Sunday, October 20, 2013

Essentials for Our Republic

Our republic is a democracy
Afloat on a sea of hypocrisy
With holes through the beam
That cause us to scream
While the listing to starboard worsens
A hostile crew debates our fate
We passengers vocally curse them
As we feel the lies and the hate
Swirling around to drown us
No matter how much we fuss
These rebels care not for our health
And surely not for our wealth
So join and set our nation free
From the tyranny of their tea

We have again witnessed the smallness of humanity in the name of protecting freedom.  The Tea Party RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) who are anarchists at best and possibly deliberate destroyers of democracy have modernized sedition.  Yes, the GOP must shed this cancer or die, but we will all be hurt by the continuing tactics of people organized to overthrow our form of government.  Republicans seem to be at a loss to deal with usurpers who have cowed their leadership.  You may see this as a good thing as a Democrat and are simply tired of trickle down economics and stigmatizing the disenfranchised among us, but think more deeply on this travail.  This, by any other name, is an overt attempt to overthrow our democracy and our capitalistic economic system.  The sick irony of all this is that the Tea Party is claiming to fight for your freedom not to be covered by healthcare or job protection or the safety net that keeps you and your children from starvation or homelessness.  They want to cut the nation’s deficit. The same deficit that VP Cheney famously was quoted saying “Deficits don’t matter.”  Senator Cruz:  Please tell me how starving enhances our freedom.  Could you show me instead?  Please Senator Cruz.

Modest estimates are that the recent shutdown of our government by the House of Representatives cost us $24 Billion that will never be recovered.  Others say that the cost is far higher because we are no longer a trusted nation and that our industry, commerce and international good will is permanently damaged.  Few peer into the damage done to the small entrepreneurs and the poor among us who live from paycheck to paycheck or depend upon meager handouts from government or churches or myriad charities.  This points to some nettlesome symptoms of the disease, but the fundamental problems go much deeper.  Democracies, and especially this democratic republic, depend upon two fundamental elements to survive. Representative democracies require compromise as an integral part of our political process to work, otherwise a small minority can bring the business of state to a grinding halt.  If the democracy were absolute with all citizens voting on all issues, then we could be calmed by knowing that the majority would prevail.  Unfortunately, but obviously, the logistics of having about 250 million votes counted on national issues is unworkable.  We are facing well financed sedition by a minority of citizens who understand the mechanics of politics but whose motives are suspect.  Sedition is essentially defined as inciting resistance to authority without overt acts of violence.  This definition and the recent threats by the Tea Party call us to question how we can endure as a nation.  We cannot become like them and yet we need to protect our political process.  The second essential item is that we depend upon a modified capitalistic economic system that works based upon the good name and faith the entire world places in our ability to make good on our debts.  Our monetary system is the primary monetary system of the world and without full faith in our promises, the system collapses into a wild crap shoot of speculation that will drive up interest rates for everybody and reduce the consumption that drives our American economy as well as dry up labor that secures a portion of the largess for each of us.

Let us glance at the tactics of the Tea Party.  As an organized force, they have been well financed by conservatives such as the Koch brothers and the Heritage Foundation (that originally designed Romneycare that they liked until they disliked it and called it Obamacare).  Their stated goal is to promote conservative issues with an $80 million budget straight out of Washington.  That sounds innocuous enough until you learn that they have challenged and defeated conservative Republicans whom they felt were simply not radical enough.  They defeat Republicans in primaries that might compromise on legislation.  This has increasingly radicalized Congress to where willingness to compromise is now equated with defeat at the polls, especially the primaries where Republicans have traditionally held seats.  Given that our political process demands compromise in order to function, there is no wonder why gridlock has increased and that there appears that personal hatred has replaced professional political poise.  Ironically, if you do not review Tea Party practices in any depth, you may accept their mantra that they cannot compromise their principles and that any compromise attacks their principles.  Why would any group that truly supports the good of the nation as a whole take the Confederate flag as their standard?  Why would any group eschew compromise and punish GOP elected officials who may use it to advance legislation?  Why would any group that supports our nation actively destroy the good faith of our economic system by demanding default on our debts and shutting down government to obtain its political goals?  Success means destruction of our government.

I have discussed two essentials of our fabric of democracy:  1) Compromise as a political practice and 2) consistent support of our economic system.  Neither can be diminished without harm to our republic.  Grievous breaches cause grievous harm.  There is a corollary issue equally important to our success as a nation and that lies in the concept of commonwealth; that whatever we do should be done for the good of the people as a whole and not merely a few of the rich and powerful.  While that has sometimes been diminished, it is unconscionable that any lawmaker deliberately hurt the majority of the people for selfish goals of a person or group as we recently witnessed in the Tea Party shutdown of our government. 

Using rigid no-compromise tactics combined with threats to harm our economic system amount to sedition when combined with hyperbolic rhetoric, use of hate symbols such as the Confederate flag and falsely blaming the Executive Branch for closing the government and physically going to sites such as national monuments to stir up hate against our government such as Senator Cruz did after he led the effort to close the government and its offices including its parks.  We have even seen calls for extreme measures such as secession to extort concessions and the hypocrisy simply astounds.  As an example, Greg Collett, a Tea Party two time candidate for state office in Idaho is quoted: “I don’t think the government should be involved in my healthcare or health insurance.”  He has ten children on Medicaid and defends his position as consistent.  Rhetoric aside; What are these crazies thinking?  Governor Perry of Texas has mentioned secession from the union as an option as though that state was being abused.  This is not ordinary talk or criticism, but clearly seditious when he does it before crowds of rabid conservatives who are clearly looking to force their will on the rest of the nation.

I have waited for the government to reopen and for cooler heads to prevail to write on this topic, but we will face this condition again in a matter of only a few months.  Has America given up on majority rule?  Does gerrymandering bring a new legitimacy to elimination to the concept of 1 man/woman = 1 vote?  Does force and the threat to use it bring legitimacy to internal tyrants?  We cannot continue to say that we need to compromise when rules for compromise have been destroyed by one small minority.  There are parallels in history.  Each is ugly and ends badly.  Let us hope that Boehner or his replacement can muster the courage to control the uprising before it destroys the fabric of our system for the coming decades.   Let us hope that Cruz learns that hunger hurts and hurts children most.  Speak out and finance Tea Party opponents in coming elections.  Remember, money is free speech despite costs.

George Giacoppe
20 Oct 2013

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