A site of satirical musings, commentary and/or rhetorical criticism of the world at large.

My Photo
Location: Southeastern, Pennsylvania, United States

Friday, March 11, 2011

Are Republicans People?

Members of the Grand Old Party truly perplex me. One-on-one they show many times how they deeply care for their fellow man. They are financially generous to charities and donate much of their time and resources to their local community. I myself have been the recipient of several charitable actions from those proudly professing to be Republicans, and I am grateful for their help.

This makes my personal dilemma all the more vexing. As individuals, Republicans are wonderful human beings, but once they gather as a large group in the Big Tent, they seem eager to cultivate a contradictory image. They rail against many institutions within the federal government that benefit the population at large. More recently, they seem intent on diluting educational, economic, and health care opportunities for those less fortunate in American society. They seem content to follow the Ebenezer Scrooge pronouncement “Are there no workhouses?” as a motto.

I want to stress this main point: Republicans are caring people with an image problem. Submitted as Exhibit A:

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who just this week released his state budget proposal. True to his word, the budget contained no state tax hikes and slashed spending, mostly in education and mental health care. The big losers would appear to be local school districts (who will end up raising their tax rates to make up for Corbett’s cut), local municipalities (ditto), poor families who dreamt of sending their children to state universities which will now most likely hike up their tuitions out of the reach of these families, and mental health patients who may rely on state programs for help. The big winners: the Marcellus shale drilling industry, who will not have to pay any extraction tax because they contributed heavily to Corbett’s campaign.

This last point is doubly painful to recount: such a tax could go a long way to bringing the state budget back into line. I don’t know if I can even consider Corbett a governor of anything. He appears to actually be a highly paid lobbyist for the drilling industry who just happens to live in the Governor’s Mansion through the graciousness of the state’s electorate.

Further evidence of his ambivalence to the downtrodden was his allowing a health care plan for poor working Pennsylvanians, Adultbasic, to lapse without objection. The best he could offer the poor was a plan which cost three times as much while offering less coverage than Adultbasic. Corbett had already shown his true colors on health care reform earlier when he joined other states in their lawsuit against President Obama’s plan.

He hasn’t demonstrated to me that he wants anyone to have health care coverage. He doesn’t want the federal government to oversee health insurance and he doesn’t want his own state to have anything to do with it either. This sounds cruel, and may not be true, but to what other conclusion can I come?

Exhibit B: Governor Scott Walker finally got his precious anti-union bill through the Wisconsin legislature which will drastically restrict union’s member’s right to collective bargaining. He did this without the Senate Democrats returning from their self-imposed exile in Illinois. The great/horrific event happened through procedural maneuvering by the Senate Republicans. Wisconsin’s unionized public workers will now be unable to bargain for anything beyond a wage increase within the rate of inflation.

Winners here are the Koch Brothers who bankrolled Walker’s gubernatorial campaign and many other tea party candidates throughout the country. Big losers: workers trying to keep their heads above water in harsh economic times, and in general the people of the state of Wisconsin, who up until now were living in a democracy. Sorry, Cheeseheads, but your belief in a representative form of government was just an illusion.

Unions have vowed to fight the law in the courts, but for now the Republican leaderships in several states are claiming victory. Enjoy the moment, Big Tenters! The backlash against your prioritizing money over the needs of the people will be swift. If only the charitable feelings of individual Republicans could overcome the extremist ideology of the whole party, then we might have a better place for everyone to live.

(Thank you for reading. Please remember round one of this fight is over, but the bout has a long way to go.)


Post a Comment

<< Home