So, Sunday night and I am watching the Patriot’s game while looking through the news. Of course, the imminent shutdown of the US government is the top national story. In the story, I discover that in fact the House Republicans would be happy to sign the spending bill. All they ask is to defund the Health Care Reform Act, to take away some regulations on businesses, to make more tax cuts, and to put in an oil pipeline.
After having lived through so many of these GOP stageshows…
After having watched sequester cuts rob me of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own
a home for my seriously disabled granddaughter to grow old in…
After seeing my tiny food stamp allotment disappear because of further cuts…
After being told that the medically ordered ensure won’t be covered by the
government anymore unless I give up eating completely,
And after years of going out as a lay Franciscan religious and seeing first hand the despair, the too thin arms and legs, the huddled shivering forms with 3 sweaters on, the people living in cars, tents, and sheds, the open grangenous wounds, the beautiful minds laid waste for lack of some anti-depressants and a counselor….
No, after all of this I can no longer raise enough energy to rise up from my seat, grab the phone, and start calling the young woman who rose from glorified gopher to state Attorney General in a heartbeat so quick that, had she been a Democrat, would have been the subject of editorials that would make the cause of Muskie’s tears that winter day in the 1970’s seem like the scribblings of a kindergarten kid.
I can not reach for the handset, and call this woman who turned an accidental promotion and short unremarkable tenure as AG into an amazingly large amount of donations from special interests groups like the NRA, which catapaulted her into a Washington Senate seat.
I already am paralysed by the sad knowledge, born of experience, that she will not and can not tell her fellow party members to stop this useless peacock preening, this impotent flashing of gang colors and guns.
I sit, frozen in frustration, and the thought comes to my mind…
Why on earth do tea party politicians think it is ok to throw a pipeline into the spending bill?
That makes even less sense than this business they are up to with the Health Care Reform Act!
The same tv-channel news-website that I was reading just in the last week ran an article about how the costs for HCRA are coming in much less than what was antipipated. Doesn’t anyone remember Medicare part D? Everyone was saying the sky would fall in if we let people on Medicare have prescription drug coverage…and what happened? By the second year rates stabilized, and people on medicare stopped dying so fast! Millions of people were able to eat, heat their homes, and inject money into the economy because they had more cash! Thousands of people made homeless by the high cost of medications were able to afford rent!
In my county alone there are 7, 000 human beings with no health insurance. Not only will the vast majority of them be able to get insurance and health care, but people who are low income but currently pay a fortune for private policies will be able to qualify for Medicaid and have breathing room in their budget to pay rent, own a car, go back to school, get better careers, pay their child support, and eat! Multiply that accross the country!
No one is even paying attention to the fact that when 7, 000 people in my county can actually get an annual physical they will create a ton of jobs for doctors, nurses, medical assistants, lab and blood couriers, lab technicians, pharmacists, pharmacy assistants, and all the support staff and executive staff that will be needed for all those health care professionals. Guess what? Each one of those new jobs will pay into social security and many like the doctors, nurses, and pharmacists will pay income taxes!
Just here in my county there are something like 100+ veterans looking for jobs to support themselves and their families! Multiply THAT accross all the country! If Obama had named it the Veterans ReEmployment Act, the GOP would be trying to take the credit for coming up with the idea.
So, we have a spending bill, based on draconian sequester cuts, that will at least keep the government open even though it gives way too much money to people like Haliburton and Dick Cheney while at the same time taking food from poor children and leaving little old ladies freezing in the cold. We have a validly passed law that is already going into effect regardless of what congress does this week which will give millions the ability to go to a doctor instead of just an ER. It will create thousands of jobs, and allow many veterans to gain employment.
And the tea party wants?
An oil pipeline and to shut down the government just to be able to say to their donors…folks like Haliburten and Dick Cheney….We did what you paid us to do.
If you aren’t outraged you aren’t paying attention…
It didn’t used to be like this. Republicans I got to know were exceedingly frugal with taxpayer money, and most were beholden to either a minister, pope, or prophet to stand publicly and say some humans didn’t belong to some classes. However, none of them avoided the reality that sometimes bad things happen to good people, sometimes bad people leave kids, parents, and siblings behind with no resources, and sometimes faceless corporations really need a moral code imposed on them.
Food stamps so poor people could eat, fuel assistance so people didn’t freeze to death, and regulators to check and make sure the disaster plan did not account for sea lions but did account for crawfish were understood to be things that made the world better. Oh, they would quibble about amounts, or what kinds of paperwork each thing required, but that was settled by negotiation. Sometimes the GOP got a bit more, sometimes the Democrats, but for the most part people got fed, homes got heated, and none of the companies that had to hire someone to correct disaster plans went bankrupt doing it.
The change started when Reagan was elected, and roared into the living rooms just about the point that Nancy figured out that Ron honestly did not know what he ate for lunch. The Christian Coaltition jumped up into view, raised a lot of money, and spent all of it putting people into office who consulted a KJV bible before even attempting to vote.
Soon, Ronny was having his speechwriters take several seperate stories, feed them to a raggedy mutt with malnutrition, and take the inevitable vomit to create the Myth of the Chicago Welfare Mom. Not only did he pacify the legislators who were led by a now disgraced Newt “woman? Oh yeah, that woman” Gingrich, Regan also managed to put every bit of acting experience into the telling and convinced a generation of conservatives that the myth was true. To this day snopes.com has regular traffic to the page explaining that there never was such a woman.
Along the way of course, Jerry Falwell and a whole series of other men of the cloth who ministered to conservatives sinned. Having discovered that truth was no longer important as long as you were a good actor, both sides pushed the envelope of what you could and couldn’t get away with saying on tv. While women still earned less than men and blacks still died much too young for all the wrong reasons, it was no longer socially acceptable to scapegoat them for whatever ill you were trying to avoid having to admit you caused.
As a result, the graduates of the Christian Coalition Academy turned to their bibles in search of divine inspiration. Even though many Jews had many excellent scholarly papers saying the opposite, these Christian Conservatives tore out the page with the story of Sodom, picked a convient erroneous description of what the story was about, and pointed the speechwriters and the hungry mangy dog toward the new target. The GLBTQ community counted almost as many victims from that invasion as from AIDS.
At the same time, religious communities accross the spectrum started to balkanize. The largest two, the Roman Catholic and Baptist in particular, developed subcultures that amoung other sins picket soldiers funerals, advocate vieling women, insist that our country be governed by Jesus Incarnate, and fairly regularly pronounce that great swaths of humanity are going straight to hell. It has gotten to the point that you can now often find former enemies each sitting side by side, quoting the Magesterium, the Prophet’s latest revelation, and verses from the KJV Bible to justify why oil pipelines should be part of a routine spending bill.
The result? There are now two Republican parties inhabiting the same space in time, a situation that practically screams for Dr. Who to investigate and eradicate. One is filled with decent law respecting people who really just want to know that the money is being well spent, the soldiers are being taken care of, and anyone getting a free ride has had enough trauma and tragedy that they deserve the collective pity of Americans. While they may be religious, they know there is no state religion, and that Americans can even have no religion at all but still like Mom, apple pie, and Chevy pickup trucks.
The other is a mad rabble of born again anarchists bent on forcing each line of the apocalypse to become reality in order to conjure their personal savior to show up on their schedule, uber weathy people with the moral code of Hannibal Lechter, an entire generation of fat noisy FOX viewers who can’t tell the difference between Family Guy and the Nightly News, and thousands of people who for one reason or another are bound to follow orders from one of the preeceding groups. This party is more than comfortable with driving the entire world economy off a cliff, as 1/3 are convinced they will go straight to heaven to enjoy something much better than a bunch of virgens. Another third believe that the gated communities will survive and even if death comes knocking they can pay a bribe and be all set. The final third have only the faintest understanding that when they first go off the cliff the other two will not be standing by with Jesus tickets and golden parachutes. They also have little understanding that death may be any kind of end as opposed to a funny tv cartoon charecter with dating issues.
I don’t know how the first group will manage to cut the festering cancer that is made up of the second group out of the GOP. Perhaps they will follow the model of the Democrats and make life unpleasant enough that the Tea Party splits off, and like the Green party, enjoy radicalism and obscurity together. Or perhaps a massive prayer-in by the first group will effect a mass conversion to that thing called reality by the second group. I just hope they find the answer soon. I live on social security and depend on Medicare for my adult diapers. Trust me, no one wants to see a future where I am hungry, cold, homeless, and checking out your SUV for a possible bathroom.