Apparently in Washington these days, membership organizations who dare to express the views of the average citizens they represent, are nothing more than selfish thugs. The Washington Post offered this incredible interpretation of advocacy and citizen participation in our democracy by demonizing those who don't share the Post's view that the middle-class hasn't already sacrificed enough in this economy.
According to the Washington Post's description of proper advocacy, any average citizen who lives outside the beltway and pay dues to organizations -- like AARP, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare or countless others who share their opinions on issues like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid -- should expect those organizations to keep those opinions to themselves. It's hard to understand why a group representing millions of seniors, which expresses a viewpoint held by the vast majority of Americans of all ages, would face character assassination in the opinion pages of the Washington Post. Yet when a Wall Street billionaire invests his fortune to run his own ads, buy media coverage, fund Washington think-tanks and persuade lawmakers that cutting middle-class benefits is the only road to fiscal responsibility, not only is the Washington Post silent, it's complicit.
See how democracy works these days?
Americans have every right to rely on groups like ours and AARP to be their voice on Capitol Hill. There is nothing irresponsible about trying to influence the outcome of a political or legislative campaign by advocating on behalf of a position. In fact, the power to persuade has no stronger ally than the force of huge numbers of voters bound together by a set of core convictions, and they have every right to make their desires known at the voting booth.
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare has not always agreed with AARP on legislative proposals, but here we stand not just with AARP, but with the clear majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents who oppose cutting Social Security and Medicare to reduce our national debt. These middle-class Americans are fed up with a disconnected Congress and complicit media who ignore the fact that in Washington, 'shared sacrifice' and 'balanced approach' have become code for expecting everyday Americans to compound their sacrifice in the hopes that our nation's corporations and wealthy might also be asked to give up a tax break here or there. The middle-class and poor in our nation have sacrificed enough.
In politics you know you've gotten under an adversary's skin when he or she gets personal. And it's crystal clear that the Washington Post is an adversary of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. At least this latest screed appeared on its editorial page and wasn't disguised as news as was another recent Post piece.
Reminding Congress of what the people they represent want should in fact be viewed as a valuable service. In its recent advertising, AARP did just that. Apparently the message was delivered so effectively, the Washington Post felt it necessary to attack the messenger in order to undermine their message.