To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Observercast

How We Got Here

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There is no justice without economic justice.

A country with a handful of billionaires and millions of citizens living hand to mouth isn’t a just country.

More than a million citizens applied for unemployment benefits this week, in a string of million-plus weeks, and the president thinks they’re doing it just to spite him.

A country where votes and voices aren’t heard, where goons attack protestors and Congress prefers tax breaks to unemployment benefits during a pandemic is not the country our Constitution promises.

The Grand Old Party of Lincoln and Eisenhower has been heading toward this moment for the last four or five decades. We didn’t get here without a lot of politics, fear mongering, and misunderstanding.

Nixon’s Southern Strategy helped entrenched racism maintain a hold on power. Reagan won the governorship by siding with landlords who didn’t want to rent to people of color. He meddled in affairs in Central America that has made some of those countries dangerous places to live. He began dismantling unions and driving down wages and workers’ rights.

When Clinton came in and helped get the economy back on track, the GOP was waiting in the wings to stymie the economy.

“Deficits!” they cried.

Funny, but they didn’t worry about deficits when the wealthy were beneficiaries of huge tax cuts.

Their next move was to get poor people on board.

“Socialism!” they cried.

It’s never socialism to bail out corporations and big donors, but feeding the hungry is always suspect. Why would poor people fall in line? The GOP convinced a good portion of the population of the dangers of a living wage, universal access to healthcare, universal public education, and a social safety net by feeding their fears.

Conversely, they led them to embrace war as patriotic. And to make sure they had enough voters to win races and push through policies that benefitted the wealthy, they told evangelicals that Jesus was a conservative and their freedom of religion was under attack. They also made it clear that freedom of religion didn’t apply to non-Christians.

And in the wiliest move of all, they made opposition to abortion the centerpiece of their campaigns while standing in the way of programs that reduced the number of abortions – sex education, access to contraception, and a living wage.

“No funding for Planned Parenthood!” they cried.

Tax breaks for the wealthy, unnecessary wars, and corporate shenanigans brought down the economy. Poor people lost their houses. Rich people scooped them up to resell. Congress bailed out the banks, but they didn’t bail out those who lost their homes due to corporate misconduct. The GOP train, poor voters on board, was shuttling toward the cliff’s edge.

Obama has never gotten his just dues from the opposition. Despite a concerted tug of war from the racists, the corporatists, and evangelicals who were convinced that 1] Muslims didn’t have any rights in America, and 2] Obama was a secret Muslim, he kept us from going over the fiscal cliff and falling into a depression.

Opposition to Obama was so strong that after eight years of thoughtful leadership, the racists, corporatists, and evangelicals delivered us into the hands of the most dangerous president since the Andrews – Jackson and Johnson – aided and abetted by data miners, bots and trolls, and Supreme Court justices who gutted the Voting Rights Act.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s tricks, a corrupt attorney general, and politicians more concerned with their power than they are with their jobs of serving the American people enable this dangerous man.

The entire GOP, save for the lone voice of Mitt Romney, refused to remove him from office. We won’t even talk about the toadying vice president.

All of his enablers have blood on their hands. We are back at the cliff’s edge, and it will take every thoughtful voter – Democrat, Independent, fed-up Republicans – to keep the train from going over.

I pray that we are still living in a Democratic Republic come January 2021. I pray that our votes count. And if we come out of this disaster, I pray the lessons we learn aren’t lost on the next generation.

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