Tag Archives: social safety net

Thou Shalt Not Vote for Republicans

The Curmudgeon hates the idea of making blanket statements like “You shouldn’t vote for any Republicans.”

Yet he’s making it anyway.

Though he’s decidedly liberal, The Curmudgeon has voted for many Republicans over the years.  He’s done most of his voting in Philadelphia, and during that time he voted for Republicans for every local office:  mayor, city council, district attorney, judge, and the minor offices.  He’s voted for Republicans for state offices:  governor, state representative, state senator, attorney general, treasurer, auditor general, and appellate court judges.  And he’s voted for Republicans for federal offices:  House of Representatives and Senate.  He even once voted for a Republican for President, although that Republican was running as an independent candidate at the time (remember John Anderson?).

But no more.

There are a lot of good people out there who are Republicans, people The Curmudgeon likes and respects, people who have excellent reasons to be Republicans.  Some of them are even related to The Curmudgeon.  But their party has been taken over – hijacked, really – by a lunatic fringe that seeks to undermine American life and the American way in ways that make other radicals blush.  They are more extreme than communists, more extreme than anarchists, more extreme than libertarians, more extreme than the most extreme of liberals.

They are America’s own homegrown, homeland terrorists bent on overturning a way of life.

The Curmudgeon has no beef with those who disagree with him about how best to stimulate the economy, stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons, or reduce American dependence on foreign oil.  He welcomes different ideas about what to do about the middle east, how to produce a more educated population, and how to improve the country’s infrastructure.  What he cannot accept, however, is the obvious desire of this “new” Republican Party to dismantle virtually every aspect of our social safety net.  Ironically, people who don’t believe in the science of Darwin (and yes, it’s science, not a theory), or any other science that gets in the way of their financial interests, are themselves social Darwinists, committed believers in the survival of the fittest – and the willful destruction, by the fittest, of everyone else.

They want to take your Social Security, or your parents’ Social Security, and turn it into a business opportunity and feeding frenzy for the same financial interests that are responsible for the mess our economy’s in today.  If doing so leaves the elderly unable to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take your Medicare, or your parents’ Medicare, and turn it into something that will leave many older people, possibly even most older people, without the ability to pay for or obtain medical care at the very time of life when they will most need such care.  If doing so leaves them sick and dying, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take Medicaid, that most important health care safety net, and turn it into something that will not be there when misfortune strikes and people need it most.  If people who have come upon hard times find themselves unable to obtain care when sick or injured, that’s just fine with these people.

They want to take public schools and turn them into an investment opportunity for their friends and a subsidy for the private education of their own children, doing so in a manner that will certainly help a few but would do so at the expense of the many – and especially, at the expense of the many of limited means.

They want to reserve college, the key to the future for many young people, as a privilege only for the privileged.

But they aspire to do more than merely destroy the social safety net.

They want to reduce your mothers, your sisters, and your daughters to the status they had a hundred years ago, with no right to make important decisions about their lives and their bodies and their futures.  That some of these people are themselves women is absolutely frightening.

They want to prevent from voting the very kinds of people who might vote against them – the elderly, the poor, and the non-white.  And while they’re at it, they’ve put the American political system up for sale to the highest bidders.

They want to dismantle the constitution based on the misguided concept of “original intent” that for all intents and purposes didn’t exist until the 1970s – as if anyone knows what Madison and his colleagues were truly thinking when they wrote the constitution, as if The Federalist Papers were anything more than a sales document, and as if anyone can seriously argue that a 21st-century society should be governed according to 18th-century principles.

They want to reduce the federal government to an extremely limited instrument that, among other things, would be an impotent spectator today in the aftermath of the storms that struck the east coast last week.

They want to turn the tax structure into a system that helps the rich get richer while avoiding paying their fair share.  They’ve waged open warfare on working people and the poor for more than thirty years, helping themselves to larger and larger pieces of the American pie, and now that those working people have awakened to what’s been done to them and have started fighting back, they have the audacity to charge those working people with seeking to wage class warfare.

They want to take any work that can be done cheaper elsewhere and send it overseas, turning millions of Americans into virtually minimum wage workers.  They’ve chosen as their national standard-bearer a child of privilege who made millions pioneering that very practice ­– a man who sees high unemployment and instinctively thinks “cheap labor.”

While they’re at it, they’d love to gut that minimum wage, too.

They want their limited government to bow to the needs of large businesses in distress but turn a blind eye to ordinary people in similar distress.

They want to eviscerate regulations that keep the air clean, the water pure, and people safe.  It’s more important, they insist, for businesses to have the opportunity to make money unfettered by such nuisances.

They want to destroy unions, depriving vulnerable working people of the only protection they now have from employers, already rich, who want to grow richer by reducing their pay, cutting their benefits, working them harder, making them more vulnerable to injury and illness where they work, and telling them they should be grateful to have any work at all.

Democrats are far from perfect.  The Democrat running for re-election to the Senate where The Curmudgeon lives, in New Jersey, is truly vile.  The Democrat running for re-election in Pennsylvania, where The Curmudgeon used to live, is the personification of mediocrity.  But on their worst days, both of these men, who might struggle under ordinary circumstances just to earn an honest living and put bread on their families’ tables, are light years better than the extremists who seek to unseat them.

No, the people who’ve taken over the Republican Party have almost nothing in common with people we normally associate with Republicans.  They have almost nothing in common with people we normally associate with America.

And they don’t deserve your vote – not a single one of them – until they change their ways.