It is often said there is always a grain of truth in stereotypes, perhaps that is so. It might also be said for certain clichés, like “The inmates have taken over the asylum.” In this latter case I do not believe there is merely a grain of truth in it, I believe it is probably literally true, and at more than one level. For example, think of the current Republican Party as an asylum, which is seems to me at this time to be perfectly reasonable. Think of who seems to be in charge of it, the Tea Party. What sorts of things do the Tea Party members seem to believe? Well, first of all they seem to be perfectly willing to see the United States, for the first time in history, fail to pay its debts, a situation certain to have catastrophic results. This seems pretty insane to me. They also are trying to completely do away with abortions, even though abortions are perfectly legal in the U.S., and on the way they also wish to do away with Planned Parenthood, a program on which millions of women depend for their health care. In some cases they have passed laws so draconian as to send women to prison for having a miscarriage. They are opposed to same sex marriages and would like to re-establish Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. They appear to disbelieve science and deny global warming, potentially the worst disaster ever to confront humanity. Tea Party members, and Republicans in general, also tend to oppose Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance, environmental protection, education, and just about anything you can name that would benefit ordinary citizens. On the positive side (if there is one at all) they are opposed to taxes, even on millionaires and billionaires, believe the most profitable companies on earth should receive taxpayer subsidies, and also in permanent “war.” Oh, they also profess to believe in small government, think the government should stay out of people’s private lives (except in cases of abortion, consensual sex, marriage, and so on). When it comes to guns they insist they should be allowed in schools, bars, and even churches, and should be carried even without permits. They are, in short, in my opinion, crazy as Loons (actually worse, I apologize to Loons).
It is not only the Republican asylum we need to be concerned about, from a broader perspective the United States of America can also be seen as an asylum also now in charge of the inmates. Not satisfied to have two unfinished “wars” we are losing, and cannot afford, our leaders now have us embarked on still other “wars” here and there. Even though we are trillions of dollars in debt we still try to maintain an “empire” we can no longer afford, and a Pentagon and Defense Budget hundreds of times larger than any other on earth. We continue to support the manufacture of weapons that are totally unnecessary and sometimes illegal. Our government still wants to supply billions for nuclear energy in spite of the horrendous Chernobyl and Fukushima disasters, and in spite of the fact that Japan, Germany, Switzerland, China, and other countries are abandoning nuclear energy entirely. Similarly, in the face of massive oil drilling disasters, and in spite of the knowledge the oil companies have no way of coping with these disasters, we are going ahead with permits for further drilling. Although we readily call for accountability on the part of war criminals around the world, we have now agreed to never punish our own war criminals even after they have admitted their crimes. Our much vaunted “war on drugs,” on which we have wasted billions upon billions, has proven to be a dismal failure, but one we stubbornly cling to in spite of the dismal failure. This is a problem that could easily be solved simply by making drugs legal and considering the use of drugs a medical rather than a political problem, but then where would we get enough prisoners to fill up our increasingly private-for-profit prisons? We spend more money on prisons than on schools and the situation grows worse and worse every year. We have allowed our own infrastructure and schools to badly deteriorate while we destroy those in other countries so we can spend lots of money to rebuild them. While we profess equality for all and a belief in justice and fairness, while one of our “allies” blissfully engages in horrible war crimes and near genocidal practices, and shows no signs of wanting to change, we actually help them in this immoral and illegal behavior. We have a health care situation that grows increasingly expensive and out of control year after year, produces less care per dollar than any other system in the industrialized world, leaves millions and millions without health care, and insist on leaving it in the hands of private insurance companies that make their money by not providing health care to those who need it most. We do this even though there is no reason whatsoever why insurance companies should be involved in health care at all.
Our highly touted two party “democracy” has strayed so far from its intentions it is no longer a democracy at all, merely a charade put on year after year by powerful corporations that determine the news we are permitted to hear, the outcome of elections, shamefully bribe our elected officials, judges, and whoever else they need, to make sure they get the rules, regulations, and laws they want, and increasingly rule the world from mostly behind the scenes (although they are becoming so powerful and arrogant they are more and more coming out of the closet). The idea of public welfare or the public good has long since been abandoned in favor of an outrageous two class system in which the top one or two percents have the lion’s share of the wealth while the rest are once again becoming merely wage slaves and serfs. Any changes I can detect indicate things will get worse.
A pox on both of our parties! We desperately need a strong and viable third party and quickly.