Sunday, November 27, 2005

Message to "Social Conservatives"

You still don't get it, do you? You simply refuse to see how the rich Republicans—you know, the ones who actually run things—have played you for fools.

It's hard to admit you've been had, I know. But you have, big time.

Here's the rich Republicans' problem: there aren't enough of them to win elections, so they need your votes. But they want to keep all of America's wealth for themselves. Starting in the late 1960's, they hit on the solution. It was brilliant, and here it is: mount a huge scare campaign targeted at you, and convince you that they're on your side against the "evil liberals."

In the Nixon era, the bugaboo was black people moving next door and invading your schools and dating your daughters. Back then, the Republican term for this was the "Southern Strategy," and it succeeded in getting lots of southern Democrats to start voting Republican. As the years went on, the campaign against evil liberals received many millions in funding (from—you guessed it—rich Republicans) and broadened out to all the "social issues" that get your blood up today.

And taxes. Always the taxes. The rich Republicans cut them every chance they could, and you were grateful. What they never pointed out was that the same tax cut that saved you a few hundred dollars saved each one of them hundreds of thousands. (All that hysteria about the awful "death tax"? Clever words and lies designed to protect the fortunes of the few hundred richest families in America.) Now your children and mine are faced with a crushing burden of debt that may cripple their chances for a better future.

Sometimes a "thought experiment" can help clarify one's thinking about a problem. Here's one I'd like to propose:
Suppose that in their search for a Supreme Court nominee, the Bush administration came across a candidate who was absolutely, made-in-heaven perfect on all "your" issues. You know, firmly anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, pro-school prayer, anti-evolution, anti-flag burning, anti-sex education, the whole nine yards.
Now suppose that this very same guy—let's call him Joe—was against the things rich Republicans care about: lower taxes for rich people, higher profits for oil companies, relaxed limits on toxic pollution, unrestricted development in our national parks and forests, privatized Social Security, reduced medical assistance for poor people, lower taxes for rich people (oops, repeating myself here).
So here's Judge Joe: perfect on the social issues you care about, but a disaster on the economic issues that matter to rich Republicans. (This may be an unlikely state of affairs, but remember this is a thought experiment; anything can happen.)
So here's the key question: do you think for even one microsecond that Judge Joe has a snowball's chance in hell of getting nominated by George Bush?

Of course not. When there's a choice to be made, the interests of the rich Republicans will always trump your concerns. Always. Get used to it. Talk is cheap, and when they can get your votes by talking, they'll do it. But when the important stuff like big money is involved, you'll have to find a place in the back of the bus. Sorry about that.

See, I happen to believe that the Bush Administration and the Congress are full of hypocrites. People who rail against abortion, but wouldn't hesitate for a minute to get one for their teenage daughter if she was raped by one of those icky types they don't like. People who say they favor school prayer and the teaching of intelligent design, but send their own kids to expensive private schools where neither of those things happens. People who thump the Bible at every opportunity, but repeatedly turn their backs on the poor people who Jesus said we must take care of. People who wrap themselves in the flag and blather about how crucial it is to "defend American values" in Iraq, but avoided military service themselves and don't seem anxious to send their own sons and daughters to war. People who preach "family values" then get divorced or have affairs with their secretaries.

Pure, naked hypocrisy. Frankly, it makes me sick. And the fact that you tolerate it is a measure of how thoroughly you've been bamboozled by these overprivileged creeps.

Keep voting for the rich Republicans if you want. But here's a prediction I'm absolutely confident of:
They're never going to give you decent health care.
They're never going to give you really good schools for your kids.
They're never going to raise the minimum wage to a level you can actually live on.
They're never going to do anything to protect the last remaining good jobs in America.
They're never going to get serious about cleaning up the toxic mess that's poisoning our food and water.

Oh, they'll talk and talk about it, and find plenty of scapegoats to blame for the situation (liberals and foreigners, mostly). But if you think rich Republicans are going to voluntarily tax themselves to help everyday people, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

And you know what's really ironic? The last thing they want is for you to win on your social issues. Because then they'd lose their grip on you. They couldn't drive you to the polls in an anti-abortion crusade if it was already illegal. They couldn't attack pro-science school boards if intelligent design was required teaching. They couldn't rail against gay marriage if the Constitution prohibited it. They simply can't afford to let you win on these issues, because then you might notice that they've been picking your pocket for decades!

And if that "morning after" ever came to pass, and you woke up and realized that you'd been shamelessly manipulated and lied to for the past 40 years, well, there'd be hell to pay.

Folks, the alarm is ringing. The Snooze button is broken. It's time to wake up and smell the hypocrisy.


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