Going to the Political Theater

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Yesterday, Senate Republicans blocked the effort to raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. On Tuesday, after the Koch brothers blasted out a plea to Republicans to vote “no”, Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rushed to the floor of the Senate to voice his opposition to raising the minimum wage. Wednesday, Senator Mike Enzi (R-WY) belittled low-wage workers by fudging their demographics (Young! Uneducated!) and Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) reduced the entire discussion to nothing more than “political theater”.

Political theater? Give me a break. These hard-working Americans would love the opportunity to just step into a movie theater with their families once or twice a year.

The performers in the true “Political Theater” are so good that they use the fourth wall to seal themselves off completely from the constituents they claim to work for. Soliloquies are presented as dissertations on the meaning of life in America, without much of an idea of what life actually is in America. Stage combat plays out as a war on their real enemy, an ever-growing cultural uprising based on equality and fair play, using their most powerful and effective weapon: fear.

The actors and actresses of the true “Political Theater” are the Senate Republicans, themselves.

Raising the minimum wage isn’t “political theater”. On top of the 28 million who would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage, taxpayers everywhere will see a decline in the need for public assistance funding ($4.6 billion in SNAP funding per year, alone). The nation will enjoy a jolt in economic activity to the tune of $22 billion, creating the opportunity for more jobs at better wages. 73% of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, and three states have already gone ahead and done it.

It takes a special kind of performer to tap dance around numbers like those. As they showed yesterday, Senate Republicans are up to the challenge.

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice. How do you get to the “Political Theater”? An unheralded ignorance to the needs and desires of the American people.


Jimmy Donofrio is the Digital Director for Americans United for Change

05.01.14 | permalink

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