Thursday, July 11, 2013

They Really DO Want to Block Almost Everything

Are you a liberal still scratching your head in bafflement and disbelief about the latest round of GOP obstructionism in the House of Representatives, or in state legislatures?
Still wondering why they don’t “want the government to work”? 

Time to wake up to the sober realization that a great many GOP politicians, especially neo-con and Tea Party folks, really don’t want the government to work, at least not in any of the ways we got used to in the 20th century.  Furthermore, they really don’t care who gets hurt, because they are hell-bent-for-leather to “make things right again.” Having ground Congress to a halt, they're now aiming to enact their agenda in states all over the country.

Back to 1890—or is it 1800?

So, what’s “right”? Consider the conversation I had a couple of years back with a colleague, an intelligent, very wealthy uber-conservative Republican. The proper role of the federal government, he insisted, was 1) national defense, 2) maintaining civil order when a state might not be able to do so.  Anything more, including Federal investment in infrastructure, was “financially unsustainable” and would eventually “ruin the country.”  No social services of any kind, no way, no how. That’s up to families. Or, if necessary, private charity. Period.

In other words, the U.S. has gone astray ever since the days when Andrew Jackson railroaded through a Federally-funded and organized effort to build a highway to the “Northwest” (aka Ohio, Indiana and Illinois) for the settlers to move into new territory. Much of the going-astray due to allowing non-property owners to vote, making the government prey the passions of those who don't have a "real stake" in the society.

I’m not suggesting that all Republicans are this draconian; I’ve got other Republican friends who lament that “the party has deserted me.” But similar visions drive the libertarian, Tea Party, and neo-con Republican ideologies, with various additions such as maintaining conservative Christian morality. The conservative wing of the GOP has been out to “starve the beast” of government since the beginning of the Reagan era—and they are actually making good progress.

Hearts in a cage of gold

Don’t be baffled by what seems hard-heartedness about the deprivation caused by things like the “sequestration.”  It’s brought to you by the same folks who feel that the ups and downs of an unregulated marketplace are “necessary to cleanse the system.”  “You have to break eggs to make an omelette.”  Sink or swim. I did it, so anybody can.

You don’t have to make this stuff up. This is their rhetoric, as in Romney’s infamously leaked comment about half of the American public—blacks, whites, latinos, the poor and the middle class— being moochers. It’s their talk and their increasingly successful walk.
When will push-back come? 

Push back must come from those whose future is being undermined, and needs to be multi-racial and multi-class. It will involve people in the streets and the statehouses, like the thousands in front of the North Carolina legislature on “justice Mondays,” and the 700 who have been arrested so far. All us “moochers,” who actually think Social Security, Medicare,  Head Start, affordable housing and so on are good ideas are faced with determined people dedicated to a re-creating a "sink or swim" world: every man, woman and child for himself.

To modify a famous saying of Ben Franklin: “We’re in this together; we either hang together, or they’ll hang us out to dry separately.”

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