Bullshit, I’m Staying Awake

October 2, 2010

Since the most exceptional nation on earth (we insist) seems about to turn the ship of state over to the crew that steered us into an iceberg, we ought to think about what we should expect if the mid-term election gives Republicans control again. That done, whether we ever insist we’re exceptional again is a long shot.

Incredibly, in spite of the fact that they offer no ideas for keeping us afloat other than those that drove us into the iceberg in the first place, many of us think we should return control to the Republican Party’s exceptional wrecking party.  Maybe this is due to the hypnotic effect of Mitch McConnell uttering “no” into microphones every time our president or any Democrat comes up with anything that might make the average person’s life a little better.

No! (your eyelids are getting heavy). No! (you’re feeling sleepy). No! (relax, drowse). No! (snooze). No! (sleep, sleep. . .).  —Ok, now listen America, when you wake and hear the magic word “socialist” any fabulous lie will become true. You’ll believe our president is an illegitimate foreign-born Muslim —his birth certificate will be invisible no matter how many times it pops up on a screen. You’ll believe the corporate class has only your best interests at heart, that belligerence is the most effective national attitude, that the unemployed really don’t want to work (even yourself), that the free market actually is free, that your health care insurance is best placed in the hands of corporations whose legal dictate is to make as much profit as possible in any way they can (like challenging benefits), and that faith-based government will enhance your liberty (do not think “theocracy”).

And No! seems to have worked.  After eight years of saying Yes! to anything that enhanced the well-being of those whose being was already pretty well; after eight years of the redistribution of wealth from the middle-class to the rich; eight years of moving from surplus to huge deficit; eight years of war, crumbling infrastructure and general decline; eight years of assault on democratic government; eight years of hugely irresponsible spending; after leaving a huge bag of dog shit on the White House porch for Obama to step in and clean up, followed by just two years of attempted Democratic triage we’re about to turn things back over to the shysters who burned us. Only hypnotism could explain it. 

So, given what looks inevitable, let’s return to our original thought and take stock of what the looming Republican victory in November could bring.

First (since they’ve been threatening it from the day it was instituted) Republicans will start hacking away at Social Security and turning its pieces over to the private sector —to deregulated corporations like the now defunct Enron (employee retirement funds kaput!), or one-time financial giant Lehman Brothers (now bankrupt).

Second, they’ll try to defund or repeal the new health-care legislation. We can expect a campaign to return our health over lock-stock-and-barrel to corporations whose concern for our coronary arteries will be entirely profit-driven (and you thought government death-panels were bad).

A defunding of the Recovery Act will be attempted too. After all, the Republican’s core constituency (the most wealthy) don’t need recovery; they’ve been doing quite well; no slump in the Lexus business. And what better way to povertize the middle class and make the poor poorer than to run us further into a hole by axing any program that might be a relief to the least among us –but what’s new? In fact, the Republican’s new Pledge to America is not new at all, it’s a return to exactly the policies that put us here.

And don’t forget science. Given conservative rhetoric there’s every reason to anticipate government efforts to discredit evolution (and science) in favor of policies favoring Adam and Eve. For example, Christine O’Donnell, Republican senate candidate (Delaware), on the Bill Maher Show a few years ago asked, “Why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?” Forget how this shows an abysmal ignorance of the theory of evolution; think only of what her unembarrassed display of scientific stupidity might mean for science-based national education. With “thinkers” like O’Donnell we’ll soon be the dunce of nations left in the dust of Chinese science.

What’s more, if electing Christine O’Donnell is any hint of the breadth of the latest Republican thought about government’s reach, sexual self-pleasuring might become illegal. O’Donnell came out squarely against it in an article in 1998. Even if there are not new laws governing this very private practice, what further invasive legislation might we expect from Bible-oriented national lawmakers, federally sanctioned stoning?

Which brings us to 5 Republican candidates (Rand Paul, Christine O’Donnell, Sharon Angle, Ken Buck, Joe Miller) who believe that even in cases of rape and incest a woman should be denied the right of sovereignty over her own body. A woman’s body is not hers, they implicitly argue, it belongs to the state. 

Finally, does anyone expect discrimination against gays to diminish under Republican dominance? No, we can expect attempts to further marginalize homosexuals as Republicans follow the dictates of iron-age religious scriptures over the constitution.

In general, with GOPers in power it’s not hard to envision even more government for the wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle classes.  As economist Robert Reich recently wrote, Republicans will push for a return to the social Darwinism of the 19th and early 20th century. What Republicans want to do is what Herbert Hoover (R) called for in the lead-up to the great depression: “Liquidate labor, liquidate stocks, liquidate the farmer, liquidate real estate. It will purge the rottenness out of the system. People will work harder, lead a more moral life.”

I can imagine Tea-Partiers uttering these same words. But in current Republican terms, Reich says, this comes out “shrink government, cut the federal deficit, reduce the national debt, and balance the budget. (But) we all know what happened after 1929, at least until president Roosevelt (D) reversed course.” FDR was loathed by conservatives but the programs he instituted helped us out of a depression. 

The next time you hear a Republican say “socialist”, you say, “Bullshit, I’m staying awake!” 

by Jim Culleny


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