So—Elizabeth Warren released her very progressive K-12 Education Plan yesterday. As soon as it was released, I got a text with a link to the plan, which I read, top to bottom. Just as I have read the other K-12 education plans.
I get texts about all of Warren’s plans, as soon as they’re developed. I assume this is because I donated to Warren. Actually, I have donated to six candidates this year (those tiny little donations that candidates claim they treasure). One of them has dropped out, but I gave money to two men and four women. Warren is not my preferred candidate—although she’s certainly in my top three. She just seems to be the one with the target on her back. Or, more likely, her head.
I get plenty of email and texts from all of these candidates, some more than others. I delete the money requests, but I read the plans. Because I am interested in what candidates see as political priorities.
Not that any of them, individually, has the political muscle to leverage a full-blown transformation of public education, a totally free national health program, tuition-less college and cancelling student debt. I am a mature, well-informed citizen who pays attention to politics. I’ve known better than to vote for the candidate with the most tempting promises since the 1970s.
That doesn’t mean that policy briefs don’t matter. They certainly do. But could we please stop doing line-by-line comparisons of campaign platforms, looking for miniscule differences? Let’s look for the highlights, the goals and principles of good governance– and more important, the smarts and stamina of who endorsed them.
The fight for what we really get (or don’t get) comes later. Much later. The issues and sub-issues will be hammered out, one by one, in the 2021 Congress. And it would be a shame if we weren’t on the same page then, when it really does matter. Anybody notice how the make-up of Congress is shaping the news these days? Let’s put some attention there.
I was working on another—probably better—blog this morning. I took a break to look at the ongoing conversation on social media. And it was beyond discouraging.
- There was the Tulsi Gabbard, Russian Asset, mess.
- There was Five Thirty-Eight reminding us that it’s not so much who’s ahead in the polls as who voters DON’T want.
- There was yet another recycled piece on Jacobin about Bernie Bros being a total myth, and castigating Democratic candidates for not publicly supporting political prisoners in Brazil. Like Bernie.
- There was a spate of ‘Hillary Finally Exonerated’ pieces. And a (now former) Facebook acquaintance who referred to that same Hillary as The Killer Bitch and her husband as something even worse, if you can imagine that. Nope. Not her friend anymore.
- And there was a heavy sprinkling of ‘I don’t care what Elizabeth Warren says about public education, Bernie is still better’ posts, from a plethora of viewpoints: She used to be a Republican. She’s a capitalist to her bones. She’s whiny and pedantic. She doesn’t say anything in her platform about paying pre-school teachers more. (?) She wrote this book once. She didn’t really support DAPL. She has an advisor who was in Teach for America (Bernie’s had several, but somehow that’s OK). She’s not trustworthy.
This is awful stuff to read, on friends’ pages. It’s not because we have ‘too many’ Democratic candidates. It’s not about the flaws in Democratic party power-wielding. It’s not about who has strongest platform or policy ideas—because those are just…ideas. It’s because we’re back in boots-or-flipflops mode, obsessing over the polls, the public fights, the personalities. Some of us love the infighting, but it’s dangerous.
On the morning of November 9, 2016, as I was moping around, red-eyed and sleep-deprived, I said to my husband: I wonder when America will be ready for a woman president.
He thought I was over-simplifying what happened, that maybe America just didn’t want Hillary, not anywoman, to be president. He suggested it wasn’t incipient sexism underlying the most stunning loss since Dewey vs. Truman—just a lack of enthusiasm, or some other ephemeral reason—James Comey? The Russians?
But now that we have multiple outspoken, qualified women candidates, it feels like déjà vu—nobody wants to be perceived as sexist, but there it is. Let me go out on a limb here and say that I would very much like to have a woman in the White House before I die. Even if she’s pedantic or not perfect on health care or didn’t do well in one of the debates. It’s time.
I am about to return to that better blog, which actually is about a single topic, with a point to be made. Unlike this blog, which is nothing more than free-floating resentment. Sorry.
I think Warren’s K-12 plan is a good as it gets for any unrealistic grab-bag of Democratic dreams. She promises to support unions. She talks about the folly of testing. She apparently understands how underfunding has harmed schools. Best of all, she provides a full-throated defense of genuinely public education. Have at it.