BY VERN TURNER
The full statement reads: Nobody knows the system better than me, which is why I alone can fix it.” Who said this? None other than Donald J. Trump, the man who knows the system.
This level of arrogance hasn’t been achieved since the Third Reich declared the Aryan race superior to all others. We all remember how well that turned out.
Furthermore, this statement, on its face, shows us all that he hasn’t the first clue about the system … or the players in it. To wit: The failed Trumpcare fiasco.
Before you clutch your sides laughing at the utter ineptitude of the Republican Party and its new, freshly polished leader, keep in mind that millions of lives are at stake. Our health care system is one of the worst in the world and getting worse due to the single most self-destructive part of the “system” Trump talks about knowing so much about: greed. This is followed quickly by terms like privatization, insurance premiums and cutting safety nets, etc.
All other countries that have anything resembling a system have universal health care that their government of, by and for their people, bestows upon them as a human right. Not here.
Watching the Republicans in Congress do their best imitation of the Keystone Kops over the last seven or eight years since the Affordable Care Act was instituted shows us all how unprepared the Republican Party is to actually govern.
All you hear from these “representatives” is cut, cut, cut. “Oh the deficit is killing us!” they say, but in fact it has been during Republican times when the deficits soared the most.
Why? Well, a government simply can’t pay for the largest military in the world while cutting taxes or creating tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans. It can’t fund its guaranteed retirement system [Social Security], its medical safety net [Medicare] or any other social service that allows our citizens to enjoy the “pursuit of happiness” when it chops its source of revenue.
Why is it that so many highly profitable corporations are either getting subsidies, tax breaks and other tax code favors? Who makes up the difference? You and I do. So, how did you vote last November?
No, what we get are more cuts. Cuts to school budgets. Cuts to school lunch programs. Cuts to those safety net programs. Cuts to our State Department. Cuts for Planned Parenthood, the organization that serves the poorest women among us with 93% of its programs dedicated to preventative care and contraception. Cuts to veterans’ benefits. Cuts to science that is the engine of innovation. Cuts to our environmental protection initiatives. And most terrible, cuts to the highest taxes paid [or supposed to be paid] by our richest people and companies.
So, Donald, how does the “system” work to make up for making the entire country poorer, less safe, sicker, dumber and more destitute? Oh. Right. Raise taxes on the middle class, the poor and anybody else who doesn’t have himself on speed-dial.
The real thing, here, is the long con game. It isn’t just Trump who is running this game of Three-card Monte. It’s the entire Republican Party, and its most special part, the absolutely inaptly-named Freedom Caucus. These guys [no women need apply] don’t want to pay for anything that has to do with helping the less fortunate, the sick, the elderly or the children.
One might ask, “How can anyone, let alone an entire political movement in our country, be so heartless and cold-blooded?” The only “freedoms” these guys represent is the freedom from coherent thought, social consciousness and concern for their fellow Americans. The term “self-serving” is way too generous for this lot.
In view of what all sects of the GOP have and haven’t done since Barack Obama took the oath of office in 2009, one could easily say that they never had any intention of governing at all. Take health care – please. The ACA is a Republican plan, developed by Republicans [Heritage Foundation] and implemented in Massachusetts by Mitt Romney, a Republican.
Why, then, would the Congressional Republicans stamp their little feet and not address the ACA at all? Zip. Nada. Bupkiss. Not a word, not a phrase, not a sentence was added or introduced by any Republican during the law’s development.
Listen to them now, and it sounds like President Obama pushed this through in the dead of night with zero Republican votes … which is, in fact, what happened. The fact is, they didn’t want to give President Obama any sort of credit for anything that might actually help people.
Instead, as the outcome of a preposterous budget fight, we got the infamous sequester on military spending. Wow. That really helped. One is left to wonder what the outcome would have been had Obama been named “Smith” and his complexion much lighter.
No, Republicans are not fit to govern. Oh, there’ve been a few who would operate the system and get things done for the country, its people and the world. Even the egregious Richard Nixon allowed the creation of OSHA and the EPA. Woo Hoo! Today’s Republicans want to cut them. Sorry. Progress is not allowed here, not today.
For anyone watching even a little news these days, it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump cannot do it by himself. Worse, he has shown repeatedly, in less than 100 days, that he is absolutely clueless about the “system” he so promised to fix.
In my books and subsequent essays, I have pointed out how beholden most Republicans are to the big money few who support and lobby them for favorable legislation. Yes, there are Democrats on the take too, but at least most Democrats try to govern and work for the people … even a little. The Republicans? They give us Ted Cruz, second only to Trump for the lie-per-minute record.
So, no. Republicans cannot govern. They don’t want to govern. They prefer idiotic political games like stealing Merrick Garland’s SCOTUS seat without a hearing, then invoking rule changes in the Senate to get one of their own, Neil Gorsuch, onto the bench. It would be poetic justice if Gorsuch turned out to be a bipartisan judge instead of the ideologue his decisions have shown.
Well, as always, I have to close with my usual nostrum [No, Ivanka doesn’t have a clothing line there] that we have only ourselves to blame. Until good, bright people start committing to this country by running for office and actually governing while there, the downward spiral will continue until somebody just walks in and changes all the locks on the Capitol.
It’s what happened to the Romans, and it’s happening to us now. Special thanks have to go out to Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan for being two of the most ridiculous, partisan, backward-thinking, self-serving and destructive legislators we’ve ever put into government.
Next time you think that your vote doesn’t count, listen to some the manure coming from the mouths of these two half-wits.
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.