I have been developing some thoughts about how the “public health” movement is dramatically increasing as a threat to both people’s respect for government in general and support for the Democratic Party in particular. (“Public health” with the scare quotes, refers to the oppressive and moralizing nanny-state political movement whose actions actually do little for real public health, and sometimes are quite harmful to it.) Now I have to scrap the bit I wrote that notes that though “public health” is closely aligned with elements of the Democratic Party, we would not expect support for this anti-people, oppressive special interest from Elizabeth Warren, the Senator from Occupy (ok, properly, …from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, but I am focusing on political, rather than map, geography), and her wing of the party.
A lot of vapers have recently responded to CASAA’s call-to-action asking them to write to their elected national-level representatives about the arbitrary and capricious regulations the FDA is proposing for e-cigarettes. [Note that I am posting this and related material at my personal blog, not my CASAA blog. This is a personal project and these are my personal views; CASAA does not engage in partisan or election-related activity.] Several of these letter-writers, whose members of congress are active supporters of the “public health” special interest got back letters — almost identical, and thus clearly coordinated — that basically recited the anti-consumer, pro-FDA, and anti-real-public-health party line from the “public health” faction. This was not shocking.
What was shocking was that one vaper recently received a letter from Senator Warren that was almost the identical party line, as recounted by David Forrest (full text of Warren’s letter at the link — it is basically indistinguishable from the letters received from the likes of Harkin/Rangel/et al.). Granted, this specific correspondent wrote to his senator under an unfortunate pseudonym and was writing specifically in support of a rather embarrassing vaping politics website, but I think it is a safe bet that the exact letter would be (presumably has been) sent by Warren in response to more appropriately constituent correspondence on the topic also. Mr. Forrest describes himself as heartbroken, and I have to agree. There is little doubt that Elizabeth Warren is one of our greatest, if not alone as the greatest, champions of the people against banks and other private oppressors. Does this letter mean that she does not extend that concern to oppression by non-corporate special interest groups (particularly those that, in this case, are just as wealthy and powerful as a major multinational corporation), or does she just not understand this issue, and so is blindly taking her cues from the pro-oppression faction in her party.
If it is the latter, maybe she can be educated. If it is the former, is it perhaps time for vapers who would normally support Warren, as well as those who support the non-progressive wing of the Democratic Party, to stand up and say “we are going to support the Republicans until you quit supporting this oppression of us”?
Naturally, that would extend beyond vapers to anyone who despises the Democratic support for the increasing power of the “public health” movement. But the Democrats would have comparatively little to lose there were it not for War on E-Cigarettes, given that most people who highly motivated as anti-“public health” are not supporters of that party. But American vapers (and other users of tobacco products, who suffer from other anti-tobacco policies) are, more or less, a cross-section of the political distribution, and thus many of them are would-be supporters of Democrats.
Yes, I am obviously well aware of the painful irony here. Professor Warren should have been made head of her Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and thus never would have needed to make any statements about e-cigarettes or the nanny state in general. But Republican officials mobilized to block her, wanting to minimize the financial protections the rest of us have against the machinations of the 1%. So she was stuck running for the Senate instead — with national support from those of us who wanted her to be in Washington to stand up for the 99%. But if she is not going to stand with the populist majority against the special interests in an area that people take much more personally than banking reform, then maybe the only response is to say “we are going to support your opponents until you stop supporting our enemies.”
It should be obvious that people care more about nanny state issues than they do about banking regulation, and with good reason. Everyone whose choices are limited by oppressive nanny policies sees how, say, an indoor vaping ban or a restriction on large sodas hurts them. While these costs might be less important to their welfare than the benefits they get from the ACA or banking reform, the latter are far more subtle. Granted, someone who appreciates the benefits of healthcare finance reform or banking regulation should probably not decide his political affiliation based on being forced to go outside to vape, but it is easy to understand why he might. Importantly, I would venture to say no one has ever decided “I will support political candidate/party X because they want to restrict vaping” (at least no one who did not already unflaggingly support X, making it moot), but many people are inclined to vote against X because of that, and probably enough to swing some elections.
Moreover, a vaper (unless he happens to be one of those who only got health insurance thanks to the ACA) is probably going to suffer more from the FDA’s proposed de facto ban of e-cigarettes than he benefitted from progressive policies. And thus might not want to support the party of Elizabeth Warren — nor even Warren’s wing of the party — so long as it continues to align with the “public health” special interest.
Perhaps it is time to organize around this point.