Saturday, May 7, 2016

The GOP ...blindly dedicated to the reasons they're about to self destruct

I've published over 188 posts on this blog and if there are any themes that might be discernable amidst all those perhaps slightly energetic offerings, it is this.  The doctrinal tenets the GOP shout from their right wing pulpits, as if it is the gospel straight out of the "good book," is odorous nonsense.  To wit:

1) No government is small enough or even needed - none;

2) There are no reasons whatsoever that can justify the existence of, much less an increase in, taxes - none;

3) There is no justification whatsoever for any regulation that constrains free enterprise in any way - none;

4) There is no program designed to assist poor, downtrodden, sick, aged or infirm humans that is not socialism - none;

5) There are no valid bases for thinking the importance of healthy, protected and preserved natural systems is critical to the economic future of this state and country - none

6) All capitalist endeavors that turn a profit, no matter the long-term or tragic consequences upon society, are by definition both morally and spiritually justified under the guise of free enterprise - all

7) Being believed is more important than whether or not one is telling the truth - honesty no longer matters

8) No matter the positive value or importance to our country, nothing fostered, initiated or supported by Barack Obama is right, good or worthwhile - nothing. He's a Democrat

9) No matter the truth, Reagan was never a Democrat, a moderate or suffered dementia while still in office - never

10) Even if we are a country of the people, by the people and for the people, it does not mean we are the government - that's somebody else

So when President Obama gave the following speech in Flint the other day, I felt something of the sense that, just maybe, I haven't been too far off.  The GOP have suffered their party major if not fatal harm by adopting and blindly defending tenets that are so weighted toward serving their party and moneyed special interests rather than their country, their base has left them and is running lemming-like behind Donald Trump ever closer to the precipice of complete and utter national embarrassment, or worse.  They have chosen hemlock over gridlock.  According to a friend, "It can't be explained more succinctly ..." than the way our President did.

President Obama
And it's a mindset that believes that less government is the highest good no matter what. It's a mindset that says environmental rules designed to keep your water clean or your air clean are optional, or not that important, or unnecessarily burden businesses or taxpayers. It's an ideology that undervalues the common good, says we're all on our own and what's in it for me, and how do I do well, but I'm not going to invest in what we need as a community. And, as a consequence, you end up seeing an underinvestment in the things that we all share that make us safe, that make us whole, that give us the ability to pursue our own individual dreams. So we underinvest in pipes underground. We underinvest in bridges that we drive on, and the roads that connect us, and the schools that move us forward. And this is part of the attitude, this is part of the mindset.
We especially underinvest when the communities that are put at risk are poor, or don't have a lot of political clout and so are not as often heard in the corridors of power. And this kind of thinking—this myth that government is always the enemy; that forgets that our government is us—it's us; that it's an extension of us, ourselves—that attitude is as corrosive to our democracy as the stuff that resulted in lead in your water. Because what happens is it leads to systematic neglect. It leads to carelessness and callousness. It leads to a lot of hidden disasters that you don't always read about and aren't as flashy, but that over time diminish the life of a community and make it harder for our young people to succeed.
So it doesn't matter how hard you work, how responsible you are, or how well you raise your kids—you can't set up a whole water system for a city. That's not something you do by yourself. You do it with other people. You can't hire your own fire department, or your own police force, or your own army. There are things we have to do together—basic things that we all benefit from. And that's how we invested in a rail system and a highway system. That's how we invested in public schools. That's how we invested in science and research. These how we invested in community colleges and land grant colleges like Michigan State.
But volunteers don't build county water systems and keep lead from leaching into our drinking glasses. We can't rely on faith groups to reinforce bridges and repave runways at the airport. We can't ask second-graders, even ones as patriotic as Isiah Britt who raised all that money, to raise enough money to keep our kids healthy. You hear a lot about government overreach, how Obama—he's for big government. Listen, it's not government overreach to say that our government is responsible for making sure you can wash your hands in your own sink, or shower in your own home, or cook for your family. These are the most basic services. There is no more basic element sustaining human life than water. It's not too much to expect for all Americans that their water is going to be safe.


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