At Least I'm not Republican

Social Issues

  • Author Arthur Gevarnick
  • Published September 4, 2022
  • Word count 2,379

At Least I’m not Republican

Republicans seem satisfied today, almost smug with our antiquated system of representation assuring them the ability to push agendas and block legislation almost with impunity despite having a voting minority. And they are now busily addressing even that problem, disenfranchising whatever voter they can, who for one ideological reason or another may not pass their conservative muster. The Founding Fathers would have been aghast, but not surprised at the eroding separation of church and state which the Republicans now wholeheartedly embrace, for they knew full well its dangers. Mark Twain said that, “While history doesn’t repeat itself, it does rhyme.” What the “Supreme” Court’s five arch-conservatives agenda is now up to may revisit upon our nation to the religious oppressions of the past so feared by the founding fathers. Our statisticians tell us that the average American now surfing the internet has an attention span of eight seconds, less than a gold fish. Too bad, because more nos than ever, we need to spend some time studying a little history, to avoid falling into the traps being set. Don’t take the freedoms you have for granted. History is replete with moral majorities showing an unfailing habit of adopting the expedient whereby “ the ends justify the means.“

The Republicans have taken it upon themselves to select their own facts, chief among them, “ that they should rule, no matter what .“ Now we are seeing the power of propaganda, so ubiquitous in Russian history, used to both destabilize society, while fanning the flames of xenophobia. The Russians, with their almost thousand year history of uninterrupted autocratic rule, are masters of propaganda; and it now seems as if the Republicans are trying to catch up. Our last great Republican President, Eisenhower, who in 1956 built us the US Interstate System-what a gift-would have no place in today’s GOP. He would be considered far too rational.

You may find me negligent in having not mentioned President Ronald Reagan, that great elder statesmen, former governor and long-time host of “Death Valley Days.” While it’s true his military buildup cowed the Russians for a while, during his second term the poor man was losing touch with reality and his wife Nancy, as was later revealed, was calling most of the shots. One of those, was when Nancy gave us her“Just Say No Policy,” which is no more valid now than when she rolled it out in 1984; a draconian policy which resulted in the incarceration of over two million Americans, for the crime of imbibing in a plant which George Washington had raised on his farm. So fecund were the new incarcerations that they required the establishment of a whole new, and I might add profitable, private prison system.

The opposite of love isn’t hate… it’s apathy. Most of my neighbors are Republican’s-I know from all the recent “ Trump signs “ prominently displayed in their yards as well as the fact they, each year, pay to have truckloads of pesticide dumped on their lawns in an effort to make it marginally greener, not giving a thought to the bees, butterflies, and other life forms that questionable practice kills, both in their own yards and later downstream when it all washes away to affect a lot of other people then eventually dump into the ocean, already near dead of fish. They are just “going with the flow,” or should I say, “Going with the tribe,” considering that group mentality reigns. Regardless, they seem apathetic to the consequences, to logic, to suffering. It’s that same apathy which allows them to turn a blind eye to the fact that in our country an adolescent can buy a military assault weapon designed to slaughter dozens of people in minutes. And even after such occurrences become commonplace they will still contribute millions to elect officials who will “ensure than nothing ever changes.”

Most Republicans go to church, a fact they are proud of. As card-carrying Christians, it must be assumed that Jesus would be proud of them, as they force our society to take two steps backwards for very one step forward. I’m sure that Jewish prophet with a mission of reconciliation who bravely faced evil with compassion and forgiveness would have owned an AR-15 himself, if given the choice… No doubt he would have contributed alms to building a wall blocking poor people from escaping danger and entering a new land… he would have burnt coal every chance he got… caring nought for the birds in the field or the sky above. It’s one thing to lie to yourself, it’s quite another to believe it. Meanwhile, those five arch-conservatives on the “supreme” court just voted to strip the EPA, our protective agency, from powers to direct our nation towards producing cleaner energy at a time when the urgency was never greater, considering the ongoing destruction of our climate. It’s instructive to remember how the EPA got its start. It was formed following the public outrage when in 1969 our water quality had gotten so bad that the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, had burned for nearly a week. And why did these government appointees, these “lawyers dressed in a black robe” act as they did ? So the wealthy interests can continue to reap short term profit from fossil fuels, particularly coal, that most destructive source of carbon afflicting our atmosphere. These judges who wield powers similar to the patriarchs of old are no less capable of impaired reasoning.

A little history: The Republican party originally ran on a platform that opposed slavery. That period was short-lived, for early into Reconstruction they began courting rich northern financiers-made wealthy by the new tax structures-and have ever since made a habit of catering to the wealthy. The high visibility which is given to “ hot-button “ issues like restricting women's reproductive rights, and guaranteeing every citizen the right to possess an assault weapon, is really window dressing to garner votes while distracting from their real agenda, to which they devote ninety percent of their legislative time: a.) regulating in industry’s favor, b.) taking every opportunity to reduce taxes for the very,very wealthy, c.) helping to weaken or dissolve pension plans for workers, which again helps the very wealthy, and d.) restricting access to voting, unless you are conservative, white, and Christian.

A little math. Republicans chant a lot around election time about “tax relief“ when they should be yelling about “tax justice.“ In 2015 the US, for the first time, surpassed having over 500 billionaires-our own oligarchs- who in every real sense are the truly privileged. While most working Americans- those who foot the bills for the government-were assessed an income tax rate ranging from 28-33%, the billionaire class in 2020-if they paid any income tax at all-paid on average 3.46 %. A billion is a thousand million dollars. Tell me that they can’t afford to contribute a little more to this land from which they have profited so handsomely . Moreover, people don’t realize what our real tax rate is. After your wage is deducted of federal withholding tax, and in many states a state withholding tax as well, you still have to pay lots of taxes on every purchase that you make, using the money which was already taxed. So when you buy gas, or food, or clothing, or utilities, or anything, that same money is being taxed again.

The net effect of all that compounded tax is that, by the end of the year, you have actually paid about 55% of your original income in taxes ! This leaves you about 45% of your original earnings to pay for housing, food, medical, transportation, save for retirement, educate your children, make what donations you can, and who knows-you might want to see a movie or go out for dinner. Hence the need to enter into a discussion about “tax justice.” The next time you hear a Republican start chanting about “tax relief”… redirect them.

Republicans proudly stand for “less government“ and “ spending less “, except for the military, which they profit handsomely from in the form of defense contracts; while ignoring the fact that whenever social services are “cut,” those needs do not go away but simply get pushed back into the home, a home that may already be stretched to the limit. This often results in a caretaker now having to leave the work force. The statistics they give may be wholly inaccurate, and in no way reflecting the real costs of their actions. I remember the words of my father-in-law, very wise in the ways of the world who had spent a lifetime in government service. Frank said, “If the Democrats were in power ten months out of the year and the Republicans were in power only two months out of the year, the Republicans would steal more money… because they’re better at it.”

Republicans favor a “laissez-faire” policy towards business while leading economists now tell us that business regulating itself has led to both the horrendous institutionalized global inequality-where the ten richest people now own more than the poorest 3.6 billion-as well as to our lasting nightmare of permanent climate change, where our extraction economy, taking no account of the real costs to the environment, has doomed our children to live in a shrinking world that will become increasingly hostile. Meanwhile, as always, the Republicans continue to focus on short term profit, ignoring any long term damage it accrues, now with the support of the highly politicized “supreme” court.

Republicans favor state’s rights over federal rights; and why wouldn’t they ? If you are conservative, white, and Christian maybe segregation might be good thing, moreover, all that pesky noise from the LBGTQ movement… that could just go away too. Taking it one step further, since they’re not Christians, why not have the Jewish and Muslim people wear some kind of identifying patch, to keep them out of your Christian neighborhoods and not unduly influence your children with their heretic ideas. Btw, the labeling practice originally came from the Catholic Church, who first used it in 12th century Spain to demarcate the Jews; that’s where Hitler got the idea. The Fundamentalists would certainly be onboard.. They openly advocate a returning to “an imagined past when things were much better, perhaps ideal, “ for people like them… who were in charge.

Republicans believe that “ most poor people are lazy,” that’s why they are poor in this land of opportunity. I guess that would also apply to their kids, who no doubt, would have chosen to be poor, without proper healthcare, housing, or food. Notwithstanding the tremendous lost human potential, this is simply another case of apathy. Btw, I’d like to point out that probably almost any billionaire has it within his or her power to relieve hunger in any city of their choosing… tomorrow, as in the spirit of the very honorable Ms. Melinda French Gates, who has taken upon herself to relieve hardship for so many all across this land.

Republicans really don’t like homosexuals, even though every one of them has a homosexual relative somewhere, whether they admit it or not. Anthropologists tell us that the percentage of homosexuality, 11%, has not appreciably changed for thousands of years. Nature doesn’t make an 11% millennial genetic error. Although there are competing theories about the mechanism, one thing is clear, homosexuality has played a role in offering survival advantage to the tribe; and this was occurring long before there were Republicans to say different. Which now brings us to the subject of evolution, one that Republicans seem perennially eager to “wish away.“ People living in the “fact-based universe” know that the science supporting evolution is rock-solid. It forms the foundation of our medical science. Denying science is dangerous, not only because “science is true whether you believe in it or not,” but as was again demonstrated during the recent Covid pandemic, denying science can prove lethal. Our country, plagued by anti-vaccination hysteria had over a million people die; the greater majority unvaccinated. It seems as with the case of assault rifles, we in America “ have the freedom to endanger others, “ while more enlightened societies, like Australia, do not. It is important to point out that despite Republican legislation being written to restrict LBGTQ rights, there has been no talk of limiting their taxes.

Republicans bring people to a feverish pitch talking about “deregulation“ something which doesn’t exist, for there is only re-regulation in someone else’s favor; and this usually implies the removal of important safeguards which had been put in place to safeguard the public. Generally the “re-regulation” will end-up costing the taxpayer much more in the future, when he has to pay for the damage. When the roar dies down from deregulation you’ll hear next about all those “ illegal immigrants,” “illegal,” because we labeled them as such, and “immigrants,” because they arrived here later than our ancestors. If truth be known, the Native Americans would like us all to leave. The impending destruction of our hitherto nurturing climate, now superimposed on the world’s enormous burgeoning overpopulated human population, will bring about mass movements on a scale never seen before; and history teaches-for those patient enough to learn-that mass movements of people are unstoppable. Be it over, under, around, or through… they will find a way. And there will always be those who, for a price, will offer to help them.

Republicans have shown by their actions that they believe global warming “ is not a thing;” at least not a thing which they should be concerned about. Their denial is reminiscent of the thirty year concerted effort made to conceal that smoking caused cancer. Today our scientists-the real experts-tell us that the accelerating rate of burning fossil fuels is destroying life as we know it on Earth, that as the destruction mounts there will be no coming back to what we had before. Yet Republicans are thwarting every attempt at progress while busily trying to extract every last dollar from their fossil fuel industry. This is more greed than apathy. They don’t even seem to care what their own grandchildren, who will be struggling in this diminished world, will think.

Arthur Gevarnick

Former naval officer, retired VA dentist, now enjoys reading, chess, and fly fishing.

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