December 29, 2012 By Jack Jodell
As I begin this post, the country remains in a tight political gridlock and apparently will plunge headlong over a somber fiscal cliff. Tea Party-infested reactionary Republicans absolutely refuse to raise anybody’s taxes, especially those of the wealthy, and demand that the Democratic Party drastically slash federal spending. Of course, it doesn’t matter to them that the Democrats have scaled back the federal government numerous times since 2009 – these extremist Republicans want it to be shrunk even further! Yes, they simply will not be happy until the social safety net has been shredded and wholly discarded for good. Funny, isn’t it? These authoritarian far-right types hate government regulation and proudly display their “Don’t tread on me” flags, yet they don’t hesitate to tread on everybody else by advocating the imposition of a harsh Puritan-style austerity budget on the country without any regard for the devastation it will wreak on the unemployed, the poor, and/or the elderly. Having obviously ignored the results of what the MAJORITY of voters expressed in our latest, just-held election, this GOP “my way or the highway” approach to vitally important political matters is growing very tiresome! You and I, along with millions of other voters, have just about had our fill of it. This Republican self-righteous posturing and phony grandstanding about the national debt (i.e. “fiscal responsibility”) is preposterous. After all, where were all these strident voices a mere decade ago, when a horribly irresponsible Republican President named George W. Bush had a thoroughly Republican Congress act as his personal rubber stamp to approve two massive and unneeded tax cuts for the very wealthy, and who also launched two very costly, unpaid-for foreign wars? Where were they when Bush’s sidekick, DICK Cheney, arrogantly spouted off that “deficits don’t matter”? Where was their supposed concern for the economic well-being of future generations then? Also, where are they NOW, as they unhesitatingly use and abuse every day business tax write-offs like the multiple martini lunch? These very same hypocrites pushed for the export of good-paying American jobs to much cheaper foreign slave-labor markets, both depressing our domestic standard of living and raising our trade deficit in the process. Those were hardly what one could accurately describe as being “fiscally responsible” actions! Not only that, but the Republican over-reliance on stalling, outright obstruction, and constant filibustering is the grossest insult of all time to we taxpayers: we have been annually paying every single Republican Representative and Senator $174,500 EACH to do absolutely NOTHING! Nice work for those who can get it; but hardly “fiscally responsible” or good for our country as a whole! Sane individuals would correctly call this an indefensible waste of money; I don’t know, or even care, as to how these Republican extremists would characterize it….
There is some (albeit limited) evidence that the public is slowly becoming fed-up with the Tea Party-infested Republicans’ beliefs and methods. The GOP was deservedly drubbed in the November 6 elections, despite being infused with a record amount of far-right, corporate dollars and having successfully and ridiculously gerrymandered a huge number of legislative districts nationwide in their favor. Their ultimate plutocratic standard bearers, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, were rejected, as were far, far-right kooks like Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, Josh Mandel, Joe Walsh, and Allen West. Absolute extremist clowns like Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann, Herman Cain, Rick Santorum, and Nut Gingrich didn’t last beyond the early rounds of their primaries. The drive for gay marriage rights scored impressive gains, as did the drive to legalize medical marijuana. Most important of all was the public’s approval of higher taxes for the very rich, which was quite pronounced and noteworthy. Women and Hispanics abandoned the GOP in droves, deservedly due to the reactionary and insensitive positions the Republicans had taken toward them. This gave sane-minded progressives and moderates a glimmer of hope toward the future. For it became very clear that the electorate has shifted its attitude on key former wedge issues, while the GOP has remained steadfast in its now rigidly outdated authoritarian stances on social issues.
On the downside, though, was a marked increase in mass murder and gun violence. 20 innocent 6 and 7 year old angels were viciously gunned down at their Sandy Hook elementary school, as were 2 innocent firefighters attempting to put out a murderous arsonist’s deliberately-set fire, all just before Christmas and all by madmen wielding semi-automatic military-style weapons with unnecessarily large magazines. These victims joined six worshippers at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and others at a midsummer movie theater earlier this year in Colorado. More than 100 individuals have been needlessly killed across the nation, many by legally-owned semi-automatic weapons, just since the aforementioned December 14 Sandy Hook killings of those 6 and 7 year-olds! That is NOT something we Americans should take pride in!
According to a recent article in Mother Jones, since 1982, there have been at least 62 MASS MURDERS involving firearms , encompassing 30 DIFFERENT STATES! In that same period, literally tens of thousands of additional individual murders arising from handgun use have occurred. The overwhelmingly dominant lobbying group the National Rifle Association (NRA) has all but bought out Congress and has prevented nearly all attempts thus far to put any restrictions whatsoever on the private ownership of military style semi-automatic weapons with large magazines. It is nothing less than barbarism for us to allow this to continue!
The United States comprises a mere 5% of the world’s population, yet we own fully 50% of the world’s guns! Is this the sign of a responsible, well-adjusted, respectful, civilized people, or does it mean we are a nation of paranoid, irrational, impatient, immature fools with itchy trigger fingers?
The time is NOW for us to end this crazed obsession with gun ownership and to join the rest of the civilized world in banning the private ownership of military style assault weapons with large magazines! Republicans, if you are truly as “pro-life” as you claim to be, it is definitely high time you stopped blocking this anti-assault weapon legislation! It is also vitally important that you stop coddling the already far-too-coddled idle rich with tax policies which favor them at the expense of all below them on the income scale! It is time for you reactionaries to wake up and quit trying to destroy workers’ rights in this country, and begin to help build a true ECONOMIC democracy for all in the United States, and globally as well! Prepare yourselves for the inevitable, reactionary Republicans: you are most definitely on the wrong side of history these days! We progressives are bound-determined to bring you into a fairer and much saner 21st century, no matter HOW much kicking and screaming you may do!