Monday, January 31, 2011

Hate and Oblivion

After party, Oregon woman finds
hickey on husband’s neck, stabs
him to death with kitchen knife.

Do they really hate us? I’m not talking about Arabs, al Qaida, Muslims, or people in the Middle East in general,, I’m wondering about Republicans. Representative Tom McClintock, a Republican from California, has introduced a bill, H.R. 421, that specifies if the debt limit is not raised and we have to pay off our debts, we will have to pay China first, and Social Security recipients later. I have no idea if such a bill will get anywhere, but it set me to thinking about this perennial problem. I have concluded, for the moment at least, that Republicans probably do not actually hate us, they are apparently just oblivious when it comes to us, by “us” I mean ordinary working people and citizens in general who are not part of the elite, and who do not have golden parachutes wrapped in platinum and studded with diamonds, rubies, and other precious stones. I suspect this bill is really just another attack on Social Security rather than a serious attempt to so right by the Chinese. One reason I think so is because Social Security has nothing to do with the deficit in the first place, so making Social Security recipient s pay for our debt is basically ridiculous. But do not forget, Republicans have relentlessly been trying to do away with Social Security ever since FDR managed to get it passed some 75 years ago.

It is by no means just Social Security Republicans have been opposed to all these years. They have always been against labor unions. They are against unemployment insurance (think of the 99ers now with no benefits at all). They are opposed to food stamps, they would like to reduce veterans benefits, and they have encouraged corporations to move jobs overseas seeking cheap labor, just as they have encouraged illegal immigration for the same reason. They are always opposed to a minimum wage. In general they are opposed to spending money on public education or the arts and even on public broadcasting. They are opposed to universal health care, believing, apparently, that only the wealthy are entitled to health. In short, iIt seems they are opposed to anything and everything that might actually benefit ordinary people. Even so, I find it difficult to believe they actually hate us, I suspect they are somehow just completely oblivious to the fate of ordinary folk. What, for example, does McClintock think would happen to the millions of people who depend on Social Security while he worries about the Chinese? Republicans also seem oblivious to the fate of the so-called 99ers, who, having exhausted their 99 weeks of unemployment benefits have now simply been thrown to the wolves. And do they have any idea of how difficult it is for families to try to exist on minimum wages? Are they unaware that millions of our citizens now live in poverty, that American children are often going hungry? It seems to me that on the rare occasions they might actually think of us, their thoughts are tinged with contempt. We are too lazy to work, prefer unemployment, and expect the government to support us. But they don’t hesitate to support corporations, agribusiness, tax breaks for billionaires, and what have you. Their record on these matters is quite clear, they are not on our side, so to speak.

Hate, of course, is a strong word and may not be the best expression of their feelings toward us. It is quite clear, however, they are not concerned with our welfare and apparently would not care if we just disappeared through starvation, disease, accidents, or what have you, except for enough of us to perform cheap labor where required. I suppose it is probably not possible to hate someone that is not really part of your “life space,” or someone you merely hold in contempt. Hate is probably reserved for those who have enough potential power to harm you in some way. We, being largely harmless (except on rare occasions when they just can’t take it any more) are not objects of hate. I doubt the Tsars hated their serfs, or Plantation Owners hated their slaves, or that Marie Antoinette hated the poor. I have long wondered how the Republican Party has survived for so long when there are so many more of us than there are of them, but even now many ordinary Americans vote predictably against their own interests.

H. L. Mencken once said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people.” Republicans seem to understand precisely the lack of intelligence of the American voting public and have managed to harness it to good use.

In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination.
Mark Twain

Cave bears became extinct apparently about 27,500 years ago.

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