Never use those red bicycles now supplied by the city of Denver — or you could fall victim to a dark and nefarious United Nations plot to steal our sovereignty and control our lives in a manner never quite spelled out by the merchants of fear. But be afraid, anyway.
You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried. But such exercises in absurdity are out there — spread by politicians running for high office in Colorado and elsewhere in further affronts to voters’ intelligence. In Arizona, Republican U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl urges repealing the 14th Amendment for the U.S.-born children of illegal immigrants. And the idea is echoed at the highest levels of Republican leadership in both houses of Congress.
In Colorado, what sort of fools do the Three Stooges of Dan Maes, Tom Tancredo and Ken Buck take us for? But maybe they’re on to something. Because those of us who hang out with people who speak in complete sentences, who likely listen to National Public Radio and don’t think Sarah Palin is the Second Coming, only move inside a thin veneer of American society. As such, our elitist circles are seriously out of touch with real Americans, the ones who want to protect us from all enemies — within and without, real and imagined.
Some political game plans start by assuming voters are idiots and work downward from there. Sadly, that strategy often works. But you can prove the hucksters wrong by beginning to pay attention. All candidates are not created equal. And it DOES matter who wins, especially for those of you who will graduate into a bleak job market. Never for a moment assume that Republicans give a rat’s ass about you, people like you who may not be well off, your education now or your job prospects later on. Republicans, who are not fond of funding education, have been pinching education’s purse strings at every level for years.
The ideal GOP constituency isn’t a well-educated and informed electorate. But a nation of docile consumers (for an immediate contradiction to the rugged and individualistic rhetoric they spout) addicted to idiot TV. For some, Fox “News” lies seem plausible because simple answers to complex problems remove the need to think. That process can be especially trying for folks who haven’t entertained an original idea in ages.
Democrats are far from blameless. For lots of us, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi have been major disappointments. But consider the alternatives. With recent majorities in Congress, Democrats have punted time and again on key votes. And it’s a wonder that even watered-down health care reform got passed as another step toward what Republicans keep calling SOCIALISM!!! They’re much better at that than proposing new or even alternate programs.
Don’t tell the right wing blowhards, but it wasn’t Democrats who strapped and shrank the American middle class and further fattened fat cats in the top two percent.
That process started long before President George W. Bush’s trillion-dollar, approximately 4,500 American dead, useless Iraq war that was built on a lie. It began in earnest under President Ronald Reagan — whom Republicans still pine for, along with an imagined America that never existed.
In the 1980s, Reagan showed how to break unions by intervening in an air controllers’ strike. He presided over double-digit inflation and claimed to be clueless about “Contragate.”
In that scandal, uncovered in 1986, the U.S. National Security Agency and high-ranking Reagan appointees illegally supported forces of oppression in Nicaragua — the “Contras” — by selling arms to Iran (Google “Contragate” and “Oliver North”). Most of those indicted were pardoned by Bush the Elder and later re-appointed to key positions by Bush the Younger.
Worse, the Reagan-backed and so-called tax “reform” act of 1986 was supposed to be a stimulus for corporations to re-invest and create more jobs. Instead, it led to obscene profits and compensations for top-echelon corporate fat cats. When the bottom fell out on George W. Bush’s watch, the overfed felines claimed no involvement. And the same execs who flew to Washington by private jet when summoned to Congressional hearings issued flunky-prepared pronouncements that oozed with empathy for working people who’d lost their jobs, insurance and homes. As though a corporate CEO pulling down $100 million a year in compensation, benefits and perks could really feel their pain.
And Republican chiefs still have the unabashed balls to oppose budget deficits and scream when President Barack Obama proposes curtailing tax breaks for the rich. That’s really rich.
So pay some attention to the political landscape this fall — even if it means taking time off from Facebook or Twitter or tracking the lives of vapid celebrities. The future you save could be your own.