The shame of a nation

April 14th, 2011

On the eve of April 8 the United States government came to the brink of collapse, the crisis averted only by an eleventh hour agreement wherein the Republicans agreed to not defund Planned Parenthood and the EPA (this time around), and Democrats caved in to nearly $40 billion (.89 percent of the total) in budget cuts that affect the poorest among us.

Thanks to these tireless efforts by both the G.O.P. establishment and their tea-bagging cohorts, America has become the laughing stock of the developed world, a joke with an absurd setup and a cruel punch line. Also, thanks to these efforts, the public now has a working knowledge of what Republicans and their supporters mean when they speak of “shared sacrifice.”

In trying economic times, the poor, the elderly, infirm and working people should share the burden, while the rich continue to reap the benefits of unfettered and unquestioned opulence.

Still, the defense budget remained untouched. Payroll taxes, which fund our social safety nets (SSI, Medicare, Medicaid) are still capped to spare the wealthy from having to contribute to a system that they readily take advantage of. Capital gains taxes are still as regressive as ever. All these things are exempt from the Republican idea of “shared sacrifice,” but thankfully OBGYN services for poor women and winter-heating subsidies for impoverished families and seniors are ripe and ready for callous tea party butchery.

It is a sad day that we are forced to witness the sheer depravity of these self-proclaimed rugged individualists, who for all their talk of family values and religious virtue have weighed the welfare of the rich and corporate to be greater than that of the broken and desperate.

Though we must collectively cast shame on Republicans and even greater shame on their supporters in light of such unabashed malignant avarice, we must also remember to act when called in 2012 and send these anti-intellectual Rand-fetishist theocrats back to the holes they crawled out of, lest we, by virtue of our own apathy, pave the way for a new wave of American oligarchs, and in doing so bring shame to ourselves.