As mentioned in a previous post, Claude Debussy, one of the greatest and most expressive of composers, said “Music is the space between the notes.” I’d suggest that Democrats, as a party, focus too directly on the notes (the tangibles: elections, logic, “facts”) and not nearly enough on fully envisioning the music (the intangibles: relationships, emotions, storytelling.)

The more we proudly define our values, express our values, own our values, live our values and welcome all who share our values -- on a consistent and daily basis -- the more likely people will align with the “Democratic Brand” by nature. Let’s also proudly proclaim our successes -- again, on a consistent and daily basis -- not just as individuals here-and-there, but in a coherent unified voice. That candidates in large areas of the country not only don’t do this, but run away from them and the President is troubling at best.

Let’s give the people a reason to recognize the importance of voting regularly or, at least, be more open to persuasion. This, as opposed to the all too common pattern of begging, frightening or pandering to the voters on behalf of candidates or referendums during election cycles; this may attract votes and win individual elections, but it’s no way to build relationships, promote loyalty, or serve as a mandate to govern.

Business as usual also feeds a growing cynical distrust of politicians, which works against us more so than against Republicans. I see these feelings regularly in my family, friends, acquaintances and associates: both Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives, libertarians and responsible grown-ups.

We must not allow “both sides do it” to remain the prevailing perception, because as ridiculous and shallow as that argument is, it’s always the perception that counts. The same imperative also exists for all the false equivalences, false dichotomies and false choices that pollute our political “discussions” and decision-making daily.  

An environment where Democrats and the Democratic Party are looked upon more favorably provides an incremental boost in support come elections as well as in day-to-day governing. That Republicans are viewed unfavorably by a huge swathe of America is only a factor to exploit, not in itself a Democratic strategy for long-term success. (I was thrilled at the time, yet uneasy about the lessons supposedly learned -- or not -- from the 2006 and 2008 elections.) 

It’s critical to realize that it’s light-years easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to acquire a new one. Plus, it’s a given that you can’t please everybody, which makes it counter-productive to try to do so. But through it all, we need to do our best every day and stand up for what we believe it, again every day; only the willfully blind or ignorant will fail to notice.      

 


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