Friday, April 8, 2011

Back to the Future, or Fun with Right and Left. Not.

I was raised by a father who couldn’t abide the Republican Party. In fact, I don’t ever recall a time in his life when he didn’t refer to the GOP collectively as “those god-damned Republicans.” When Mills Godwin, a Democratic governor of Virginia, defected, mid-term, to the Republicans, my father refused to stand as he took the podium in 1976 in order to confer degrees at the University of Virginia. It galled him to no end when I brought home a boyfriend from college, who happened to be a Republican, and he never ceased to remind my mother’s youngest brother, who had a habit of turning up, unannounced, along with his family just in time for Sunday dinner, that the Republican uncle was eating food cooked in a Democratic kitchen.

So even though I have Republican friends, I really don’t have any love lost for the Republican party, in general. And this present reincarnation of them, in particular.

What’s really angered me is the fact that the government is about to be shut down because neither side can come to agreement about the budget, but the real disagreement isn’t fiscal, it’s idealogical. I suppose history will refer to this budget crisis as the “Abortion budget,” because that’s the real sticking point in all of this kerfuffle. The Republicans in the House, led by Luddite Mike Pence, are using abortion and women’s preventitive health rights as a stick with which to beat the Democrats, holding them ransome to a cause they’ve sought to pursue for forty years.

Until recently, this was really a non-starter. It’s only since the rise of the Tea Party movement that these cockroaches, funded by the real Kockroaches, have even deigned to seek light. This tactic, this de-funding of Planned Parenthood, is part and parcel of a party devoid of ideas and driven by sheer, mean idealogy. Ever since the Republicans took power in the House of Representatives in January, supposedly reflecting the will of “the American people,” they’ve done sweet Fanny Adams.

For all his bluff, bluster and teary-eyed talk about the American people having spoken, John Boehner hasn’t begun to address the much-promised issue of jobs; rather, he’s actually thrown the unemployed on the scrapheap and promised them company, with that off-the-cuff and callous remark about the proposed Republican budget being responsible for the loss of 700,000 jobs.

So be it … Amen … He gave his flourescent orange blessing to the generation of the workless, whom he can only identify as “workshy.” His life is the classic tale of poor white Yankee shanty trash, who’s pulled himself up by the bootstraps to a reasonably successful life – achieved by gratuitous bootlicking of superiors with money and influence – who turns on others of his social origins as abject failures. Dickins would have been thinking of John Boehner, or his ancestor, when he created the character of Uriah Heep.

No wonder he drinks to the point that his skin reveals incipient liver damage, and he cries on a dime. Alcohol abusers tear easily. And now he, like many other most probably moderate Republicans, is craven to the demands of the Tea Party’s most dangerous nutters. Why? Because he fears for his job. His job.

If he doesn’t play ball according to their rules, he’ll get primaried in 2012, by a candidate of their choice. As will any number of other Republicans, even the ragtag bunch who are seriously thinking of running for President. It’s almost a game of whoever veers the most to the Right being declared the winner, but what a dangerous game it is.

These people want to deny poor and working class women the right to preventive healthcare. With Planned Parenting’s defunding goes their only recourse to breast and ovarian cancer screening, as well as birth control advice. Defunding that organisation with the palliative assurance that the individual states will take up funding such services is just a shoddy sleight-of-hand. We all know how any state with a Republican governor would disperse those funds. What an insult to people’s intelligence, and what an insult to women!

Even more of an oxymoron is the fact that in many of the red states, a fair number of women who take advantage of services offered by Planned Parenthood, probably voted for these people, in good faith because these Tea Party candidate types are people of faith, people who held the same values they did, or presented themselves as such.

The Republicans have made this budget all about abortion, and, no matter what the outcome, that wedge issue will raise its head again in 2012, because the next general election will be all about culture war, simply because the Republicans are devoid of any original ideas as to how to deal with our 21st Century problems, and so the 2012 battle is to be one waged for the collective soul of America - whether it’s to be the America of mom, apple pie and white men in power for time immemorial, or whether we have a future of diversity with the real meaning of E pluribus unum becoming the defining norm.

Already, since the election of the first African American President, we’ve seen racism re-emerge on both Right and Left, in varying degrees of subtlety. A Teabagger carries a poster of the President as an African chieftan; the Left call him “the Affirmative Action President.” Newt Gingrich refers to the President as a Kenyan; Jane Hamsher calls him “bugaloo Bush.” Tea Party controlled school boards in certain states virtually reinstate a system of racial segregation, whilst the 10 most segregated cities in the United States are all found up North, including New York City and Los Angeles.

With this assault on Planned Parenthood, we’re seeing women’s rights being systematically destroyed, not only by the men in power (and not just white men, if you count the benighted Alan West), but also the mean girls’ sorority championed by Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann. Already two GOP Presidential contenders have said that, if elected, they would work towards the repeal of the repeal of DADT.

Nostalgia for the past is one thing, but this is ridiculous. Ridiculous and dangerous, considering the corporate powers who are empowering these dolts from the Right in their pursuit of days of future past, but it’s food for thought.

At the end of all this, the government will probably shut down, and the President will probably cop the blame for it, thanks to the machinations of the media, and the equanimity of hate emanating from the Right and the Left. But let’s put the blame where it really should lie. This is all down to the fact that we are lumbered with a Republican House and a decreased majority in the Senate. As someone else said yesterday, all that stands between us and the Thunderdome is the President and four Democratic Senators (and three of them are Joe Manchin, Bill Nelson and Mary Landrieu.) So the real blame for the fact that we’re about to achieve government shutdown, lies with the voters who empowered this majority in the House … and as much as the voters who chose not to vote and, thus, gave tacit permission to these clowns to wreak havoc.

And that’s a blame shared equally by the extreme Right as much as the extreme Left. I hope Ed Schultz’s ears are burning.

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