It’s almost more than a sane person can take. Following repeated failures of leadership in the House, the Senate finally hammered together a bill to reopen the government and yet, 18 Republican Senators put their personal and ideologically extremist beliefs above the good of the nation and voted “no.” What planet are these guys on, that they think shutting down the government of the United States, throwing millions out of work, jeopardizing the world’s economy and our national credit rating, is an okay idea? This is beyond irresponsible. It’s at least sedition and possibly worse.
Imagine if all 18 were Muslim Democrats? Think anybody would be upset with that? Think those on the far right would be demanding treason charges or maybe something worse? Of course they would. But the gang of 18 won’t be held to the to the same standard because they are probably all “good” Christians, or at least they probably claim to be, so our national bias about people who are or are not “different” will give them an automatic pass on seditious behavior.
They were just taking a “tough” stand to try and put an end to Obamacare. At least that’s where it started before evolving into a movement with no clear purpose other than causing chaos for the federal government and its employees. Even if they did needlessly shut down the government for 16 days. It’s the kind of thing George W. Bush or Ronald Reagan might have done, isn’t it? Weren’t they both cowboys, and isn’t that where this macho, take no prisoners, every man for himself nonsense got started?
To some in the former USSR (Russia), he was referred to as “The cowboy Reagan.” He had a ranch, he rode a horse and he played the part very well. Some in the USSR, probably thought he was a little off his nut, and that may have helped put an end to the cold war. I’ll give him that. Statements like, “I just saw Rambo, next time I’ll know what to do,” undoubtedly added to the Reagan fear factor overseas. He also started the ball rolling on the devastation of unionism and the destruction of the American middle class, but the cold war did end under his watch. That is to say, it ended. He wasn’t necessarily responsible for ending it.
A number of factors had to line up for the cold war to come to an end. Chief among them perhaps, was a desire on the part of former Soviet Premier, Mikhail Gorbachev, to put an end to the arms race as the USSR continued struggling with a heavy financial burden in its ongoing effort to achieve military parity with the United States. Having a “cowboy” in the White House, probably helped. But he was a cowboy for whom the time was right. The planets lined up for Ronald Reagan, and he gladly accepted the credit. The Nobel Peace Prize, went to Gorbachev.
If only the tough guy, cowboy nonsense had ended there. It didn’t. A few years later another cowboy, George W. Bush, was urging our enemies to “Bring ’em on!” Just a few weeks earlier, he had landed on the deck of an aircraft carrier for his now infamous “Mission Accomplished” debacle. Whether walking from Marine One to the White House with his trademark macho swag and swagger or clearing brush with a chainsaw in Crawford, Texas, Dubya Bush, was a real hard ass. He was also, as the late great Ann Richards put it, “born with a silver foot in his mouth.” Nevertheless, he gave the appearance of being a real American cowboy, just like Republican hero, Ronald Reagan. But at what cost to our national well being? We are no longer living in the wild, wild West. Most of us are not out riding the range, six-shooters by our sides. There are practical considerations as opposed to the romantic illusions of the misinformed and just plain ignorant.
It was Reagan who started the “revolution,” leading to the rise of the American corporatocracy, the off-shoring of millions of jobs, tax cuts for the wealthy and the devastation of unions and the middle class, resulting in the biggest gap between the rich and the poor in American history. Only Mexico, Turkey and Chile have greater income inequality than the United States. Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, helped finish the job, as Clinton signed a bill killing the Glass Steagall Act, letting bankers run wild, and Bush continued the trend by cutting taxes for the rich and taking the nation into two wars by sending the National Guard overseas to avoid a draft and then putting the whole operation on a credit card. Nearly one-half of our current debt is attributable to the Bush wars and tax cuts. Under George W. Bush, our national debt nearly doubled. Under Mr. Obama, it rose 45% during his first three years in office as he was forced to pick up the tab for all the Republican spending and tax cutting that took place under Bush. And still the racist birther wingnuts on the right blame Barack Obama?
There’s an element of insanity within the Republican Party that doesn’t deserve political survival. They need to return to whatever swamp they crawled out of and leave the rest of us alone.
They shut us down, all of us, for 16 days and then wanted to keep it going. They wanted to throw the country into default, creating all sorts of economic trouble, including bumping up interest rates for a middle class that’s already stressed to the max. Clearly, they want to destroy our federal government. Unfortunately for many uninformed or intentionally misinformed Americans, that’s just fine. They’ve bought into the tough guy image and are in denial about reality.
We’re a country that’s in love with violence, on the silver screen, on television and out on the gridiron, where American males bash their heads together, repeatedly suffering concussions, the dangers of which medical science is only beginning to understand, as they take part in one of the most violent sporting events on Earth. More high school kids take part in full-contact football programs than in any other sport. But it’s all okay, because in the fashion of Reagan and Bush, they’re acting like cowboys, tough guy heroes to the very end. That’s what we’re into. Even if American children go to bed hungry and the poor are forced to go without healthcare. Even if the wingnuts shutting us down represent only a small run-away minority of the once great Republican Party. They were only pushing it to the max, playing it hard and tough, the way all our heroes do. It’s what we like. It’s what we’ve come to expect.
There is absolutely no doubt about it, these wingnuts on the right have no concern for the preservation of our government or our economy, making them no less a threat than Islamist terrorism. It’s time to stop being nice simply because their ignorance and power hungry egos are stopping them from acting like responsible adults. It’s time for the grownups among us to put a stop to this idiotic cowboy persona by calling them out for all their repeated lies and in doing so, to restore a degree of sanity to our national consciousness by once again putting America, all of America, above and beyond the interests of a relative few extremists on the far right. Corporate and individual extremists for whom people are meaningless, except as a disposable resource, and wealth is all powerful.