III Publishing

Why Representative Pramila Jayapal
Voted to Keep Government Closed

January 28, 2018
by William P. Meyers

Site Search

Also sponsored by Earth Pendant at PeacefulJewelry

Popular pages:

U.S. War Against Asia
Democratic Party
Republican Party
Natural Liberation

Why Pramila Cares more about DACA than medical insurance for poor children

Generally Pramila Jayapal, who represents a district including most of Seattle in Washington State, votes the way I would like her to vote. In the general American scheme of things, we are both lefty-liberals. With Republicans in control of government, a simple no vote usually suffices.

Pramila Jayapal

But Ms. Jayapal voted No on the recent bill (HR 195) to reopen the government by funding it through January 22. I would have voted Yes.

I think this difference between us is also reflected within the Democratic Party and American society at large. It is worth understanding.

Ms. Jayapal represents a safe Democratic district. I represent nobody.

The bill had multiple components, or lack thereof, what I would consider to be multiple variables. The three key components of this bill were: funding the federal government for a short period of time; funding and extending the children's health insurance program (CHIP) for six years; and NOT legalizing the (illegal or undocumented, take your choice) DACA youth's stay in the U.S.A.

Ms. Jayapal is an immigrant, born in India. Her parents were among the global elite. She came to the U.S. at the age of 16 to attend college, the elite, expensive colleges Georgetown (my sister graduated from Georgetown, too) and then for an MBA at Northwestern University. There is then a blank spot in her public resume before she started doing non-profit work for immigrants with Hate Free Zone in 2001. To find out about the missing years, I had to go to an Indian web site for Indian American Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal's Parents. "She worked in a banking company on Wall Street for a couple of years, before stepping into activism and then into politics." Couple here would probably means a decade or so, since she was born in 1965, and probably would have received her MBA around 1990. A banking career, and being rich enough by the end of it to set up a non-profit, is not want you want on a progressive Democrat resume.

My own family has been in America for generations, and despite so-called white privilege, did not make it into the lower middle class until after my father retired from the Marine Corpse in 1961 and went to college on the GI bill. None of grandparents were to college. Two were tenant farmers in Texas, and two were factory workers in Chicago.

People talk about racism in America, but they pretend there is no class system here. Well there is. Poor and working class white people may not be treated as badly (in general) as poor and working class blacks or native americans, but there is a system in place that keeps them down as individuals and keeps them down for generations and even centuries as families. To add to the injury, the assumption of the middle and upper classes is that there is and always has been social mobility for whites in America, so any one who is white and working class or on welfare today is just a loser.

I doubt she would admit it, but Pramila must think that or she would not have voted against HR 195.

Here's something I'd like to know about Pramila's family: what Indian caste are they? Sure, she is a modern American woman, but it might provide insight into her decision making process.

The children's health insurance program (CHIP) is critical to the health of American children. Without it, working class families are having an extra burden of paying out of pocked for children's medical visits, or just letting nature take its course.

The Argument for Voting Against CHIP

Pramila was not alone in refusing to vote to fund the government and extend CHIP for 6 years. Eighteen Senators voted along with her, and 150 member of the House.

The reasoning for most of the No votes was this: the Republicans have to give us CHIP eventually. They are using it as a bargaining chip to get other things they want that we should not give them. Holding up funding for all government programs gives us leverage.

Of all the things these democrats want to get leverage for, their priority is DACA . Many Republicans actually support DACA, and many Democrats don't think it should be a priority, but the Republicans know the tail is wagging the Democratic dog. DACA, and immigration more generally, is where the energy of the left of the Democratic Party is right now. It might shift to the environment or economy some day, but even gun control does not turn out the numbers like DACA does.

So since the Republicans don't really want a government shutdown on their watch, and they want to fund CHIP sooner or later anyway, why not hold out for a DACA deal?

The Real Argument

But the reality is: Pramila's vote did not stop CHIP from passing. It did not shut down the government.

At the same time, it pleased a big part of the activist wing of the Democratic Party in Seattle, which is one where being labeled a "mainstream" Democrat can cause you to lose an election.

In Seattle, the political threat is always from the left.

Just a Difference in Priorities

I am in the middle class now, but I have seen how working class people are discriminated against in the U.S. My best advice to working class children and adults is expect no help from the government, and expect to be kicked in the face by cultured, educated, middle class people. They think that is making you pay your dues for membership, even though most of them inherited their memberships. Since you are going to get no help, you need to study, start working early and work harder than the spawn of the middle and upper classes.

I no longer think the DACA kids are a universally nice lot. At least not their screaming leaders. When you are willing to destroy an important socialist program like CHIP in order to make your own life better, you are not a patriot. You are not a socialist. You are just another social climber. Like we don't have enough of those here.

That's pretty harsh, and I'll catch shit for it, but really, it needs to be looked at. I've been an activist most of my life, and I know how it is possible to get over-focused on the issue being promoted. Even if the issue does not directly affect you. I suspect most people in the DACA program support CHIP. They could have gained even more sympathy by urging leftist Democrats in Congress to vote for the deal, thereby showing a willingness to make sacrifices for the greater good.

Conclusion: Pramila Should Have Voted Yes

It is rare in America to have someone from the working class win a major political office. A lack of money, a lack of fame, and a lack of organizing skills make working class campaigns difficult. So you have to hope that the former bankers and lawyers and children of elected officials who usually make up the elected class have at least some sympathy for workers.

This vote is my first major disagreement with Ms. Jayapal. But it is an important one.

Historic wrongs have trapped many Americans, black, white, hispanic, and asian alike, on the lower rungs of the ladder. Damage done during slavery and during the Democratic Party's segregationist era for a century following the Civil War has done damage to tens of millions of families. The union-busters, the machine guns of the Rockefellers, poor pay are lack of opportunity have hurt the working class, which in America is still mainly white. But the middle class trying to keep all its slots for its own sons and daughters, the college slots and good job slots, is the most common obstacle in the course.

This classist discouragement and lack of opportunity has caused a rot in American working class culture. Donald Trump took advantage of that rot to get a lot of working class votes in the 2016 election nightmare.

In the topsy-turvy world of politics, it should be Republicans who pass DACA. Why? Because the DACA arrivals seem to be highly competitive and acquisitive. That is what Republicans like, isn't it?

So I would argue that Pramila and her Presidential aspiring Senate colleagues who voted against the funding extension were outmaneuvered. The Republicans secretly want DACA far worse than they wanted CHIP.

Well its done, and maybe Pramila has a learning curve. Who knows, maybe even the Democratic voters of Seattle have a learning curve.

Some day, hopefully, the Democratic Party will regain control of the House, Senate, Presidency, and even the Supreme Court. I hope then it can right some of the historical wrongs I have mentioned here.

I believe descendents of slaves should receive economic reparations. At the very least, a hundred years of free college and a good chunk of cash.

I believe the descendents of the white working class, including tenant farmers, going back to those who arrived as indentured servants, should receive economic reparations. At the very least, some free college, or startup capital if they want that instead, and a percentage of guaranteed slots in middle-class positions.

And of course Native Americans should be compensated for all that was stolen from them, with interest.

Sorry, American upper class, we will probably have to confiscate just about everything you own to pay for these programs, but you just aren't a priority for me.

I believe Ms. Jayapal might look to here native India for some ideas. I believe they have tried, in India, to guarantee a certain number of slots, that would help with upward mobility, to the lower castes there. It has not been an entirely successful program, but perhaps Ms. Jayapal can help make a better one for the United States of America.


III Blog list of articles