Saturday, April 23, 2011

Great Ideas?

Yes sir, Mr. Bubblehead, you are absolutely right, for such an egregious and stupid offense I certainly deserve to be punished. Having been suitably chastised, I will force myself to stand in the corner for 15 minutes (not meant to be a factual statement). And while (not) doing so I will reflect on the kinds of people who would:

Make it illegal for people on Public Assistance to have more than $20 in their pockets at any time (Minnesota). Apparently the original suggestion was for them to have no money at all in their pockets, but someone pointed out this would make it difficult for them even to pay bus fares. I guess they would stop individuals known to be on assistance and search them. Maybe they would just do random searches of anyone who looked poor?

Making it a rule of some kind that Foster children use their state funding clothing allowance only in thrift stores (Michigan). Presumably they would be given gift cards in lieu of cash that could only be used at the Salvation Army or other thrift stores. As the legislator who suggested this said, “My father told me that when you walk down the street no one knows where you bought your clothes.” I guess you would have to have receipts to prove where your clothes originated?

Then there are those who would do away with Roe vs. Wade. It seems there have been 916 measures of various kinds in 49 states that would place severe restrictions on a woman’s right to have an abortion (the law of the land). Some of these also have to do even with the practice of contraception. It is interesting, I think, that all of the above suggestions or attempts have been made by member s of a party that claims to not want the government interfering in their rights.

Of course these people are also members of a party that now features an “Alliance for the Separation of School and State.” That is, they are opposed to public education and want to see it replaced by privatized schools with no state funding (all the better to indoctrinate you, my dears). Free public elementary school education has been a feature of our democracy for a very long time. There are similar ideas about higher education that many think should use a more business-like approach to education (I believe this is actually happening in some Universities and Colleges), so much for academic freedom, the arts and humanities.

There is also a movement in which some religious groups are joining with corporations to fight environmental regulations. I guess they are referred to as “Slayers of the Green Dragon,” the Green Dragon being environmental regulations. I have always found it virtually impossible to believe that anyone could possibly be anti-environmental, but those interested only in short-term profits seem oblivious to the dangers of slowly despoiling our fragile earth.

Some places are apparently serious about doing away with child labor laws under the claim they are unconstitutional and should be a matter of “States Rights.” This would of course return child labor regulations back to where they were in the 1920’s, when child labor was shamelessly exploited for being cheap. Who needs healthy, happy children anyway?

Of course these are the same people who are opposed to collective bargaining, unemployment benefits, minimum wages, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, aid to the handicapped, taxes, and anything else that could conceivably benefit the working class and the poor. I reflect on all this and I try to convince myself these people are merely misguided, rather than selfish, greedy, uncaring, hard-hearted, short-sighted, ignorant, and at war with the middle-class, but I always fail.

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