Author Michael Jabbra
The Westchester/Del Rey Republicans, and the Republican Party in general, are concerned about bringing more people into the Party, and getting more votes for the Party. Lots of money and time and effort will be spent on this, with limited results.
Some people are hard-core liberal – nothing we say will convert them. Some people are apathetic. Some people want nothing to do with political parties. I used to be part of that last group.
However, there is one more reason: most people simply haven’t the time for politics. They just show up to vote every few years, if that. They certainly don’t come to monthly meetings like ours. They would find it difficult, if not impossible, to walk precincts or make phone calls. This takes a time commitment that is difficult in the age of long commutes, terrible traffic jams, overtime (not always by the choice of the employee), home chores and errands, caring for children and elderly family members, and more. Many people’s weekends are consumed by with chores that they did not have time for during the work week. Some people have more than one job. Some people have no job, and are spending their time trying to find a job. When such people get home, politics may be the last thing they are interested in. One law enforcement psychologist called the end of the workday the “arsenic hour” – where everyone has needs, and no one has anything left to give.
Anne-Marie Slaughter, who used to work closely with Hillary Clinton, wrote a book addressing this matter called Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family. No time for the book? Try her article, upon which she based her book. We don’t have to agree with everything she says, but we should give her credit for raising these issues.
The Republican Party likes to pride itself on being the party of the family. We shouldn’t let Democrats take this matter away from us.
I don’t have all the answers either. I merely say that it is time for our Republican Party to address the matter of work and insufficient spare time, and how all of this denies people the time and the leisure to rest, or to engage in politics, or the pursuit of happiness. Here are a few ideas:
- Why is 40 hours per week sacred? It wasn’t handed down from Mount Sinai. Is it time to rethink this? Might we be forced to rethink 40 hours per week at a time when more and more jobs are being automated?
People will rightly ask how they can afford the reduced paycheck that may be caused by a reduced workweek. There are solutions for this too.
- One reason why a reduced paycheck would be bad is because the dollar has been weakened by years of quantitative easing, which is the modern version of printing money. The more money that is in circulation, the weaker each individual dollar is. Weakening the dollar erodes the value of people’s paychecks, which is decidedly unfriendly to families. It is a clandestine tax. The Federal Reserve Board of Governors’ target inflation rate should be 0% — nothing else! “End the Fed” may not be necessary, but ending quantitative easing certainly is.
- The dollar will also be strengthened when the Party gets serious about paying down the national debt. The dollar lives by worldwide faith in its strength; this debt is a cancer sapping that strength. Furthermore, the interest on that debt is a colossal burden on taxpayers. Pay down the debt – this will take some time – and then return the money that was spent on interest to the people in the form of tax cuts. This means diet time for social programs, and diet time for the military and law enforcement. Our Party rightfully stands for strong national defense and law enforcement; however, this does not mean that everything labeled defense or law enforcement is a good idea. One place to start: end the war on drugs, and allow state and local government to legalize and tax drugs.
- Long commutes can be eased by improved public transit. Time wasted in traffic jams is time that cannot be spent with the family. The GOP should be in the forefront of efforts to address this matter. Besides, improving roads and public transit would create jobs that cannot be outsourced.
- Make self-employment and working at home less difficult. One of the benefits of doing so may be to allow entrepreneurs to set up small day care businesses out of their homes, which would take another issue – child care – away from the Democrats.
- Follow the American Society of Civil Engineers and Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Commission’s recommendations for improving our country’s infrastructure. Consider that the aftermath of a cyberattack or electromagnetic pulse attack described in Ted Koppel’s Lights Out – no electricity, no gasoline, limited transportation and communication, no or limited essentials such as food, water, waste disposal, etc. may well lead to riots, looting, starvation, disease outbreaks, etc. – all of which are decidedly unfriendly to families. Strong infrastructure is essential for strong national defense, strong law enforcement, and a strong economy – all of which are traditional GOP platforms.
Following these prescriptions will do more to increase prosperity and help American families than quantitative easing and other funny money schemes. Real action on these issues will do more to attract people in the long run. Bashing the other side isn’t enough; we must show that we can help regular people.