Monday, August 29, 2011

The Platform?

Ssdpctsg&p. What does it mean? As it has no vowels I would like to believe it might be a Polish word meaning “hope” or “progress” or something positive. Obviously it is not a word in any language and has no meaning as it is. It is an acronym for what I think the planks for the Republican platform will be for the coming election, as I understand them at present: stop spending, deregulate, privatize, cut taxes, shrink government, and pray. This last element is very important because without it the result will surely be disaster (with it, it may be an even greater disaster). As it is unpronounceable as is I suggest referring to it simply as the “Disaster Platform.”

It would seem obvious that we cannot just stop spending, unless that is, we are willing to condemn millions of people more into poverty and misery (Republicans seems perfectly willing to do this as near as I can tell). If you have been paying attention for the past few years you know what deregulation and privatization have done to us (you simply cannot deregulate and privatize basic human requirements like water, air, food, medical care, energy, education, prisons, and so on without disastrous consequences for the public (again, Republicans seems perfectly prepared to do this). Cutting taxes at the very moment when the exact opposite is required should be an obvious no-no (but not to Republicans). Cutting government similarly cannot be done as readily or easily as Republicans seem to think (unless, again, you are willing to do without things like highways, police and fire protection, free elementary education, Medicare and Medicaid, and etc.). If this is the Republican platform for 2012, which it seems to me in general it is, I believe it portends a very dismal outcome for our future.

But then you have to consider the various means by which they would bring this about. They have, of course, already started, they began the moment President Obama was elected. First, and continuing, the “roviation:” he was not born in America, he’s a Muslim, he’s a socialist, he’s a Kenyan, he must be an “other” of some kind, he’s afraid of the generals, he’s weak on Foreign Policy, he’s not a leader, and etc. Accompanying these various attempts to denigrate him were the racist cartoons: he’s a witch doctor, a cannibal, a clown, etc. Then there was/is the disrespect, “you lie!” (can you imagine anyone saying this in Congress to a White President). The next step was to announce they would not cooperate and would say “no” to everything, which they have done religiously, even refusing to cooperate on bills and such they originated themselves. Having bribed and cheated their way into several Governerships they have now mounted coordinated attacks on organized labor, on “Obamacare,” abortion, and, more importantly on voting rights, targeting those precise groups that might vote democratic, young people, old people, minorities, and so on, unconscionable attacks on the basic right to vote.

It seems inevitably the case that when you don’t like the President or his administration the cry of “State’s Rights” is increasingly heard, the Federal government comes under attack. Unfortunately it has never been entirely or precisely clear just what rights states have or ought to have. Nor is it always clear what rights they want to have. Different states want different things, some probably want segregated schools, others want their own health care, or no health care, some want to hang people, some want to electrocute them, some don’t want capital punishment at all. But not everything they want is something that others may or may not despise. I have little doubt that some states would reinstate Jim Crow laws in an instant if they thought they could, segregated schools, facilities, and so on. Some want citizens to be able to carry concealed weapons into bars and even churches, some do not. Some want to do away with environmental protections entirely, some would do away with endangered species, and so on and on. I personally have little doubt there may even be some who would go back to hanging people indiscriminately, unregulated lynch mobs like there were “in the good ol’ days.” Personally I am very skeptical of state’s rights for just these reasons (and in fact it is because of abuses the Federal government intervened in the first place). I suppose there might be some areas in which states could decide for themselves but with respect to important matters, like human and civil rights, I think Federal guidelines are appropriate. Frankly, I think it is rather silly to allow Gay marriages in one state but not another, or abortions in one but not another, or 18 year-olds to drink in one state but 21 year-olds in others, or why some states should have kindergartens but not others, and so on. I see no reason why there should be such unnecessary, complicating, and often petty differences. Furthermore, as rivers and forests do not begin and end at state boundaries I don’t see how different standards could be applied to river traffic, fish, water, and so on. It seems to me we are one nation and the rules and regulations, laws and such should be fairly standardized. Besides, I suspect if some states have more rights than others, and demand more, it will lead to talks of secession. In extreme circumstances I can imagine having to have visas to visit other states, or special state passports, restrictions on movement and living arrangements, political or religious affiliations, and on and on. Basically I think states’ rights, if carried too far, would result in chaos if not potential civil wars, over boundaries, water rights, civil liberties, and more. We should, after all these years, spend some serious time establishing just what rights can be left to states and which either cannot or should not. But we’ll probably just continue arguing about it endlessly. It’s the American way!

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