Because in the last 15 years or so, Republicans have lost their souls. They’ve lost their way. They’ve gone completely fucking nuts. And the people who support this current cabal of selfish, insensitive assholes campaigning for the Republican nomination seem to have tucked away their good sense, too. Watch this:
To be fair, Ron Paul’s a libertarian so his response didn’t surprise me much. Paul would prefer that the government stays out of nearly every facet of American life. When asked during the CNN Tea Party debate what should happen to a person who failed to get health insurance, and found himself in a coma, having been dealt a major medical situation, Paul effectively offered a *kanyeshrug*. What was his advice to the hypothetical young man? Essentially, go find a church to help you…and um…good luck, sick nigga.
On some level, I respect Paul’s position. At the very least, he is genuinely libertarian. He’s not “playing politics,” as the saying goes. Paul sincerely believes that government should be hands off in the private sector. It’s a principled position — one with which I disagree, but can accept. At least the guy’s intentions are honest.
What’s disgusting though is the crowd’s reaction — their delight in a young man’s potentially fatal misfortune. And this isn’t the first time tea party types have applauded death. See Exhibit B:
These people are typically pro-life, aren’t they? Or is that only in instances where a woman’s uterus is concerned?
Conservatives tote around funny logic; they respect and revere life in the abstract, and in the womb. However, once one breaches the threshold of life outside the womb, all bets are off. You’re just as expendable an entity as anyone else. You’re on your own. And if you can’t hack it, well…
Thing is, you can totally hold that position in America. In my opinion, however, you don’t get to hold that position and be President of America. Obviously, there is much work left to do because democracy in this country remains an idea, an experiment whose kinks haven’t yet been worked all the way out. That being said, in its 235 year history, the United States has righted significant wrongs and stood in defense of some pretty stellar principles — the most important of which had to do with the dignity of humanity. The path to Social Security, for example, was neither quick nor easy, but it was driven by the notion that Americans shouldn’t be left to wither away and die once they pass the age of maximum productivity. It was driven by the principle that we actually do give a fuck about what happens to you — and by “we” I mean government, and by “you,” I mean you.
The decades between 1930 and 1980 seemed to lend much credibility to the Federalists’ assertions that the United States must be controlled by a strong central government. States play their role, but were “right” and “wrong” left for them alone to determine, I might never have been free. Again, this isn’t hyperbole to oversell a point. I’m from Alabama; in 1861, my state seceded from the Union to keep business as usual. And by “business” I mean slavery. And by “usual” I mean legal, enforced. Ongoing.
The equality-centered activism of the 60s and 70s would have meant nothing if the Federal government hadn’t played its hand, and sought to render the following words practical as opposed to toothless and merely rhetorical:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
In other words, power and opportunity should no longer be concentrated in the hands of the already powerful. Anyone so inclined gets to have a shot at a slice of the prosperity pie.
In the 80s, it seemed Ronald Reagan would make it his life’s work to discredit the role of government, famously noting that “the nine most terrifying words in the English language are ‘I’m from the Government and I’m here to help.'” Terrifying, Gipper? To whom? Surely, not to the Black students of Little Rock, Arkansas or Tuscaloosa, Alabama who were protected by the U.S. National Guard from some folks uttering truly terrifying words laced with venom and disdain for their particular hue of humankind. I suspect it also wasn’t terrifying for New Orleanians caught in the wake of Hurricane Katrina to learn that government was “here” to help. In fact, I imagine it got terrifying when government failed to.
Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma recently told some constituents that Barack Obama would be reluctant to cut certain social programs because he, “as an African-American male” received “tremendous advantages from a lot of these programs.” While I could argue the douchebag presumptuousness of such a statement (because after all, Barack Obama is Ivy League educated and pretty fucking smart on his own merits), there’s some value there. Yes, minorities tend to be more sensitive to the erosion of government programs. Because without them, tyranny of a misguided majority is a definite possibility. Who got the power to let power go? Few. Very few.
I’m not a pie in the sky liberal operating out of idealism and ignoring reality. I understand that in addition to being an institution that helps, government also is a business that must profit to stay functional. To that end, there are bottom lines that must be met, and difficult decisions that must be made. However, those decisions should never come at the expense of our principles. It should never be ok to cheer and delight in the death of a human being to justify an ideological perspective.
To criticize, disagree, and offer an alternative solution is par for the course, as the business of politics is compromise — “sausage-making”. However, the second option must provide more guidance than: “pray about it, and also, good luck with that.” Government isn’t your mom in the sense that it is responsible for patching up your fuck-ups and kissing your boo-boos. But government should lend itself to creating an environment that both grows and nurtures opportunity, and pumps the breaks when greed seduces us into getting ahead of ourselves.
The only candidate in this 2012 Republican field worth a dalliance with the red side is John Huntsman. He speaks thoughtfully, with slightest hint of pragmatism and moderation. But harboring those qualities as a Republican in 2011-2012 doesn’t get you nominated. Mitt “Corporations are people, my friend” Romney will likely take home the trophy. If he does, please never forget this perspective when he and Obama go head to head.
Romney knows this is misleading. Corporations are comprised of people — people who, like himself, have made millions, billions of dollars while the majority of Americans who happen not to be corporations saw their incomes dwindle and their prosperity wane.
I don’t trust Republicans and Conservatives in this election cycle. The U.S. Census report on poverty was released just a couple days ago, and the details are sobering. By way of address, I need a President who gives a fuck. We all do.
Like it or not, “We sink, we swim, we rise, we fall. We meet our fate together!”