Palace blogger and (self-proclaimed) Loyal Subject™ SJ posed some intriguing questions in a comment on my post from the other day. I was in the middle of typing a response on that thread, and it started to get a bit long-winded (moi? perish the thought!), so I figured I’d just make a post of the whole thing. But after working on it for the better part of the last few days it was approaching 3,000 words with no end in sight. Worse than that, there was no point in sight either. Okay, a more honest assessment would be that there were too many points in sight: my diatribe seemed more and more suited to an insufferable book proposal than an insufferably long blog post. Regardless, the upshot is that I’ve now decided to spare you, my many tens of loyal readers, from my interminable, meandering bombast. Lucky you! But—and this is important, so pay attention—your reprieve will be short lived. Because I intend to
regale inflict you with all of it. I just plan to do it in small doses, so that you won’t know what hit you until it’s too late. Bwahahahaha!
I’ll let you guess my proposed title for this little series here after I’ve posted all (or most) of it. In the meantime, we can just go with “In response to SJ’s intriguing questions in this comment on that post.” A little clunky, I admit. Okay, how about “Blogger answers clear, direct, insightful questions in painfully long-winded and unnecessarily cryptic fashion.” No? Then I’ll just call it “Mystery Series.” (For now.)
It would be useful at this point to cite SJ’s comment:
Rhetorical question for Iris: Does it make sense to try to buy some time by voting for the LOSE Party (Lesser Of Shitty Evils), based on the unlikely and shrinking possibility that we may still have a fighting chance if Democrats win? Whereas if Republigoons gain control, we are not only fucked but doomed to live in a theocratic, fascist state for the foreseeable future (which, owing to my age, is probably the rest of my life)?
For sure the choice sucks, and that raises the following question: How did those CHUDs acquire such ominous power in a supposedly educated country? It seems like yesterday – I’m thinking of the Clinton years – that life here was at least somewhat decent, that there was actually hope that we were on track to a more rational, compassionate future. (Note: I’m not crediting Clinton, just making reference to a time when vile Repugs did not rule.) So I guess I’m going to do everything I can – which isn’t much – to try to ensure that the avowed Enemies of Humanity ([of] women in particular) don’t gain total and lasting control of the most dangerous country on earth. I say total and lasting because you would have to be extremely naive to think they will relinquish control once they attain it, demographic trends notwithstanding. Fascists don’t get voted out of power – it takes guns, and guess who has the guns.
Here’s my interpretation of the phrase, “totally fucked”: This country experienced a horrendous Civil War; now I have the uneasy sense that rivers of blood may flow again regardless of which gang prevails in the coming elections.
Darkness descends . . . am I delusional, or deadly serious?
The Republican National Convention descended upon Tampa today.
The party of “I’ve got mine, fuck you. ‘Cuz GAWD sez, bitchez!” is known for, among many other things, a devout reverence for The Way Things Were, in spite of the fact that Things were never anything remotely like The Way they
recall hallucinate say. Take the 1950’s, for example: the revered, post-WW II era beloved by conservatives. It was a time when women knew their rightful place (see, e.g. June Cleaver). But even more importantly, men were free! Not just from the evils of feminism, either: they were free from the un-American tyranny of paying taxes. Never mind that the highest marginal tax rate in 1956 was 91%, on income above $400,000.* (That’s not a typo: NINETY ONE PERCENT.) By contrast, today Mitt Romney insists—without evidence—that he routinely pays “at least 13%” in tax on his many millions of yearly income.
In the decade that followed the glorious 1950s, the United States put a man on the moon and collectively funded the infrastructure and education that led to the largest and most affluent middle class the world had ever seen. But alas, SJ did not inquire about high marginal tax rates and the unprecedented economic prosperity that resulted therefrom—although one could easily make a case that he did, at least indirectly. (And by “one,” I mean “Iris.”) But I merely mention this as background, in the context of which I would like to talk about the Republican Party Platform.**
Of 1956. (That’s not a typo either: NINETEEN FIFTY SIX. CE.)
On Labor and Wages: The platform boasted that “the Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.” It called for changes to the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act to “more effectively protect the rights of labor unions” and to “assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.”
On Welfare and Health: The platform demanded “once again, despite the reluctance of the Democrat 84th Congress, Federal assistance to help build facilities to train more physicians and scientists.” It emphasized the need to continue the “extension and perfection of a sound social security system,” and boasted of the party’s recent history of supporting “enlarged Federal assistance for construction of hospitals, emphasizing low-cost care of chronic diseases and the special problems of older persons, and increased Federal aid for medical care of the needy.”
On Civil Rights, Gender Equality, and Immigration: The platform supported “ self-government, national suffrage and representation in the Congress of the United States for residents of the District of Columbia.” With regards to ending discrimination against racial minorities, the party took pride that “more progress has been made in this field under the present Republican Administration than in any similar period in the last 80 years.” It also recommended to Congress “the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.” Its section on immigration actually recommended expanding immigration to America, supporting ”the extension of the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 in resolving this difficult refugee problem which resulted from world conflict.”
I think it goes without saying that Republicans are no long openly bragging about their track record of heroic efforts to expand Social Security, retirement pensions for federal employees, unemployment benefits or workers’ compensation. And I’m pretty sure Republicans are not screaming from the rooftops about shoring up labor union rights, expanding immigration, training doctors and scientists on the government dime, or providing medical care for the elderly and the poor.
None of this should surprise any of us with respect to Republicans.
I will just leave you with one question: when was the last time you heard prominent Democrats seriously advocating for any of these things?
* That’s married filing jointly. And adjusted for inflation. Yep.
**The 2012 Republican platform is… um… interesting.
To protect our servicemen and women and ensure that America’s Armed Forces remain the best in the world, we affirm the timelessness of those values, the benefits of traditional military culture, and the incompatibility of homosexuality with military service.
That’s right: feck off, gayz!
Societies that enjoy political and economic freedom and the rule of law are not given to aggression or fanaticism.
You. Have. Got. To. Be. Kidding. The United States is the most violently aggressive country in the world, with it’s population exhibiting a fanaticism bordering on Saudi Arabia’s. Perhaps that statement is correct, though, i.e. we do not in fact enjoy political or economic freedom.
In affirming Article VI of the Constitution that no religious test shall ever be required for any office we insist that the Senate should never inquire into a nominee’s religious convictions and we condemn the opposition, by some members of the Democratic Party, to recent judicial nominees because of their ethnicity or religion.
We renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with increased funding for abstinence education, which teaches abstinence until marriage as the responsible and expected standard of behavior. Abstinence from sexual activity is the only protection that is 100 percent effective against out-ofwedlock pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS when transmitted sexually.
Old Glory should be given legal protection against desecration.
Because that’s a HUGE problem facing our society today.
We support a human life amendment to the Constitution, and we endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion and will not fund organizations which advocate it. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity and dignity of innocent human life.
I might barf now. I mean, like, projectile vomit.
But you? You should totally enjoy your day.