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The Thing of It Is

I used to be a Republican. I voted for Reagan when I was old enough to vote and for the first Bush and for other Republicans after him. My father was a Republican and in all honesty, I wanted to please him to a certain degree, but the Republicans at the time reflected my values which were pretty middle class.

It was during the presidency of the second Bush that I began to have second thoughts. I began to suspect that the GOP that I’d grown up with had undergone a radical philosophical shift. No longer were they the party of the Middle Class. They had become the party of the Upper Class. And not just the Upper Class, the Upper Upper Class. They had become the party of billionaires.

Their current ticket is a reflection of that. I’ve long since renounced my Republicanism and moved quite decisively to the left. Mitt Romney can mouth a lot of platitudes about values but most of his values have dollar signs in front of them. Not only that, some of his remarks indicate that he really doesn’t have a clue about the lives of most Americans. When he speaks about the 47% of Americans who didn’t pay any taxes, he makes them all out to be Welfare cheats who live off the dole and feel themselves entitled to do so.

Certainly there are people who are like that. There’s no doubt that there are people who are perfectly able to work and be productive and choose not to. But to think that the entire 47% of those who didn’t pay taxes are that way is ludicrous to say the least. Most of those in that category are the working poor, people who have exemptions enough to cover their taxes or the elderly.

Mr. Romney doesn’t seem to get that most people who get government assistance really need it. He doesn’t seem to think that there are far more success stories of people who use that assistance to make their lives and communities better than there are of abuse and waste. If it were up to him, there’d be no social services whatsoever, no infrastructure development. There would simply be a legislature enacting laws, a military and a supreme court. People would depend on private charities to help them out in times of need.

He’s a big believer that when the rich are flush with money, the economy is humming. The rich create jobs when they are flush; they create businesses. The richer that they are, the better it is for the U.S. economy. Which is complete bollocks.

It’s simple mathematics. The more money that the rich have, the less there is for the rest of us. The rich aren’t interested in investing in the community – they much prefer to retain as much of the pie for themselves. That is why they have made it so that only rich people can afford to run for public office. Can you imagine the laws that would be enacted if a homeless person was elected president?

The Republicans have been very successful at linking their party with traditional values and patriotism. They have been waving the flag for the Christian right, opposing gay marriage and abortion. They oppose Obamacare and vow to repeal it. School prayer is more of a priority than education. Drilling for domestic oil is more of a priority than finding alternative renewable energy sources.

These aren’t my values. I believe in a very wide separation between Church and state. I don’t believe in enacting laws based on religious values. I believe that everyone is entitled to good health care without having to pay an arm and a leg for it. I believe that everyone is entitled to marry who they want, regardless of sexual orientation. I believe a woman is entitled to decide whether or not she carries a pregnancy to term. I believe that the health and well-being of the planet is of greater importance than jobs, even hundreds of thousands of jobs – and far more important than profits and material wealth for a select few.. And I believe that these values are just as American if not more so than those who oppose them.

The thing of it is that most of those who support Romney don’t seem to understand what his views are. All they seem to do is bash the economy – which has improved in every metric since the crash – but don’t get that recovery from economic disasters can take many years, even decades. No president could have pulled us out of the hole that the Bush Administration dug for us in just four years, particularly when they had a congress that refused to work with them.

I don’t understand Romney supporters. His allegiance is to the super-rich. He’s made that abundantly clear. Most of the policies he says he intends to enact will not benefit them. He’ll remove laws that will prevent health insurance companies from denying coverage based on pre-existing conditions. He’ll enact laws that will permit oil companies to drill in national parks, despoiling them for future generations. NPR and public television will be gutted as will Planned Parenthood, who do a lot more than give abortions.

I shudder to think of what a Romney presidency would look like. There’s just too much riding on it. I don’t like what America has become – a nation of the self-absorbed. I’m not saying that Obama is the ticket to greatness again; I just think that he is a far better alternative than the Republican platform. At least he pays lip service to the needs of the people of this nation. The Romney-Ryan ticket doesn’t seem to give a damn for anyone who doesn’t live in a mansion.


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