Chestnuts roasting on an open fire…
Sometimes it takes a good visualization to truly understand what is transpiring around us. Most Americans at the moment, however, are busy concluding their holiday shopping and planning the remaining family days of the year, days hopefully filled with festive food and good cheer. But then some of us enjoy a good read or rant, if you will, on the body politic and its recurring dysfunctional behavior.
There’s nothing like a good argument to get the juices flowing, especially when the chill factor outside leaves something to be desired. This past week brought us another round of ridiculous posturing on Capitol Hill, but then we did survive the Mayan “apocalypse” that was slated for the winter solstice. I suspect the GOP believes they had something to do with that, too, but I doubt if government deadlock had anything to do with stalling the inevitable apocalypse that could signal our demise.
What is disturbing this holiday season, however, is the true rancor that pervades any Internet political discussion. Bipolar confrontation is still the fashion of the day. Neither side wants to give an inch. Democrats seem willing to engage in discourse, but the unhappy Right seems determined to repeat campaign lies ad nauseam, as if they somehow fell on deaf ears before the election. The same superficial arguments that lacked any evidence or support keep flowing from their lips, as if constant repeating in a Goebbels-esque manner will make people believe in the “Big Lie.”
My experience has been that these political quacks have no intention of educating or contributing anything worthwhile. Their sole purpose is to irritate others by jerking their collective chains, something akin to the person in high school that enjoyed ripping wings off of a fly or dissecting a frog with abundant glee. Our society is made up of all types, and diversity is not just about economic viability or the color of one’s skin. These folks are found on the extreme ends of the bell curve and actually like their “stuck place” in the universe.
If these ranters, who tend to be conservative Tea Party advocates, have the time to devote to such meaningless activities, they apparently are not bothered by any financial imperative to care for themselves or their families, either by inheritance or dumb luck. Their lack of compassion is palpable. Yet these non-contributors attract controversy and notable press coverage, since ratings mean everything in today’s sensational media, where the masses are drawn to the blood potential of gladiatorial combat.
The anonymity of the Internet also contributes to this classless debate activity. It takes little courage to face off with an opponent if you do not have to look him squarely in the eye or make a hasty retreat when you are clearly outgunned and outnumbered. Hopefully the New Year will bring a higher level of quality to comments in the blogosphere. In that vein, it would be nice if these stale Republican “chestnuts” could be roasted to oblivion, once and for all:
Myth #1: President Obama has contributed more to the deficit than any president in history.
In actuality, he has contributed very little to the current deficit, except stimulus spending to stop job-loss dynamics from George W. Bush, a one-million-a-month positive change that was welcome. The bulk of the problem is excess government spending approved—but unfunded—by the GOP. Stop arguing that the problem belongs to Obama and start taking responsibility for your prior fiscal mismanagement;
Myth #2: Obama could have done anything he wanted in the first two years of his term in office.
Those of us with memories do recall the constant filibustering by Mitch McConnell and his Senate cronies to block any attempt at accomplishing anything to correct GOP mismanagement. The need for a “super majority” (i.e., sixty votes in the Senate) for basic governing is not an acceptable negotiating tactic.
Myth #3: “We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem in Washington.”
If Republicans had not spent billions on the military like drunken sailors for decades, bent over backward to reward every lobbying firm in DC, or cut taxes when there was no justifiable reason for doing so, then we could talk about the nature of the so-called “problem” in our nation’s capital. Distracting the spotlight of accountability with cute phrases does nothing to fix what ails us all—we all must pay a price, with an emphasis on fairness.
Myth #4: The problem is “entitlements.”
These programs are self-funded by law and are not in immediate danger. They do not contribute to the deficit. Corporate entitlements, however, do cause budget problems. Fix those for a change, if you are serious about reform.
There are several more myths that could well be piled onto the trash heap of history, but you get the picture. When obfuscation is the primary objective, one must look in the opposite direction from where the wily magician has directed our attention. The GOP is not about fairness. They act like a dictatorship, bent on acquiring power at any cost and by any means. The tools of the trade are fear, anger and misdirection, yet these leaders of supposed high integrity would have us believe that they only acting out of a love for our country. NOT! Money, greed and power are their idols. They may claim that evolution is a hoax, but survival of the fittest has real meaning in their dogma.
Sometimes Hollywood gets it right in a movie about politics. There have been many over the years, but one of my favorites is “Bulworth,” a satirical comedy produced in 1998 starring and in the leading roles. I watched it once again last evening and was stunned at the timeliness of the arguments presented and the inability of the electorate to be heard over the backroom dealings of concentrated wealth in America. It is laughable in its delivery, poignant in its caricatures and sad in its conclusion, much like the situation that we face today.
The American Dream has been in a corporate vice for the past fifty years. Hopefully, corporate leaders will see the error of their ways. Killing the golden goose—our once affluent middle class—will not produce enough eggs to go around for all to survive in the future. Einstein likened insanity to doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different conclusion. It is time for sanity to prevail. Stop with the myths and useless rhetoric. Get on with taking responsibility and acting like adults for a change. The time is ripe for New Year’s resolutions. Think before you speak. Lean Forward!
References: Embedded links provided, but points made are primarily the opinion of the author.