Saturday, October 6, 2012

Repeal the Republicans

Repeal the Republicans

Yesterday, the country got good news. The job report offered proof that what economists and businessmen had been indicating for some time was actually true. Our economy is healing, not quickly, as it was very damaged when the financial system of the world collapsed. But healing steadily.

I found the Republican response to the news most informative. There were two different approaches. Gov. Romney claimed that good news wasn’t actually good. Most of his party claimed, without evidence, that the President had manipulated the figures.  As a lifelong Republican, I found this reaction too infuriating to endure.

A quick reminder of what faced the Democrats when the majority of American voters chose them to lead us out of the terrible crisis that the Republican leadership had created for us all. In a few short weeks, we all lost 40% of what we had worked a lifetime for. The value of our houses had dropped like a rock. The value of mutual funds we saved for our retirement plummeted.  Three quarters of a million of us were losing jobs every month. Middle class Americans were suddenly learning how to live poor.

So what did my party do? Pitch in to help repair the damage they had caused? Put suffering Americans ahead of their political ambitions? No. Time and again over the last 4 years, they have thrown us under the bus. They have looked on our misery as their political opportunity. Republican leaders decided that they could prevent economic improvement, and in our despair we would turn to them for help.

This is the most cynical, callous, anti-American plot I have seen during my long life. I am deeply ashamed that the party that Lincoln founded, and that I supported for a lifetime,  has sunk so low.  The current version of the Republican party gambled with our lives for personal power. And now, there is good evidence, incontrovertible evidence that this gamble has failed. Now we have the power to make them pay for the extra suffering they have caused to so many of us.

This election is our opportunity. We have the power to send these right wing outliers to the trash-heap of history where they belong. We can punish them for their actions and at the same time allow the party of Lincoln to rebuild.

There is a month before the election. In that time, Americans need to pledge themselves to do three things.  One, register to vote if you still can. Two, vote. Three, chose every Democrat on the ballot. A total purge of the Republicans in Congress is the only way to tell them that it isn’t only Governor Romney that we don’t like, it is their party, their policies, their scorn for our suffering that we will no longer accept. It is time we make them pay for their choices.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Other Side of the Wall

I wasn’t aware that there was a wall that divided a few Americans from the rest of us until I went to college. For the first time, I met up with people who had already passed to the dark side of this unseen wall. They had already developed a hunger for money and power. The first step was to go to the proper school where they could make a suitable marriage.  It was quite amusing to watch good looking girls pursuing sometimes very unappealing, but rich students. And the reverse was true as well.  These goings on were sources of amusement for those of us who weren’t part of the game.

This experience got me to thinking about what this kind of life would be like for those who chose to pursue wealth and power. Success in this highly competitive life choice demanded constant planning, calculation, and wariness. After all, each of them would always be surrounded by rivals. Anything that promoted their upward climb was good, any restraints on conduct were bad. 

In the upward struggle, it was difficult to have close friendships. Everyone understood that they were tools in some rival’s upward climb. To win each skirmish, truth, personal honor, trust, honesty were useless baggage.

This is the world that Mitt Romney comes from. He made his fortune by being more ruthless than his competitors. There are some really good articles on his business practices should you want to read up on the subject.  He was blessed with the good looks and slick charm that lulled victims into a false sense of security and promoted his rise to riches.  With each conquest came the thrill of victory that muted any guilt over unethical practices.

Most American voters should find these alternate rules for life, and those who practice them offensive. There are many people who have become very rich and powerful without leaving the world of ethical standards, concern for others, honesty. They would not resort to the behind-the-wall standard, “Cheat to win.” Most of us are happy with the life choices we have made. We may not be rich or powerful, but we have lived by the moral and ethical standards our religions have taught us. That is something to be proud of.

Now that Gov. Romney has too much money to spend, he has set his sights on power. Being governor wasn’t sufficient. There was a higher prize to reach for. So now he would be president.

There is one obstacle to overcome. Mitt’s experience is very foreign to the vast majority of Americans.  He has to employ all the tools of his trade to con us out of the only thing he needs us for, our votes. He strongly believes that he will succeed as he has so many times before.

If we pay attention, we can see past practices trotted out for the campaign. On the other side of the wall, information is as carefully guarded as a state secret. And he is still keeping much important information from voters. Have we seen sufficient tax return to understand what he does with his money? Has he told us clearly and in detail how he would govern?

Even more worrisome, the moral and ethical constraints most of us live by, as we have been taught by our religions, don’t exist for the folks on the other side of the wall. And they don’t exist for Gov. Romney either.  Take truth for example. We have all noticed that lies fall easily from his tongue. His smooth and confident appearance makes it hard for us to detect his lies from his truths.

Thankfully, we got to take a look at the other side of the wall in the video from his fundraiser with his friends. His contempt for those who live on this side was clearly exposed. He has no respect for those who haven’t played his game, for people hampered by ideas of honor and virtue and service. And he believes that he is so smart and so skillful that he can convince us that he is just like us. We can safely vote for him.

Last night in the debate, we saw the smooth liar in action. Little of what he had to say was true, but he believes that we will buy the lies he delivered so convincingly. He believes that he can lie and pay no price.

I don’t know about you, but when someone lies to me, I cease to believe anything he says. We all know the old saying, “Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.”

We must use our ultimate power as  voters to soundly reject this man from the other side of the wall. We must teach Gov. Romney that truth and honesty do matter very much to us.