As the threat of a government shutdown loomed last week, Congresswoman Donna Edwards (D-MD) channeled her inner Jack White to relay her party’s message to young people on the House floor. Her spoken word version of the White Stripes’ song “Effect and Cause” was a refreshing way to frame her opinion on the budget and a creative way to get the attention of young people, who arguably stand to lose the most.
Directly calling out her Republican counterparts, Edwards laid down a few verses like:
I guess you have a problem if you want to invent a contraption / First you cause a trainwreck and then you put me in traction / But first came an action and then a reaction / but you can't switch around for your own satisfaction / You burnt my house down and then got mad at my reaction
The reference was more than just an attempt to look “hip” or “cool” to her younger constituents; Edwards used the White Stripes lyrics to make some rather valid points.
“But if you’re headin’ to the grave, you don’t blame the hearse.” Edwards reminded her colleagues. To me, that's a valid commentary on lowered oversight on Wall Street and the financial disaster that followed. In other words, it's ridiculous to argue that the mistakes of the past have not been the "cause" of the problems of today.
As yet, Democrats have found it difficult to find their footing and frame their message in a way that resonates with young people.
Congresswoman Edwards’ approach is creative and youthful. Hopefully others on both ends of the political spectrum will take her lead by using such thoughtful and inventive approaches. As our friend Jack White would say, Ms. Edwards, I "salute your solution".