March 23, 2010

Today's Republicans - The Party of "Hell No!"

YouTube video posted by PBSNewsHour 
showing John Boehner (Republican - Ohio) 
arguing against the health care reform bill

In an Op-Ed article titled The Democrats Rejoice in the March 22, 2010 edition of the New York Times, David Brooks writes:

"Parties come to embody causes. For the past 90 years or so, the Republican Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of  personal freedom and economic dynamism. For a similar period, the Democratic Party has, at its best, come to embody the cause of fairness and family security. Over the past century, they have built a welfare system, brick by brick, to guard against the injuries of fate.

... And there was also the faith in the grand liberal project. Democrats protected the unemployed starting with the New Deal, then the old, then the poor. Now, thanks to health care reform, millions of working families will go to bed at night knowing that they are not an illness away from financial ruin.

... This country is in the position of a free-spending family careening toward bankruptcy that at the last moment announced that it was giving a gigantic new gift to charity. You admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it."

. . . . . . . . 

LukeH of Park City, UT writes in as a Readers' Comment to Mr. Brooks' article:

"Mr. Brooks, I have always admired your column as being the one person to tell it like it is, party and politics aside. Unlike you, I grew up in a household with admiration for conservatives and hoped one day I could vote for Republicans like my father. Even after suffering the death of my brother in Iraq, I still held true to Republican ideals. But slowly and surely my wall crumbled and gave way to realization that the Republicans had blinded us like they have so many times before, and watching the blatant fear-mongering they have displayed during the health care debate has only driven that point home further.

You reference the health care bill along with the federal debt, but no one questioned how we would pay for the Iraq War, yet we went along with it - and the Iraq War was about taking lives; this is about saving lives. You state that you "admire the act of generosity, but you wish they had sold a few of the Mercedes to pay for it." Yet the Republicans succeeded, for the first time in history, on cutting taxes during a time of war - a war that needs to be paid for! You also state that the "task ahead is to save this country from stagnation and fiscal ruin." But what of the millions of Americans who every year face stagnation and fiscal ruin over health bills that they cannot pay?

I have been witness to a friend who could not afford to pay her hospital bill after a freak brain aneurysm. The hospital began to garnish her wages, leaving her unable to pay for her children's needs. Is she to be left out in the cold because of a freak accident?

It is high time this bill was passed. We treat health insurance as if it is a privilege, but then members of the religious right state that abortion is an abomination, that all babies have the right to live - then don't all humans have the same right to health insurance, to keep their right to live? Health care is not about capitalism - it is about life ... and I would give anything to save one."  

YouTube video posted by MOFUNK1 of a 
live 1969 performance of Everyday People 
by Sly & The Family Stone

In a very important Op-Ed article titled An Absence of Class in the March 22, 2010 edition of the NY Times, Bob Herbert writes:

"A group of lowlifes at a Tea Party rally in Columbus, Ohio, last week taunted and humiliated a man who was sitting on the ground with a sign that said he had Parkinson's disease. The disgusting behavior was captured on a widely circulated videotape. One of the Tea Party protesters leaned over the man and sneered: "If you're looking for a handout, you're in the wrong end of town."

Another threw money at the man, first one bill and then another, and said contemptuously, "I'll pay for this guy. Here you go. Start a pot."

In Washington on Saturday, opponents of the health care legislation spit on a black congressman and shouted racial slurs at two others, including John Lewis, one of the great heroes of the civil rights movement. Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, was taunted because he is gay.

At some point, we have to decide as a country that we just can't have this: We can't allow ourselves to remain silent as foaming-at-the-mouth protesters scream the vilest of epithets at members of Congress - epithets that The Times will not allow me to repeat here.

It is 2010, which means it is way past time for decent Americans to rise up against this kind of garbage, to fight it aggressively wherever it appears. And it is time for every American of good will to hold the Republican Party accountable for its role in tolerating, shielding and encouraging foul, mean-spirited and bigoted behavior in its ranks and among its strongest supporters.

For decades the G.O.P. has been the party of fear, ignorance and divisiveness. All you have to do is look around to see what it has done to the country. The greatest economic inequality since the Gilded Age was followed by a near-total collapse of the overall economy. As a country, we have a monumental mess on our hands and still the Republicans have nothing to offer in the way of a remedy except more tax cuts for the rich.

This is the party of trickle down and weapons of mass destruction, the party of birthers and death-panel lunatics. This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry.

... The G.O.P. poisons the political atmosphere and then has the gall to complain about an absence of bipartisanship.

The toxic clouds that are the inevitable result of the fear and the bitter conflicts so relentlessly stoked by the Republican Party - think blacks against whites, gays versus straights, and a whole range of folks against immigrants - tend to obscure the tremendous damage that the party's policies have inflicted on the country. If people are arguing over immigrants or abortion or whether gays should be allowed to marry, they're not calling the G.O.P. to account for (to take just one example) the horribly destructive policy of cutting taxes while the nation was fighting two wars.

If you're all fired up about Republican-inspired tales of Democrats planning to send grandma to some death chamber, you'll never get to the G.O.P.'s war against the right of ordinary workers to organize and negotiate in their own best interests - a war that has diminished living standards for working people for decades."

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