To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Observercast

Bad Actors Stage Political Theater

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“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances.”

Familiar words now, but for how much longer once Republican cancel-cultural commandos realize that Shakespeare wrote a slew of sonnets praising the “Lord of my love?”

Shakespeare fleshes out Jacques’ observation in As You Like It with a description of seven stages in people’s lives which, for our purposes, fittingly begin and end in childishness.

For our subject is the childish shenanigans of Republicans who posture as politicians while strutting and fretting upon the stage [as Macbeth might say] and deliberately accomplish nothing.

Rabid Republican rhetoric riles their constituents. But when it comes time to do more than talk, their actions show them poorly scripted. They waste time and money to secure sound bites with bogus impeachment hearings of the Biden family, and the constant brinkmanship over keeping the government funded gets them in front of the cameras regularly.

The most glaring example of balking over talking is the situation on the southern border. Republicans hope that a border crisis will enhance the presidential campaign of twice-impeached insurrectionist Donald Trump.

So, after batches of bellicose bellowing over a lack of action on the border, Congressional Republicans killed a bipartisan bill – engineered with the help of Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford, certainly no bleeding-heart liberal – that would have provided funding to beef up the federal presence at the border, including more judges to handle asylum backlogs.

Gosh! They’re concerned about the border. Sure. So, they impeached the Homeland Security secretary for not doing the job they refused to fund. Just listen to them, great theater – and ignore the inaction they hope will give the worst presidential liar in history campaign fodder.

Contributing to this farce are the 14 Republican governors who have sent their national guard troops to the Texas border. In Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s publicity stunt was estimated to have cost Oklahoma taxpayers at least $825,000 last year, according to Carmen Forman of Oklahoma Voice.

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, angling for the Trump vice-presidency, has sent troops to the border twice, the first time as mercenaries, with $1million of the cost funded by a Tennessee billionaire. [Wonder where he will deploy them next.] The total cost was $1.4 million, meaning South Dakota taxpayers spent “spent more than $20,000 a day to support a public relations stunt,” according to Lauren White of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.

Noem sent South Dakotans to the border again last year, but her office refused to say how much this vacation cost. Ian Fury, her spokesman told South Dakota Searchlight, “All costs will be paid out of the Emergency & Disaster Fund” – a fund specifically designated for emergencies and disasters within South Dakota.

Ah, but she, Stitt and the other governors got to fly to South Texas at their taxpayers’ expense for photo ops while they condemned conditions at a border that their state’s representatives in Washington [Republicans as well] refuse to treat.

Poor little Sen. Lankford. [Whoever thought he would have my sympathy?] His months’ of hard negotiating was blasted when Trump ordered first House Speaker Mike Johnson and then Senate Republican toadies not to consider the bill. Lankford opined that “my own line turned around and sacked me.” And he has now been censured by the Oklahoma County Republican Party for his efforts at governance over grimacing.

President Biden called the border bill’s demise what it was: “rank partisan politics.”

He added: “The speaker of the House needs to put this bill on the floor because if you put it on the floor unrestricted, it would pass. The majority of Democrats and Republicans in both houses support this legislation until someone came along and said, don’t do that. It’ll benefit the incumbent. That’s a hell of a way to do business in America for such a serious problem. We need to act … We work for the American people.”

But Republicans can only act up, act out. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene [people in Georgia elected her] wearing a MAGA hat to the State of the Union address is a quick example.

All in all, Republicans have an aversion for work that would embarrass Maynard G. Krebs [look it up, youngsters].

Speaker Mike Johnson? Yes, that was another bit of Republican political theater. Angered when Speaker Kevin McCarthy put the good of the country above a government shutdown, Trump’s House minions voted McCarthy out of office.

They then shut down the House for three weeks before electing Johnson to take McCarthy’s place.

This hardworking Congress, members elbowing each other from in front of TV cameras to spout their sound bites, passed 27 bills last year, due largely to the roadblock of Trumpistas in the House.

As good Republicans, they want to make poverty-stricken welfare recipients work before getting any governmental assistance – though the daycare costs such jobs would necessitate would eat up most of the wages and assistance.

Great rhetoric. Damn those Welfare Cadillacs! And let’s cut off their Medicaid for good measure.

What about making these Welfare Republicans work for their money and perks – instead of prancing and dancing with little to show for it?

Heck, if they don’t want to work, retire them this November. Why should Welfare Republicans get a free ride?

Their act has gone stale. It is too predictable to be funny or dramatic. Worst of all, it is completely non-productive. Taking another page from Macbeth [and out of context], we can conclude: “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.”

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
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Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
The Observer carries on the "give 'em hell" tradition of its founder, the late Frosty Troy. I read it from cover to cover. A progressive wouldn't be able to live in a red state without it.