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How Democrats Marginalize Their Constituencies

Commentary by Greg Lewis / TheRant.US
August 15, 2005

Democrats continue to claim to be the party of "the people," but where the rubber meets the road, Democrats routinely fail to deliver. Among the "people" Democrats would claim to represent are, to give you one example, regular Americans, folks who grew up listening to the music of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd and who understand that they are not the ignorant, racist rednecks the liberal media and Neil Young portray them to be. Rather, they're folks who choose to make their political decisions on a case-by-case basis.

"Your skin happens to be black? OK, brother, what's your story? What life experiences do you and I share that make us brothers under the skin? 'Cause I don't give a fat rat's ass where or how you grew up. If you grew up poorer than me, well, then, God bless you, bro', 'cause I grew up dirt poor, bet to it. And I'm happy to make your acquaintance since you seem to be after pretty much the same things I'm after in this life and since you seem to share pretty much the same values I hold.

"You damn well bet I've got a wife . . . and two kids to boot. You, too? How old are your kids, brother? I got a girl seven and a boy four. No-o-o-o . . . that's not possible. Well, then, what school does your seven-year-old go to? You got to be kidding me! Let me buy you a beer, brother. We've got a hell of a lot to talk about, you and me."

By politicizing and generalizing issues that are better dealt with by real people in the course of their everyday lives, by categorizing real people without bothering to get to know them or take the trouble to understand on a personal level the real issues they are concerned with, Democrats have managed to distance themselves from many of the very constituencies they claim to represent.

The Lynyrd Skynyrd reference was not chosen randomly. You might be aware that the group created, as I have often argued, the best rock song ever recorded in "Sweet Home Alabama" for their 1974 album "Second Helping." Among the political/cultural stands they took with that song is that they found fault with the portrayal of their fellow southerners by Neil Young in his song "Southern Man," which depicted them categorically as racist, illiberal, and (by extension) closed-minded. My take is that with their signature song Lynyrd Skynyrd stood up, not only for "southern" Americans, but for all Americans who share a common set of positive fundamental values and who resist the denial of their humanity that being treated by liberals as members of a political category implies.

Bottom line: This quintessential Southern rock group had the unmitigated gall to take issue with Neil Young's characterization of them and their fellow southerners as cross-burning, bullwhip-wielding bigots. Lynyrd Skynyrd's unpardonable sin — as liberal-leftists would have it — consisted of saying, in "Sweet Home Alabama," the following: "Well, I hope Neil Young will remember, Southern Man don't need him around, anyhow."

Which extrapolates to the following: Yo, liberal, come back when you have something to say to me that I can relate to. Come back when you've finally arrived at the realization that I'm not necessarily a redneck who drives a pickup truck with a gun rack in the rear window, and even if I am, what the hell difference does it make to you? Who died and made you king of how things ought to be? If you can't put aside your high-falutin' liberal stereotypes and talk one-on-one with me about the real concerns both of us have, well, then, how do you expect to convince me I should vote for your candidate in the next election?

Which pretty much sums up the corner liberal Democrats have painted themselves into with regard to many of their target constituencies. Democrats are simply failing to connect directly with real American people. Their message is increasingly one which alienates a significant portion of Americans, even among their "base." Because their message continues to be doctrinaire, continues to characterize large numbers of Americans as belonging to politically undesirable groups simply because they happen to favor certain politically incorrect positions as defined by the leftist powers-that-be, Democrats continue to alienate real people.

"Oh, you're from the South? Let me see, our Democratic Party Chairman, Howard Dean, told us we should try to appeal to you folks, you guys who display 'I'd rather be deer hunting' bumper stickers. Let's see, if I'm not mistaken — let me check my notes — don't you also tend to mount gun racks in the rear windows of your trucks? You're one of them, right? Well, where do you stand on the abortion issue?"

The American people have a collective heart, and the American heart knows, intuitively, when it is hearing a message that makes sense, that rings true, that speaks to the issues important to Americans in their daily lives, that comes from the heart of the sender of the message. There's a reason leftists on both coasts call the states between New York and California "flyover country": They just don't want to get any closer than about 30,000 feet to real Americans.

The liberal message rings false to the American heart, just as did Neil Young's message in the song "Southern Man." It took Lynyrd Skynyrd to stand up and tell the world that Young's song painted a bogus picture. But stand up they did, and to the tune of a bestselling anthem which represented (and still does) a political position that goes against the grain of the "received wisdom" of the leftist ideology that permeated the popular culture of the time, as it still does to a great extent.

Stand up we must continue to do today, to counter the continuing onslaught against the fundamental positive values we know in our hearts form the foundation of the wonderful democratic society we live in. Nobody's arguing that the United States is perfect. What the best and most far-seeing are arguing — correctly, in my opinion — is that America has evolved into the highest manifestation of democratic ideals in our planet's history, and that we must continue to strive to more fully realize those ideals.

To the extent that we remain steadfast in standing up for the fundamental values on which our wonderful democracy has been built — which is as much as to say, to the degree to which we deny the legitimacy of the liberal Democrat message — to that degree shall we succeed in advancing the principles of freedom and democracy in our society and around the globe. And to that degree shall we welcome into the constituency of American voters those who share our values, regardless of their skin color or their countries of origin or their religion or their culture; those who, recognizing the emptiness of the Democratic message, express their disaffection with liberal politics by supporting political candidates whose platforms — based on the advancement of freedom, democracy, and fundamental, personally relevant human values —are consonant with the values they hold in their hearts.


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