I rather enjoy mixing it up with folks on social media. You learn a lot about your own positions and opinions, but you also can learn a lot about the motivations and leanings of people you grew up with, your neighbors, your family, your friends, and hopefully, if you conduct yourself well, in a way that you see more humanity in not only all of them but yourself as well.
First, you have to realize you’re not on social media to change anyone’s opinion about anything. That’s not my objective at all. Understand that. Maybe, what I say resonates with someone. Maybe, it doesn’t. Hopefully, I’ll come away from every exchange learning something new. I usually do because I research every angle I can find on an issue. Sometimes, it ends up never making it in a comment or on a post. However, it does remain in my memory.
Also, I know that few people are going to be hearing my perspective anywhere else but where I present it. For that reason alone, it is a great idea to funnel that out into the world. Most rural Democratic supporters . . . hell, most people these days don’t even connect anything they do, say, or believe to a set of principles, values, and morals that are directly linked to the U.S. Constitution, a deep connection to their community, lessons from our shared history, and a commitment to results and accountability. Those four links (Constitution, Community, History, Accountability) are the four legs upon which a stable democracy can grow and where freedom and liberty thrive.
Currently, the issue in our nation is that most people only have two or less of these linkages in their politics and lives. And, a lot of people use some of these links like a mask instead of a leg, so their table falls apart. It is important to explore where a person is coming from when they’re talking to you, or if they’re really just regurgitating the simplistic talking points they’ve heard throughout their lives.
Side Note: This shows how easy it is for someone to almost intentionally not understand one word you use. I used the words ‘controlling’ and ‘truth’ in one of my distilled down comments on a Mary Miller post. You can’t use those types of words without a lot of context. It can lead to someone making the following accusations, and all in one paragraph.
“Do you mean children should be out of control? Do you think kids shouldn’t be taught anything – do you believe in discipline and self control – self respect?” Two sentences. Then this, “You seem to have accepted completely the idea that the state should take all responsibility for kids upbringing away from parents, while the parents sit meekly on the sidelines and take whatever the state dishes out.”
That brings us to debating inflation with blamers. It’s a wonderful exploration of inflation with folks that I thought would be fun to share. I won’t share any names because it really is more about the exploration of issues, ideas, and motivations.
I run into people all the time that cannot stand to listen to anyone that has a different opinion than their own. And, if they do hear a different opinion, they get very angry very fast. That’s a problem. I don’t understand the logic, the emotional logic, or the spiritual principles that would bring someone to become so incensed so quickly. It’s similar to a child touching a hot stove and burning themselves. You would think a person, at some point in their adult lives, would learn how to regulate their emotional responses to stimuli they should at least anticipate encountering in their daily lives, but to no avail. They just want to hear what they already believe. It’s all about reassurance, I guess.
And, often, these are the same people that know very little, if any, about any specifics, any principles, any foundation, let alone any scrap of information whatsoever that led to their own opinion. That implies it’s not their opinion at all. When pressed on any topic, instead of learning something new about it, they just go to the next talking point in their mental rolodex. How tragic is that? We have all seen this play itself out again and again and again. It’s sad. A person has to really work hard to become truly informed. It’s harder now than it was half a decade ago.
I make the choice every day to not judge any of these people harshly. They don’t have any real alternatives, and haven’t for decades. Why do I say this? The Democratic Party does not invest in rural America . . . it certainly does not in rural Illinois. It won’t change that strategy either until something terrible happens. Even then, it is unlikely to change.
Finally, onto this BlameGate about Inflation. This was all in response to a simple comment on a local news article about US inflation rising 8.5% in the past year. This same person commented these 3 words everywhere this news was reported. Republicans have it easy. Anger and outrage are easy to stoke and even easier to spread.
Original Comment: Build Back Better
Kevin Gaither: it was never passed and you still complain about it as if it was
Commenter: Might as well have been. Democrats ruin everything. A red wave is coming.
Kevin Gaither. if you really believe one side is to blame for anything, you don’t know anything.
Commenter: sure thing Kevo. Why don’t you run again and fix things since you’re so smart.
Kevin Gaither: your Republicans running everything in Sullivan and Moultrie are dropping like flies. Losing taxpayer money because they can’t file papers on time, leaving their posts because they can’t get ahead of their own Republican corruption. Anyone can look and see clearly why Republican ran towns and counties are being driven into obscurity. It isn’t Democrats.
They’re begging dems to run again. Why? Because Republicans don’t know how to do anything but tear fellow Americans down these days. You’re a goo(d) example.
Commenter: Goo(d) example? Keep your perversions to yourself. Democrats have done a great job running this state into the toilet. Give me a break.
Kevin Gaither: Democrats just paid off the vast majority of state debt, are now paying the state’s bills on time, as opposed to nearly 2 years (it taking 2 years to pay a bill), and are passing budgets with surpluses . . . compared to under a Republican governor who couldn’t pass anything . . . we racked up debt, increased our debt service costs, and cost taxpayers millions.
Look at every Republican ran county and local government. Do any of you hold them accountable for results? Or, do you just continually fall for this demonization politics that has you blaming someone else somewhere else you can never vote for (or) vote against?
Commenter: Now that’s the best bullshit I’ve heard all day. However you want to spin it Kevo. No one is buying you or your daddy Governor JB Pritzker’s bullshit. Give it up. Move to Chicago. No one wants you around here.
New Commenter: Democrats and Liberal Republicans are the problem. Get rid of them and install conservative Republicans in this world would be a better place.
This is where I took off for a bit and went to my own local county board meeting. I can’t very well be talking shit about paying attention to local politics and not show up to the meeting across the street, now can I? And, what a meeting it was. I arrived as they were starting, and still didn’t get to write my name on the “Public Comment” list. There were only two names, and one of them was not even present.
It was one of the more important Coles County Board meetings to attend. They were rushing through a lot of spending for the county. All of that Democrat approved money for the pandemic came through for the county . . . for us, $9 million. (Actually, it’s $9.8 million) What our county board decided to do was to spend half on the county board’s wish list now and comeback and think about spending it on the people later. Guess which party controls our Coles County Board? You know it. 10-2 Republican to Democratic.
I returned to this debate on social media with this new bit of info. Having witnessed this money being spent before my eyes . . . $4.5 million gone like that. And, no one really even there to witness it. The guy on the list for public comment didn’t even mention it. What a shame.
Kevin Gaither: that’s why all these Republican county boards are spending their Democratic pas(sed) money instead of sending it back to the US Dept of Treasury, right? Coles County got $9 million that we’re spending just now. Do you know what Moultrie’s Republicans are spending their millions on? I bet it’s not on utility rate relief. (Moultrie received $2.8 million. Find your Illinois county below)
every time a Republican leaves the White House, they leave a financial crisis for Democrats to mop up while Republicans obstruct and criticize. We get it. All they can do is regurgitate the same simple policies. Just don’t bother investing political money in rural America so they have no clue what’s going on here. It’s a travesty.
Second Commenter: you got that backwards fantasy boy. Democrats screw up this country and it takes a trump or Reagan to fix it. Put down the pipe and come back to reality.
Commenter: You live in fantasy land. Give it up Kevo.
Third Commenter: If democrats and states they control are so awful why don’t you just move to a Republican controlled state?
Commenter: why should I have to? This is my home. It’s a shame to watch it being destroyed by idiots like Kevin Gaither.
Third Commenter: why should everyone else be beholden to your political beliefs just because you disagree with them?
Kevin Gaither: You have to really have been blind to what happened with Reagan. He talked all that good stuff. Absolutely. Did you see what happened to Decatur, Danville, Peoria and every other manufacturing town? Plant after plant closed down. Shipped overseas.
All those Reagan tax cuts didn’t trickle down. They trickled overseas. You didn’t care because you were getting paid;. Most people don’t care when they’re comfortable. It’s only when they have an agenda do they use things like inflation and gas prices to manipulate others to have amnesia.
Both parties will never learn. You can’t just go for a short simple talking point that resonates with people because that(‘s) what works politically. At some point, you have to actually pay the bills, make things work, do the work, and stick around for the results instead of just come up with a catchy slogan people can easily repeat in their sleep.
Second Commenter: that wasn’t his fault what happened to Decatur Danville and Peoria, that was the Democrats who control those cities. Now, your cookies are ready, run upstairs and put your video game down and go eat some nice warm cookies at your birthing person made for you.
Kevin Gaither: that’s not how business and manufacturing works. Funny you don’t apply that same logic to the Republicans running every one of these rural counties and rural towns. Convenient, your double standards are. (Yoda)
Those companies made goods that were shipped and sold around the country and around the wrold. They picked up stakes and shipped the jobs overseas. Both parties sat on their hands enjoying their tax breaks while the Middle Class was squeezed out of existence.
Who could blame politicians?
How did the people watch it happen and not demand action? Oh . . . people like yourself had yours and didn’t care if the people in those towns were screwed. You were fine.
Well, if you owned a small business back then, you did know. And, they bought into ‘blame the worker’ and still watched for decades as jobs went south across the border and to Asia.
It’s stunning to watch the double standards . . . somehow those people in control of those cities somewhere else are responsible for what happened for all time there, but the people responsible for my small town aren’t? Are you serious? Of course they aren’t serious people trying to seriously solve problems. They are the problem. They are in the way of fixing anything. And, yes, when you start fixing problems, other problems pop up that no one anticipated. That’s part of change. It’s anticipated by any strategic mind designing a new system.
What was missing from the Affordable Care Act, the passage of which was 12 years ago and celebrated by President Biden and former President Obama at the White House last week, was the usual legislative fix phase. This process never ends with major legislation. We need major overhauls of Social Security, Medicare, and immigration, to get started.
And, ironically, Build Back Better contains a number of such legislative fixes for the ACA.
- Reduces ACA premiums by $600/year for 9 million Americans
- Expands Medicaid into the 12 holdout states that have refused to expand it yet
- 2 million would be able to enroll in ACA plans without paying premiums
- Would expand the Premium Tax Credit to 2025, set to expire in 2022
We certainly won’t be seeing any reforms like these if Republicans takeover the House or the Senate in 2022 midterms. I wasn’t about to make any of those claims in any debate. It’s just dead. Completely dead. However, they could bring up parts of the bill that don’t exacerbate inflation. Do something popular.
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