I have been listening to the news on my favorite NPR station in the area, KGAC-FM. Lots of Republican are attacking the stimulus package, claiming they are being kept out of the legislation (what part of Obama’s landslide election victory and their decline in Congressional numbers don’t they get?). So they continue their ideological support for their corporate allies and to demean, dismiss and ignore the plight of everyone making less than $100,000.
By attempting to trash and weaken the stimulus bill the Republican Party is claiming there’s no justifiable need–whether due to their moralizing against the poor or from an economic standpoint that trickle-down methods (tax cuts, lower government spending)– to bring public money into the attempted solution for what ails the nation.
My emotional response is: do they think we’re stupid? Of course, they don’t believe that. Instead, they believe we were all unconscious during the last eight nightmarish years of this nation’s history. They believe that we didn’t watch the Republican majority increase the national debt to unheard of depths. They believe we are unable to see that an injection of public money into public works projects is substantively different from spending on defense contractors and the Halliburtons of the world.
The Republican strategy of the week seems to be to view President Obama as weak. They know that we, as the American people, are fragmented. That we snipe and backbite and declare the other person’s government benefits to be the downfall of the rest of us. This is part of the Reagan corpus of esoteric study that was left us in ancient times (the 1980s). We forget that we may be the next to be thrown out of our homes due to credit policy set by representatives bought and paid for by a banking and financial services lobby that ran through the 90s and 2000s almost without check.
We may be the next person bankrupted by our medical insurance woes. We may be the next person whose unemployment insurance runs out and scrambles to find the phone book and the telephone number for the local food bank. We may be the next…
I’m sick to death of the extremes of American individualism. What is needed is not what many Republicans might label a “return to old-fashioned values.” Because there was a collectivism and a sense of brother- and sisterhood that prevailed in the past that is seldom talked about. Can you imagine a song like “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” becoming a Number 1 hit in the current climate?
Maybe it’s because the current crisis hasn’t been with us long enough to sink in. The 24-hour news cycle is still trying to generate a file of what I would call “helpful hints” designed to get you to believe that if YOU (not your neighbor who is a loathsome bum) just do the right job search, you’ll get out of this fine. If YOU (singular, not part of the collective) just learn how to bargain with your lender you can bring your credit debt to a manageabale level, you’ll be able to continue to afford that asthma inhaler your kid needs.
And, to intentionally bring up class “warfare” for a moment, if YOU can just continue to define yourself as middle class, this great nation will sail along just fine if YOU and I all the rest of the little fish will just let the nation’s leaders, lenders and business folks continue spinning the ship’s wheel just as they will without your input. Listen to your iPod until any feeling you might have that you can spot the rocks and the reefs and the approaching shoreline passes.
The thought came to my mind on Tuesday that we need to march in the streets just to say enough’s enough. Work to get people back to work rather than covering your ideological backsides. And that message should go out to both the Republicans and the Democrats. I wish that both parties would have the courage to take positive, albeit painful, steps to help folks out. They’d have to have faith that their actions will be reviewed and judged over a longer time than just the 24-hour news cycle. It might take marching in the street to change the way they look at polls and “winning or losing.”
[This is a gut response to the zeitgeist rather than a “reasonable” response to what’s going on. Don’t write and tell me I have my facts and figures fouled up, I didn’t base this on any. It’s just a sickening feeling that I have regarding the fact that less than a month into Obama’s administration and the Right is trying to torpedo him and any response he may have to the economic crisis before any competent individual or team of individuals could even organize a coherent response. I feel the Republicans are currently playing with the nation’s well-being much as they did under Bush’s direction. This approach boiled down to: We have an agenda and we’re sticking to it. It plays well as “consistency” in the minds of the public. We will not respond to realities. Damn the consequences.]