I talked with someone last night and the state of the Republican Party came into the discussion. This person mentioned the obvious, namely that the Republican Party got corrupted, possibly always has been, by power, money, and special interests, not to mention bottom feeders.
As you probably are aware, power and money corrupt. It takes a special effort, awareness, and ability to not get corrupted by power and money. In a sense, power and money are two halves of the same coin. We see the two sides most eloquently by example. We have Donald Trump, George Soros, and Bill Gates. There are many other people that I can name, but those came to mind first.
Thinking about George Soros brings to mind Warren Buffet (Birkshire Hathaway). Both have oodles of money, but both use their money for good. George Soros opened a university in Budapest, Hungary offering free tuition, which the current dictatorial government in Hungary stopped, but still. Warren Buffet has done many things to help the middle class. I do not need to talk of Bill and Melinda Gates and their foundation combating education, illness, and poverty. What is it that they do not do? Okay, the Gates Foundation can do more on Climate Change, but tackling illness, education, poverty, and vaccinations across the globe are already huge things.
We have Donald Trump, a petulant child that desperately needs a timeout. I truly understand his background. He had a father with issues. He was a victim. I get that. He probably had even as a child mental issues. It is hard to tell without a medical evaluation, but I strongly suspect that is the case. Still, he had money, wealth, a family that helped, and got lucky. As his money and power grew, he delved deeper and deeper into the dark side. He had little need for self restraint or self introspection, which comes with failure. Why? He was never unlucky, so there was no need to self analyze. When he was unlucky or failed, he bullied others. That worked for him. I hate quoting Fiddler on the Roof, but to each their own kind, and he gravitated towards other bottom feeders, Steve Bannon to name just one. Multiple this self feeding downward spiral by decades and add in the corruption that being a movie star brings and you wind up with present day Donald Trump. I will put him politely and just say what Pope Francis said of him. He is not a Christian. If that is not the understatement of the year, then I do not know what is. Evil fascist scum.
The Republican Party saw themselves as the Minority Party, which is not true, but that is how they saw themselves for decades. For reasons that I am not sure, they latched onto big corporate money, mostly from pharmaceuticals, tobacco, fossil fuel, the gun lobby, and the Christian Coalition industries/groups. They got lavished with money and advertising. The cost of that money and power was voting for their causes. Republicans have always gravitated towards states rights and shied away from the social safety net, so there was little interest to say no.
The culmination of special interest money came with the January 21, 2010 decision along party lines (5-4) of Citizens United, which legalized unlimited special interest money into politics. That was the turning point for the Republican Party, which had always gravitated towards special interests, but that made a bad situation even worse.
Treating corporations as people is another problem with the right. Corporations are not people. They are businesses that are run by people, to create products and services, which benefit people and create income for their owners and stock holders. Corporations can exist for good, but can exist for bad too. The tobacco and fossil fuel industries are notoriously evil businesses and sadly spend nearly limitless amounts of money addicting new people each year. That people die and the planet suffers is nothing to them. There are new people to take their place.
In order to maintain the corruption and maintain evil acts, there is a need for self-lying. No group likes to see their own faults, so they turn to outlets that cater to them. Fox, which was run by one of the most corrupt individuals ever to run a media company, Roger Ailes, found out during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, that there is much money and influence that he can peddle by sensationalizing and lying about the issue. Monica became a victim of the right. She wrote about that. With that, Fox News, or should I say Fox Entertainment, was born. They sometimes report truths, but more often they go for ratings and just like the trash magazines at the grocery checkout stand, they cater to conspiracy theories and anything else that play on people’s inner most fears and emotions. The ignorant and scum fall for it. It is easier to believe conspiracy theories and lies than the truth.
Before going into modern day, we have to talk gerrymandering. When Republicans won state houses and the House in 2010, they did extreme gerrymandering. The Supreme Court, had a case, where they ruled recently that Georgia’s gerrymandering disenfranchised poor and African Americans in two districts. The problem is global, but they ruled just there, as that is where the lawsuit was.
Now, Republicans could have done what California did to create special groups and prevent gerrymandering by either party, but Republicans wanting to push their agenda saw that the ends justify the means, another Republican trait that leads to the dark side, and gerrymandered districts to ensure that they win.
Gerrymandering and their special interest focus got them Ted Cruz, Darril Izza, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnel, and all the other scum controlling the House and Senate.
We see the culmination of Fox News, special interests, and big corporate greed with the elevation of Donald Trump to the White House. Here is someone, who should not be in the White House. I do not want to say that he does not have the temperament to be President, because he does not, but rather say that he is in no way qualified. That was obvious before and after.
He does not care about business and jobs. His decision to leave the Paris Climate Treaty was because the fossil fuel industry to which he is beholden does not support climate change. They want to push fossil fuels. Trump and Republicans are looking to create a law forcing states to use coal and oil for energy. The new jobs are green jobs, which we are now ceding to the Chinese and other countries. We are losing respect and our leadership role. It says something that only Syria and Nicaragua did not sign the Paris Accord with Nicaragua refusing because they said the treaty did not go far enough or fast enough to combat Climate Change. That makes Syria the only other country to say no, and they were hardly in a position to say yes. Seriously, if that does not say something, what does?
The best way to help the economy is to be healthy. That means a safe and secure family, a healthy family, and a safe and secure planet. Education is also key. Health, living somewhere, and education are rights, not privileges of the rich.
Thankfully, Democrats are aware of much of the problems plaguing the right, hence California AB-14, which seeks to disclose very visibly who pays for ads and seeks to disclose, who got paid by special interests. Disclosing information, knowledge, is power. That is something the right tries to aggressively curtail. We see that with their intimidation of the media and journalists and attempt to change libel laws.
Truth, the ability to admit wrong, resistance and assistance, and love, true love, will get us past this dark period, which we are now in. It is up to all of us to resist.
Someone said yesterday to me that there are only two real parties in the United States: Progressive Democrats and Moderate Democrats. I did not think of it that way, but that is the truth. The fiscally conservative party are the Progressive Democrats.
Lastly, I wanted to briefly touch on a Republican fallacy. Single payer health care saves money and lives. California SB-562, which seeks to implement Universal Healthcare, Medicare for all, in California, had the official financial statement issued. It would save money each year, not take money. It would save $150 million each year, if I remember the correct figure, with increases in savings in future years. They forgot to take into account that healthy people can work and pay taxes, which then adds even more money.
If there is a light, it is that California will hopefully show the rest of the United States that there is a better way. In truth, there is light. In light and truth, there is a positive future. We just need to fight for it.
The reformation period in Europe in the 1500’s showed that science is the key and has facts. Sadly today, Republicans are forcing marches that science is fact and must be protected. We as a society had this fight. We cannot let fascism take root and flourish. We must resist.
As Keith Olberman says, Peace.