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Fitness Fired Up: Give me hope, Joe Manchin

So I was at the gym this morning, in search of my missing thigh gap, when Give Me Hope, Joanna by Eddie Grant showed up in my playlist. It’s a great workout tune, it’s got a beat, you can dance to it. But I found myself substituting lyrics as I was listening to it.

Let me back up here a bit. Last week apparently “Squash the Progressives Week” on Twitter. I’m in favor of killing the bill if we can’t get key climate change policies and 12 weeks of paid family leave. (12 weeks is paltry compared to the 12 months + you get in other countries but I digress) The approved talking points were “if you keep demanding stuff that’s important to working women and people who live on this planet then you are for Purity Tests” and “let’s just take what we can so we can save Joe Biden’s presidency and the House”.

I realized I was just F}#^ing sick of hearing this. Listen up you holdover Obama consultants, do not try to intimidate me with that crap. I’m not having it anymore. And let me be clear here: I am very much opposed to the knit your own sandals crowd who rant about GMO foods, the transformative power of veganism and the dangers of nuclear power. Yep, I like nuclear power. So sue me.

Anyway, I thought to myself, how dare some asshole male Democrat (not even sure of that. I’m beginning to think consultants just follow the money) tell me, a former working mom that paid family leave is not that important. Are you effing kidding me?? Most of us had to scrape together our vacation days to stay home just a few weeks with our newborns and after that? Nada. You’re on your own. And childcare is expensive. It’s a good thing the pandemic broke the idea that you must be in the office to work productively.

There are hundreds of thousands of women in this country whose careers take a downturn when they have kids. Some of them just give up and stay home because they can’t resolve the issue of what you do with a fussy newborn when you can’t get quality childcare and you have a ton of student loans to pay back and mortgages etc etc. Just check out any Elizabeth Warren video prior to her becoming a senator.

We don’t have pensions anymore. We have 401ks. We have to pay a lot for health insurance, car insurance, college. I could go on. Go talk to a French Ex-pat for their opinion on American tax policy. You may be shocked to hear their perspective. The powers that be have done a very good job at keeping wages low for decades. And that’s all fine and dandy until a whole generation starts to retire with no disposable income while the younger generation can’t afford to buy their parents’ houses. There’s a recipe for disaster there.

There’s a reason why the New Deal programs were so successful. There’s a reason why Medicare is so popular. They’re not entitlements. They are deferred benefits and income that we have already paid for. But it’s hard to keep putting the burden for paying for absolutely everything on us if wages are essentially stagnant. And that goes for a lot of us well educated late boomers who lost our careers in the wake of the Great Recession. Wage stagnation affects all working people. All of us.

So, here I am looking at all these jerks on Twitter accusing me of purity tests and it suddenly occurred to me that the things that were left out of the bills were far from the purity test stuff. Nay, nay, they were the most important things and those that would cause the most pain to the powers that be. They are the things that could definitely make a significant difference in the lives of working Americans. Giving up on the most impactful policies in the bill would be playing right into our adversaries’ hands. They WANT us to feel helpless. Killing the bill, ironically, puts us back in control and shifts attention to the single holdout, what and who he represents and whether he really does want what’s best for his constituents. Shining a spotlight on Manchin will do wonders for Democratic Senate candidates in PA. They don’t really need Manchin’s help but by the end of 2022, he might very well need whoever wins Pat Toomey’s spot.

We are at the mercy of one man. Joe Manchin. He stands in the way of election bills, paid family leave, climate change initiatives, drug price controls for Medicare. You name it, he’s agin it. And the whole country is at his mercy. Democrats have a right to be furious. By taking a stand, I’m not so sure that it will kill Biden’s presidency or Democrats control of the House. It’s never been tried before and we do not despair because we don’t know the end of the story.

I was rewriting the lyrics of Give Me Hope, Johanna to Give Me Hope, Joe Manchin while I was on the treadmill.

“They got a system they call apartheid” became “they got a thing called the filibuster”

“Freedom Fighters” became “Black Lives Matter”.

“Durban and Transvaal” is “Texas and Washington”.

Where is Randy Rainbow when you need him or does he only do show tunes?