A prophet once said, “Never been a better time, than right now.” The Republican party is embroiled in a civil war, splitting into factions that will inevitably leave a good percentage of their base unrepresented. It’s the neocons vs. the Libertarians, with the Tea Partiers slowly but surely waking up to the fact that Ayn Rand hated Jesus almost as much as she hated people like them. If you haven’t made popcorn yet, it’s not too late. The show isn’t even close to over.
What a seizable day! With our enemy’s house divided, our media figures are coming off the top ropes, right? We’re riding in like the blue faced guys in Braveheart, taking a pimp hand to corporate clowns, carrying our new leaders aloft on litters and placing them firmly into their congressional offices aren’t we? Oh, we’re not?
No, we’re not. While we have some very bright, knowledgeable and dedicated progressive commentators and bloggers, many golden opportunities to rally the teeming throng slip right past us. Below is a short list of public safety stories that progressives have utterly failed to leverage. (Yeah, I know, I’m skipping a lot of letters. But I do have an A and a Z.)
A is for Alameda. Recently a suicidal man in Alameda, California wandered out into 40-degree water intending to commit suicide. Police and firefighters, who did not have the training or equipment necessary to do water rescue, called for the Coast Guard to provide appropriately equipped rescuers. The Coast Guard was previously dispatched and unavailable. The citizen died. Rather than get some analysis from anyone with a few days’ experience on any 911 job, the media placed the blame squarely on the individual police and firefighters. Here’s Cenk Uygur’s reporting on the matter. It’s worse than just bad reporting, it’s harmful, counterproductive, uninformed reporting that exacerbates social problems. The real issue in this incident was lack of funding for public safety, which not only makes life really hard for rescuers on a daily basis, it sometimes causes citizens to lose their lives. This story was an opportunity to rally the citizens around taxing the rich to provide the quality of life that Americans have come to expect. Instead, we tar and feathered the first responders. Do you really think firefighters enjoy standing there watching someone die? Epic. Fucking. Fail.
C is for Crash Tax. Before I go any further, let me point out that I have a great appreciation for The Young Turks. In general I think they do a great job. On public safety, however, they consistently screw the pooch. It pains me to have my favorite channel be such a large part of the problem.
FDNY proposed charging end users for 911 responses. TYT did another terrible job of reporting about it. While Cenk and Ana did note that this is a growing trend among public safety agencies nationwide, they failed entirely to grasp that it’s part of a much larger problem. It’s the same issue as above – we refuse to tax the rich, so the budget is smaller. Police, paramedics and firefighters get paid less to run more calls while riding around in old, crappy vehicles. The agencies really can’t cut our pay or benefits any lower (though they’re definitely working on it), and they’ve already slashed the training and equipment budgets to the bone. Something’s got to give. If we’re not willing to increase the tax base, the end user is the only other logical pocket to tap. TYT seems to think this fee for services rendered is some sort of punishment. Their analysis is not only uninformed, it’s idiotic and childish, and it got huge public support. I’d like to see Ana Kasparian work one shift at an underfunded, understaffed public safety agency — just one 12-hour shift. I’m sorry you didn’t get a new designer purse, Ana. The police, firefighters and paramedics who suck it up day and in and day out should all chip in from their lavish
handouts paychecks to get you one, out of pure shame.
Instead of alerting the citizens to the crisis we face in funding for public safety, and rallying them to — oh, I don’t know, rise up en masse and tell Grover Norquist to eat shit and die — TYT presented the story in such a way that pressures agencies to back off of the plan. The alternative is to continue having too few people run too many calls, i.e., take it out of our (the rank and file’s) hides. Love you too!
PIX 11 in New York did a better job of reporting it, again touching on the fact that this is a growing trend and mentioning the huge red flag of hospital-owned ambulance services, but only in passing. Unfortunately they also failed to pick up the scent of that much bigger, much uglier story which I will cover separately. While their reporting was less myopic and immature than Cenk and Ana’s, it still invited citizens to make idiotic comments like this:
Noone is going to call the police now when we have accidents because the fire dept is going to want to come to make money over a fender bender.
So it’s those mercenary firefighters again, damn them! They’re not trying to come up with the money to keep their response times decent, they’re just padding the old porn-and-Doritos fund. Best scam we ever came up with!
Another prime opportunity to raise public awareness goes whizzing past at a high rate of speed.
G is for Goodhue, MN CPR marathon. This is possibly the most frustrating example on this list, because it could have showed what it looks like when things are working right, when the citizens and first responders understand and respect each other. David Pakman is a fine progressive commentator, I watch him regularly. He never makes me want to scream and throw things at the computer like TYT does.
However, he consistently misses the bus when it comes to leveraging these stories to promote the progressive ideology. He mentioned a 96-minute CPR marathon in which the patient actually survived. In the original piece, he speculated that the person must not have been actually dead. In my professional experience, it is unlikely to survive 96 minutes of CPR, however David sort of skimmed the story and I had to research it on my own. When I saw what had actually happened I was thrilled to see the system working beautifully and a dead citizen walking out of the hospital as a result. This is the kind of thing that makes it worth getting out of bed for people like me. It was not only the cure for PTSD, it was magically delicious. Oh, the bridges we could build! And again, the opportunity to raise public awareness slid right on by. So I left him a voicemail, did further research, left another voicemail, you get the idea. I was excited, so sue me.
This incident happened in a small town where a lot of citizens are volunteer firefighters. They’re all trained in CPR, which IMHO should be the second big take-away in this story. CPR SAVES LIVES, AND YOU CAN LEARN IT. It’s easy, there’s really nothing to it, and there is no substitute. For this person to survive, the patient care baton had to be handed off successfully hundreds of times; bystanders, volunteer firefighters, ground ambulance, dispatchers, police, flight dispatchers, doctors at Mayo, air ambulance, individuals doing CPR. Everybody had to communicate and cooperate. No division between rescuers and citizens, and everyone’s a winner. Unfortunately bin Laden got killed at the same time, so nobody cared.
I is for Ipswich, MA. This video is pretty self-explanatory. Even the title sums it right up — “People Die.” That’s what I’m raging about here. People die when this shit doesn’t work right. We, the people, need to get with the program. The progressive media needs to grab stuff like this and run with it. This video wraps it up nicely and puts a pretty bow on it. We could get every reasonably sane conservative in America to vote progressive if we started working this angle.
N is for New Jersey. This post is getting long, and I have so much to say about this. I’ll do a separate post on Chris “Chrissie Walnuts” Christie. (Great job here by TYT.) Any progressive strategist who wants to take him down, just drop me a line. He has raped the people of New Jersey by way of their public safety (and education). If you want to shoot a flare at Governor Hindenburg, you know where to find me. I’ll hook you right up. I wish they would run him for president, I’d filet him.
O is for Obion County. This one is just too difficult for me to write about right now, sorry. I truly appreciate and respect both Cenk Uygur and Keith Olbermann. The world is a better place with them in it. But their coverage of the Cranick fire in Obion County, TN did really bad things to my PTSD. I’ll address that in a separate post when I can do it justice. It’s still not OK.
Z is for Zadroga. It’s appropriate that this item starts with a Z, because it’s the final word, the mother of all slam dunks. Jon Stewart had hang time on this, shattered the backboard. Anthony Wiener booted some people in the balls about it on C-SPAN, too. I don’t know why it takes a comedian to move the progressive agenda forward, but progressive media types need to mount up and ride. The Republicans tried to weasel out of paying for healthcare for 9/11 first responders. That should really be the last conversation we ever need to have. Progressive media did cover this, notably The Young Turks among others, and the coverage they gave it was good. But the first responders are still fighting for cancer coverage, and months roll by between media coverage of this topic. This story should never fall out of the news cycle for one goddamned minute until we get real world “change we can believe in.” Epic. Fucking. Fail.