Sunday, January 06, 2013

How? Why?

I was asking myself, “How could anyone vote against the Violence Against Women Act,” and that led to, how could anyone vote against unemployment insurance, food stamps, living wages, health care, Social Security, Aid for disasters, and etc., etc . I suddenly realized that was the wrong question, for how someone votes against such things is basically simple, you just vote a simple three letter word, either aye or nay, or you fill out a secret ballot that accomplishes the same thing. It’s very easy. You don’t even have to know anything about what you are voting for, nor do you have to associate it with the living people it may be going to either help or harm. Voting for your “principles” in the abstract, disassociated from actual persons, does not even require questions of conscience.
 The more important question is obviously why do people vote against such seemingly worthwhile measures? I confess I cannot answer this question, certainly not in most cases, as the explanations I hear rarely if ever make sense to me. In the case of the Violence against Women Act, for example, it would seem the only reason to vote against it apparently had to do with the fact that it focused on Immigrant and American Indian women. That only makes sense if you suppose that American Indian and Immigrant women are somehow less important than other women and that raping them is relatively unimportant. I can’t imagine those who voted against this Act would admit publicly to those reasons but what other reasons could they have? Perhaps because they thought it would cost money, an even more questionable and disgusting reason.
Why would anyone vote against aid for disaster victims, an unprecedented vote, given that such aid has always been given in the past? Some have suggested that prejudice against the Northeast may have something to do with it. Maybe that is true. But again, the arguments have to do with the cost. Of course the cost of aid for Katrina or most other such disasters has never really been raised, except after the fact. The same standard could have been applied in the New York, New Jersey, Connecticut cases, but it wasn’t. It seems that disaster aid to the Southern States has always been quickly forthcoming but this case involving the Northeast is somehow different, why I do not truly know, but my suspicious mind is at work on it.
 The arguments involving “costs” has raised the issue of human hypocrisy to what is probably unprecedented levels. You will have noticed that Republicans cling to the claim the national debt is the single greatest problem facing us and demand an end to further spending at every opportunity. They are so obsessed with this idea they may be willing to even damage the credit rating of the U.S. and even the world-wide economy, a rather strange idea that would, of course, make things far worse than they are. They constantly rail against President Obama and the Democrats for being “big spenders” and conveniently forget that most of our massive debt can be traced to their own party under the  leadership of Bush/Cheney. Their two unfunded “wars,” a massive give-away to the Pharmaceutical Industry, and massive tax breaks for the already wealthiest individuals and corporations brought about the debt in the first place. Now their new found faith in an austerity program, if allowed to succeed, will make it impossible to recover from their destructive behavior. This will please the Tea Party folk who seem to relish the destruction of government at all levels. You might recall Cheney’s claim that “Reagan proved the national debt didn’t matter” (or words to that effect). Have they ever apologized for being so wrong? Of course not, they want to enshrine Saint Ronnie (who began our disastrous fall) on Mt. Rushmore.
I confess I do not know why it is Republicans are against virtually everything that might make life easier and better for ordinary working people, unemployment insurance, health care, minimum wages, contraception, abortion, food stamps, violence against women, unions, whatever. This is a new breed of Republicans, they were not always like that. Indeed, they used to try to do the right thing by everyone (even though their ideas of the right thing might have been different at times). They used to be a genuine political party rather than a conglomeration of greedy bribe takers doing the bidding for those on the forefront of exploitation, short-term gains, middle class and environmental destruction. As they can no longer be trusted with the public interest we need to find ways to govern without them in so far as that might be possible. Perhaps after the next election in 2014 we might mercifully be rid of them.

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