Eyeing my neighbor, sitting on his porch, eyes glazed over, I think: Are we going to sit like that, getting stoned every afternoon and blasting MSNBC, all because we gave up on finding a job and are now on disability? How sad is the life in Obama’s America, particularly when it comes to individuals who are, despite being taken to the cleaners by their leaders, really quite bright.
The middle aged are set in their worldviews, and even though the sight of apparently stillborn Obamacare should be an Earth-shattering moment for many liberals, nobody expects them to switch party affiliation anytime soon. What conservatives living in liberal areas can hope to accomplish is to shape the liberal thought exploiting the schism in their ideology. Roger Simon has some ideas, and here is my 2 cents.
Mild-mannered liberals dislike all things large. We no longer build skyscrapers in San Francisco, for instance, because those are too intimidating.
The way I see it, when the late Andrew Breitbart inaugurated his “Bigs”, he was toying with the libs and their suspicion of big business. A liberal thinks that big corporations are evil, and his consumer choices reflect it. We don’t shop at Wall-mart around here, and prefer locally-owned coffee shops to Starbucks. It’s an easy choice, to be sure, because Wall-mart doesn’t cater to upper middle class customers, and those local coffee shops serve fresh salads topped with home made dressing. Some of my neighbors like the fact that they can bike to a local toy store to buy a present for their child, but not to Wall-mart. In the end, our choices are more about aesthetics than morals.
My shopping and dining preferences are not very different from those of my neighbors (if anything, I might be pickier — or at least I hope I am), but that’s mainly a lifestyle choice. I do have an ideology that props up my tastes. If I patronize a business, it’s not because the owner nods enthusiastically every time I open my mouth about politics. I reward producers for offering the best product at the best price, and small local businesses have an edge there because, as a rule, small works better than big. Locally grown produce won’t feed the hungry world, but it does taste better then tomatoes that were picked green in Mexico. The lady who runs my favorite consignment store, for instance, knows what kind of clothes I buy, so she keeps me in mind when she sorts through the bags other customers bring in. All of that is done without any kind of creepy internet surveillance algorithms.
Because of his innate distrust of big, a liberal can be open to the idea that small generally delivers better quality products. My daughter was born in the happier Bush times. A new mother, I was bombarded with suggestions to use organic foods for my baby. At the same time I was cautioned to be careful with products labeled organic because, I was told, the newly minted USDA Organic certification was insufficiently rigorous* (in the Bush years liberals were considerably more skeptical of the federal government). One lady I know advised me to purchase Horizon Organic dairy because “those guys are local and somebody keeps an eye on them”. Local? Horizon Organics is the largest distributor of organic milk in North America! BUT they partner with local farms whose products they deliver to local retailers.
I think I can put an idea out there that health care should operate like Horizon Organic, from the ground up. Obamacare failed because is too big to succeed: “Dude! Can we drop a half a billion dollars on a website AND expect it to work?” “Yes, yes, I know there is government healthcare in Israel and Israelis are happy with it. But Israel is a tiny country! It’s one thing to provide 7 million people with healthcare, but 300 million — that’s a whole different story!” Medical services should be organized on the local level, maybe state level. What we need to do is to de-centralize… and [gasp] privatize.
*Speaking of which, organic purists can turn to multiple private entities issuing certifications that fit their standards. There is a lesson here as well.