Blogger vs. candidate struggle is still ongoing. This video from Modern really warmed my heart – there certainly is a Seabiscuit feel to all this. I got a good night’s sleep for once, up early, so I thought I’d throw out some advice from the field to fellow Democrats facing a long autumn campaign, before I really disappear into the final two weeks of my own campaign.
Democrats need to be Democrats. It’s a cliche, I know, and yes, I am, in fact, running in a safe, 89% Democratic seat in rock solid blue Cuyahoga County inner city Cleveland. Caveats noted. However, I’ve been walking among the ruins of what Republicanism has done to my city for a full summer, and there is a gaping need for Democrats to reject once and for all the free market fetishism that has brought this country’s people to their knees before their corporate paymasters.
For example, I’m advocating banning the box on employment applications that asks about criminal record, because it is wrong. How is this different from all the other “programs” to help ex-offenders? Lots of people support “helping” ex-offenders, with “training” and “anger management” and all sorts of taxpayer funded, ex-offender focused “assistance”. Begging employers to hire a few here and there. Coming up with “certifications” that ex-offenders are somehow no longer evil.
This approach is wedded to free market fetishism. It assumes that there is something fundamentally wrong with the ex-offender, because the “market”, i.e. employers, won’t hire them. It thus places the burden on fixing the problem of unemployed ex-offenders on the ex-offenders themselves, and through them, on the taxpayer. The cost to taxpayers is in the billions nationally. The cost in terms of human dignity is incalculable.
Once again, the monied corporate interests place their own cost (i.e. vetting their workforce) on the public.
I advocate going on offense, and saying “no”. No, you will not force society to enforce, at great cost, an overbroad standard for your own lazy employment policies. No, you will not force every person who’s ever made a mistake scrawl a scarlet letter into their own forehead every time they apply for a job. No, you will not be the sharp end of hopelessness enforced on the most vulnerable. So deal with it.
It is an approach to governing based on Democratic values – that every human being deserves their dignity, and that dignity includes the opportunity to work. Every time a corporation or developer wants to save a nickel, they tell the rest of us to bend over so the corporation can extract said nickel from our behinds. I’m sorry, that is just wrong. It is especially wrong with regard to ex-offenders, one of the most vulnerable, and rapidly growing portions of our society.
So my advice to Democrats running this fall? Go on offense, based on Democratic values. Reject Republicanism’s slave devotion to the free market. Put power back in the hands of the people, where it belongs. Stand up for that which is fundamentally right.
The rest will take care of itself.