog politicians stoke fear and hatred in order to get elected – courtesy of the financial muscle of their big donors – is the point.


Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

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3 Responses to Issues Separation Anxiety Disorder – v2.0
  1. dominick Reply

    My answer would be that the wealthiest families are providing substance to themselves, their families and other wealthy friends in business in the form of tax breaks and less regulation for their enterprises. They have little interest in how any others are treated. Politicians making laws for them are often making those laws for themselves as well, especially at the federal level of our government.

    Thus, individuals who are wealthy are the primary benefactors, along with their families and wealthy friends. Moreover, politicians who have been obedient lapdogs for their donors can actually earn many times over their former government salaries as consultants and their lobbyists when they leave office.

    However, wealthy individuals are not responsible for any tax laws or regulations to benefit themselves. Only individuals elected to our executive and legislative branches of government are responsible for this. Whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats is irrelevant – their personal integrity is the issue. No one is holding a gun to their heads or threatening to kill their families if they refuse to accept bribes from wealthy donors.

    Our two corrupt political parties have been doing a good job convincing voters that somehow they are against the influence of money in politics. In the meantime, they solicit and accept millions form business investors to write laws for them. Apparently, even Bernie Sanders accepts and promotes this disingenuous idea and advocates that Congress pass a Constitutional amendment to overthrow Citizen’s United. Is he a victim of political propaganda along with most voters in American – I hope not, but we will never know.

    That is to say, why would Bernie, or anyone else, expect the people who regularly take bribes to amend our US Constitution to stop their own immoral behavior? Every executive and legislature in the country from the President and Congress on down can stop taking money from anybody immediately. No Constitutional amendment or any other law has to be repealed or changed – just their personal behavior. Is Bernie and other well-meaning political activists so brainwashed that they still demonize the wealthy 1% as an oligarchy, while an even lesser oligarchy of politicians rule over our lives. It’s time to stop blaming those who offer bribes, instead of those who willfully solicit and willingly accept them.

  2. Frank Levy Reply

    Jack – I was hoping the answer to my question would provide some sign that all is well with the world. Instead you gave me/us another dose of reality. Thanks.

    So – here is a solution to the politics/campaign/big money intersection. All election campaigning, especially the “debates” would be monitored and moderated by the League of Women voters or other similar organization. During the debates candidates would be asked to explain and defend their published positions on specific topics. Each debate would be on a different subject. This would force the candidates to be more complete in their positions and would allow the moderators to fact check the various positions before the debates. Candidates would be allowed to question each other but only on specific facts. Campaigns would be limited to 3 months prior to the primaries and the general election. Campaign advertising of a candidate could not mention any other candidate and would be limited to statements about that candidate’s policies. Campaigns would be funded from a general government fund. Candidates would be prohibited from seeking outside funding. I realize this is a dream, but, hey, everybody has to have a dream.

    • dominick Reply

      There is no need to dream, Frank, we have the technology available to make suggestions like yours a reality. But first we must elect honest and accountable people to office by vetting them first, instead of listening to their election promises.