An Essay by Member William:
If anyone actually has the fortitude to sit through one of the Republican debates, you learn that their candidates are actually even worse than you imagined. I’ve seen various Republicans for decades, of course, and they are always bad, with rare exception. But this group is actually frightening. They know nothing about history, or world politics or science. And they don’t even care; they say things that are demonstrably objectively false; and feel no sense of embarrassment that they have no idea what they are talking about. Seriously, one would almost feel sorry for them, for their lack of intelligence and knowledge; except that they want to be President.
If they were kids in a seventh grade classroom with you, you would just cringe, and hope that they could find careers as stock clerks. But they want to run the country, control the lives of all of us. And Republicans en masse are so fixated on winning, that even the right-wing media, some of whom were actually educated to some extent, gives them a complete pass on the inanity that they express on a daily basis. It is truly terrifying that our country has come to the state that a bunch of stupid, ill-educated, selfish, vicious people completely dominate the Republican Party as it stands today. To say it is no longer “the party of Lincoln” is a cliche, because it wasn’t that even by 1868. But it’s not even the party of Eisenhower or Ford. It is a strange mix of evangelical totalitarians, know-nothings, corporatist oligarchs, rapacious crooks, crackpot survivalists, apocalyptic weirdos, liars, and fools. None of these people should even have anything to do with governance, much less being Congresspeople and President. And it’s not just a matter of ethnicity and gender; there are Black people like Herman Cain and Ben Carson; women like Carly Fiorina, and Sarah Palin, who are as bad as the White men who have always dominated that party.
Well, you watch one of their debates, or read an encapsulation of it; and in the midst of the horror, you hear various policy proposals or political theories which the Republicans espouse. Again, no one in the media, certainly none of their hand-picked debate faux moderators, question them on the implications of any of them, even if they make no earthly sense. They just go on, like some dumb and lazy student who doesn’t read any of the texts, and just says whatever pops into his or her head, because they do not even have the sense that they don’t know anything. Again, it would literally be funny, if it were not for such immense stakes.
Rather than go over the various things said in the most recent debate (because there are two parts: a minor-league debate with candidates who are polling about 2%, and then the “big boy/girl debate,” we get to hear the same insanity twice over, like in some nightmare), I thought i would just slightly extrapolate from the theories and concepts that were expressed there, and in the earlier debates. This will thus either summarize, or be the logical extension of, the Republicans’ positions. In fact, I am waiting for someone over there to take that last step, and specifically espouse one or more of them.
“THE FULL EMPLOYMENT, NO WAGES PLATFORM”
One of the Republican candidates said that 40% of Americans are unemployed. This astounding figure must of course have included babies, children, retired people, disabled people, and the idle rich. The Republicans try to create the narrative that the Democratic policies cause this unemployment, and that they will fix it. Of course, they do not want to pay even a minimum wage, because they believe that it hurts employment. And yes, in a literal sense, it does; because having to pay someone for work is inconvenient, and does cost some money.
So I am waiting for one of the candidates to suggest this: “We want to have every American employed in a job. We will create jobs for all. Employers will of course not be able to pay the workers any money, at least for now. However, any worker who is hired, will have the right to a job review after three years, at which time their employer might decide to pay them something. If the decision is not to pay them, they have the right to another review in two years. But every citizen will be able to enjoy the feeling of having a job, and contributing to the greatness of America.”
“TAKING SCIENCE AND HISTORY OUT OF THE CLASSROOM”
The Republicans do not believe in science. Occasionally one of them tries to quote a scientific fact, which is invariably wrong. Remember the Senatorial candidate from Missouri who was sure that a woman could not become pregnant if she were raped? Or the many who do not believe in evolution, because it conflicts with their religious beliefs?
So the answer is obviously to require schools to stop teaching science of any kind. Because science is complex and difficult, and requires some intelligence to learn. Much better to let children and adults just have their various beliefs, whether from religion, or conspiracy theories, or weird conceptions of ancient times; storing grain in the pyramids, e.g. Let everyone believe what they want to believe, and do not challenge these beliefs with scientific or historical data. It violates a basic American freedom, which is to be as ignorant as one wants.
“FLAT EARTH, FLAT TAX”
People believed for many centuries that the earth was flat, because the Church taught them that. Unfortunately in that regard, some explorers eventually went around the world and did not fall off; so the theory was generally discarded. But the flat tax concept is one that is taking hold, perhaps as a substitute for those people who are comfortable with the idea of flatness.
Republicans want to replace the tax code in ways that will benefit the very rich. After all, they wrote most of the tax codes, so why should not they be allowed to change them to suit their current needs? So we replace the progressive taxation system with a flat tax, where everyone pays the same percentage of taxes. The fact that a 10% income tax for a person making $20,000 a year means that he or she has to give up absolute necessities of life; whereas a 10% tax on a person making $5 million a year means nothing more than that he or she can’t buy the sixth yacht, is not important. The fact that a flat tax would bankrupt the government, is also not meaningful. All that matters, is that a flat tax would put much more money in the hands of the super-rich, which is the point of the whole con game. So let’s have a flat tax, and make the tax as low as possible. Or maybe, as Mr. Cruz suggested, let’s get rid of the entire IRS, and then let’s see if the government can take any money whatsoever from the very rich people who run things.
“REGULATIONS AND REGULATIONS”
Republicans like some regulations, but hate others. The ones they hate are those which attempt to regulate some aspect of corporations, like their ability to pollute; or manufacture faulty products which end up causing deaths: or produce drugs with pernicious side effects; or restrict their right to falsely advertise for any of such products.
Rubio talks about his belief that there are a billion new regulations of this sort enacted every year. Fiorina says that any regulation should be done by Congress, not “faceless bureaucrats.” Of course, the Republican Congress will pass no regulations on business, so there would be none. We could happily go back to the Gilded Age, where a few people made billionaire status, and the vast majority of citizens lived in poverty and squalor; and worked in jobs where if they had their arm cut off by a drill press, they were fired and left to die in the streets. And where the meat was contaminated, and so was the water; and anyone who dared to speak up about it, was labeled a Communist, and beaten up and sent to prison.
But the regulations the Republicans like, are those which try to restrict the way in which the average citizen can conduct his or her daily activities. They want to elminate the right to abortion and even contraception. They want to monitor people’s sex lives. Prohibit various forms of gambling (usually to benefit those forms whose sources pour in lots of money to the Republicans’ coffers). They try to ban books and movies. CBS refused to run ads for the movie “Truth,” which cast a bad light on CBS. Republicans like regulations, when they are the ones who get to do the regulating; and the regulating is of a personal, not corporate nature. So to avoid the inconsistency and hypocrisy, the corporate regulations are called “The government restricting the rights of American citizens,” and the personal regulations are called, “Keeping America a moral and god-fearing nation.”
“WAR, WAR, WAR”
The Republicans have a solution for every foreign policy complexity, which is to go to war. Nuances of diplomacy and foreign policy are completely beyond them. Can you imagine if one of these candidates ever got to the position where he or she had to make such decisions? When asked about any difficult matter in this area, their ultimate response is to saber-rattle, and say that we will go to war with them. Obviously, if you do not really understand the antecedents or the implications of a foreign policy issue, you can only behave in a belligerent manner; just fighting everybody, or at least threatening them. And then there is the occasional Republican isolationist like Rand Paul, who takes the other tack, which is to just let everything go, and not become involved at all.
In “1984,” Orwell suggested the possibility of endless wars, whose goal was essentially to keep the populace cowed and controlled; to validate rationing; and to create a continued jingoism which dovetailed into the mindless support for the totalitarian state which ran things. This may be Republicans’ goal; but more likely it is akin to the little boy who gets frustrated with the complexity of trying to build something delicate, so just decides to knock it down.
“SATAN AND THE ANTICHRIST”
I will not presume to write a primer on religion, but it is obvious that many religions needed to create an evil entity against whom the religious would fight. This may be purely a psychological defense mechanism; it may be projection; it may be the part of the duality with which we live: day and night; light and dark; good and bad. Whatever the very complex antecedents are, humans seem to need an enemy to vanquish, something that is keeping them from reaching a higher plateau, or an exalted state. In the Christian religion, this has taken on the name of the Devil, or the Antichrist.
Republicans are, or like to pretend they are, highly religious people. And they believe in these entities. And so they have the Clintons, and now particularly HIllary Clinton, to fill that role for them. Now, they are not bold or transparent enough to call her one of those names. But if you watch the debates, they are essentially all focused on Hillary Clinton as an evil entity who must be destroyed, if Republicans are to reach their desired summit, which is a combination of the Gilded Age, Dickensian London, and a theocratic state which controls behavior in the way that the Church did in the Dark Ages and early Middle Ages.
How many times is the name “Hillary Clinton” invoked by them? If the Republican candidates have nothing coherent to say about any issue, they will simply turn it back to, “We have to stop Hillary Clinton.” As Hillary likes to jokingly say, without her, they would have essentially nothing to talk about. And that all the books about her, written by shadowy figures who purport to have dire stories to tell, form a virtual cottage industry. Just as many of the TV evangelists have gotten wealthy by inveighing against Satan, so the Republicans have always found that demonizing the Clintons is a big fundraising money maker for them.
“TWO FOR ME, ONE FOR YOU.”
That was a comic bit often done by Abbott and Costello, though they may have taken it from somewhere else. They would come upon some money, and Abbott would always take charge of dividing it up. He would count out two bills for himself, and one for Costello, saying in an authoritative manner, “Okay, here’s two for me, and one for you. Another two for me, and another one for you. Two more for me, and one for you…” And Costello would sit there almost transfixed by the patter, until finally he would wake up and say “Hey! What kind of divvying up is that! You keep saying two for you, and then one for me!” And Abbott, in his most unctuous manner, would reply, “Oh, that’s right, I’m sorry! Here we go: One for you, and two for me. Another one for you, and two for me…”
That, in so many words, is the Republican platform. Well, except that it is more like ten thousand for them, and one for the general populace. Their only task is to disguise what they are doing, which is finding clever ways to rob the middle class and the poor, while taking all the money for themselves. Flat taxes, “tax reform,” replacing the income tax with a sales tax; no-fault insurance; caps on lawsuits for defective products or medical malpractice; tax exemptions or rebates for big business; no caps on credit card company loan rates; “too big to fail”; “lowering taxes still further on corporations will create jobs”–these all are variations of the same shell game. In fact, something I realized years ago, was that every single thing that comes out of any Republican’s mouth regarding domestic or financial policy, is some verbal trick or obfuscation designed to fool and deceive people into giving the very wealthy 1% even more of their hard-earned money.
And that’s a summary of the Republican debate–the last one, the one before that, the next one, and all of them. One can either choose to take advantage of all the extra free time they have now gained; or one can watch just to monitor them. But rest assured that there is nothing beyond this in any of the Republican candidates’ heads or hearts.
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