Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Where are the responsible grownups?

An open message to the GOP:  Well, congratulations.  This was your election to lose, and you lost it.  Economic turmoil, concern about whether our nation is being run responsibly, some unpopular Democratic policies and some unpopular Democrats in office, and a big segment of the population that still associates the word "conservative" with the image of an honest, fair, trustworthy, cautious, pillar-of-the-community type on whom we can count for stability and responsible leadership.  All you had to do was deserve that image.  All you had to do was position yourselves as the party of responsible grownups.

Instead, you became the party of legislative obstructionists, more focused on stopping Obama and the Democrats from accomplishing anything than on working to solve national problems.

You became the party of budget-deficit nonsense, failing to make or even propose any meaningful cut in spending, as if we can eliminate our national deficit by de-funding the Corporation for Public Broadcasting while refusing to trim anything from the 1500-times-larger defense budget.

You became the party of abandonment of leadership responsibility, forsaking your oath to well and faithfully discharge the duties of your office, in deference to a pledge never to raise taxes under any circumstances, cowering in fear of Grover Norquist's power to mobilize opposition to your re-election while even your own distinguished-statesman President George H.W. Bush asks, "Who the hell is Grover Norquist, anyway?"

You became the party of income inequality, clinging to the trickle-down theory despite decades of history showing massive wealth accumulation among a narrow segment of the population without corresponding trickle-down economic growth; suppressing the Congressional Research Service's own statistical analysis that suggests reduced top marginal tax rates do not contribute to economic growth but instead contribute to increasing concentration of wealth among the wealthy; refusing to acknowledge any possibility of legitimacy in the widespread public belief that our lobbyist-beholden legislative and economic systems reward the wealthy out of proportion to their contributions while transferring risk to typical citizens; and selecting as your presidential candidate a person who exemplifies life among the 1%.

You became the party of union-busting, as if the investment bankers and One-Percenters could trickle down their abundant wealth if only those pesky firefighters and teachers weren't ruining the economy--or as if unions, not corporations, were leading the labor/capital dance these days.

You became the party of voter suppression, as if one of the key problems facing the nation was a statistically significant rate of individuals registering to vote under false names and then actually managing to vote under those false names, presumably in addition to their own.

You became the party of the science deniers, as if it's inconceivable that human activity could influence the climate in ways we'll all come to regret, despite the climate's current unequivocally rapid rate of change, or as if the United States ought to lag the world (rather than lead the world) in developing responsible long-term means of addressing it.

You became the party of opposition to critical thinking, institutionally opposed to anything which might challenge fixed beliefs and institutional authority--instead of devoted to preparing the next generation of citizens to thrive in changing times in a changing world.

You became the party of bedroom supervision, as if the ability of committed same-sex couples to file joint tax returns or inherit each other's property or sue each other for divorce would somehow cause American citizens to suffer measurable harm.

You became the party of backwards movement in social policy, seemingly devoted to an idyllic Ozzie-and-Harriet 1950s culture that wasn't actually all that great for all Americans even when it *was* the 1950s.

You became the party of attention-seeking, divisive blowhards, allowing the Limbaughs and the Hannitys and the Trumps and the Becks to serve as your unofficial mouthpiece, free from any fear of contradiction or disassociation from party leadership regardless of how spiteful or non-productive their rants.

You became the party of self-destruction, vilifying your own Chris Christie for behaving admirably as governor of his state during a time of crisis--and having the audacity to do it in the company of the President.

So, congratulations.  How's that all working out for you?

The tragedy, of course, is that it's not working out well for *us*, the American citizens.  We don't want or need a do-nothing Congress.  We don't want or need a Democratic party that only has to be less ridiculous than the GOP in order to win elections.  We want and need real leadership from both parties, focused on the long-term good of the nation rather than the short-term good of one party or the other.  What are you prepared to do about it?

1 comment:

Mike Lohre said...

There are no grown ups, in either party, I'm afraid. You write forcefully and thoughtfully and grasp the situation perfectly, and I"m afraid it's more true now than when you wrote it.