The Republicans, and their Tea Party friends are constantly reminding us that the government is bad and wrong. We should hack away at the red tape, bureaucracy and waste, and create a streamlined and efficient government that spends as little as possible, lets people take personal responsibility for themselves, and allows companies to operate freely in a capitalist market place where market forces and consumer democracy will keep everyone honest and fair.
It’s a wonderful vision (at least to some), much like the way they reminisce about the ‘good old days’ of the 1950s, where good honest hard working men would go to the factory, do an honest days work, and earn enough to support his housewife, car, two kids, dog, and home.
The problem with the small government vision, just like the idyllic and mythical ‘good old days’ is that it is a complete lie and fabrication, invented to invoke an emotion and to gain votes among the gullible and ill-informed.
Other than in soundbite and words, Republicans have demonstrated quite clearly that they do not actually support any of the above concepts of small government and low taxes. During the last Republican administration, government agencies expanded at a rate never seen before in this country. Hundreds and hundreds of agencies monitoring this, or policing that, each trying desperately to justify their existence and demand greater and greater budgets to support their ‘important’ roles.
Since the Republican Congress came to power this year, we have had to hear over and over how this country is ‘broke’ and how we must make sweeping cuts to teacher pay, unions, special interests, charities, Planned Parenthood, and anything they can find relating to ‘Obamacare.’ But really most of the cuts are little more than an attack on anything even remotely liberal or in place to help the vulnerable in society such as the poor, sick, disabled, children and the elderly.
Republicans also scoff when they are reminded that our current financial crisis began as a result of dismantling rules and regulations designed to keep companies from doing whatever they feel like. They also get mad when you remind them that part of our budget issues are related to starting two long running wars in the Middle East that were never really paid for with appropriate tax increases.
But beyond the lies about why we need to destroy important social programs that benefit our society, there is the incredibly irritating argument about personal liberty and general societal liberty that quite simply moves into disillusion territory. Republicans have made it quite clear that although they talk about people having freedom, this does not extend to a woman having an abortion. There have been some scary assaults against a woman’s right to choose in the past few weeks, including some Republicans suggesting that killing an abortion doctor shouldn’t really be considered murder, and that a woman who had a miscarriage should have an invasive government sponsored investigation just to determine if she should be jailed for murdering a ‘baby.’ Don’t you just love the concept of taking a grieving woman who just had a miscarriage, and force them to undergo high stakes government scrutiny where if she gets unlucky she might end up in jail? Remember too the Republican initiative that said it was okay for a woman to die if saving her might cause an abortion.
Then of course we have the issue of gay rights. Republicans can’t stand the idea of gay people having rights, and resist any movement towards accepting gay marriage, or giving gay people equal rights. So how exactly does this correlate with a small and non-interfering government? Surely if we are talking about freedom and a lack of government control, we don’t need the government preaching morality, quoting the Bible, and telling people who love each other that they are not allowed to get married.
In many countries online gambling is now a perfectly normal and legal activity, that generates significant tax revenue. But Republicans passed draconian anti-gambling laws in 2006 which were never debated and were attached to unrelated anti-terror bills. Thanks to the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006, banks are now required to closely monitor people’s private bank accounts, so they can notify the government if something that looks related to online gambling takes place, and deny financial transactions with legitimate, legal, foreign businesses. Does this sound like freedom to you?
I’m sure the issue of pot has been debated to death, and it’s pretty clear that Republicans believe in the war on drugs, which costs us billions of dollars. Is this a hallmark of small government when we have to tell citizens then can’t grow a pot plant and smoke the leaves, threatening them with jail if they fail to comply? I mean really, why in the spirit of small government and less interference do we care?
One could really fill a book with all the things Republicans want to ban, control, tightly regulate, or impose their moral or Christian values upon. And really I have no problem with any of it. If Republicans want to run on a platform of creating their own Christian version of Saudi Arabia here in the good old U.S. of A. then that’s fine. But be honest about it. Stop telling us that you want to cut government spending while you are spending billions to allow the richest 2% of people in society pay less tax. Stop telling us about personal liberty while taking it away from us. Stop with the lies, and tell us for real what you want to do.
Of course, this is never going to happen. While there are some misguided souls out there who would support such things, many of the Republican base would run for the hills if they were really aware of what they were supporting.
Ultimately you have to hand it to Republicans. Proven to be a party that only cares about increasing the gap between rich and poor, in favor of the millionaires, they still manage to own certain issues like gun control, war, religion, reproductive rights, and gay rights, all of which they use shamelessly to encourage ordinary Americans to consistently vote against their own self interest. Where else in the world do you see someone living in absolute poverty in a rented trailer, without proper access to health care, good nutrition, and education, consistently voting for a party that helped put him into grinding poverty in the first place, that has no stated intention of helping him in the future? I guess if you have to give Republicans credit for doing something amazing, that would be it.