Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Rant

Well, Republicans, it looks like you've finally wrested control of America back from the godless liberals.

You've got majorities in both houses of Congress, and only an unpopular president to push back against your agenda. It's your turn to shine. Your time to put in play all of the great initiatives and policies you couldn't under the tyrannical Obama White House, and repeal all of those overreaching laws that have stifled American freedoms since January 2009.

Or not.

I'm far from optimistic about a Republican-controlled legislature. But maybe, just maybe, I'm not giving them a fair chance. After all, I was barely out of college when Obama was elected, I've never been a real adult while Republicans ran things.

So go ahead, GOP, prove me wrong. Prove that you can govern, rather than just oppose. That you thought a little further ahead than getting Barack Obama out of office or turning him into a lame duck. That "get my way or threaten to burn the house down" isn't your only move.

Prove me wrong, GOP. Don't kick off the legislative session by passing regressive social policies limiting a woman's right to choose, gay couples' right to be equal to straight couples before the law, and immigrants' right to have a fair shot at staying here legally. Prove to me that you haven't had your eyes closed as America changes around you, that you're not clinging to some hallowed American golden age that never really existed except for an extremely lucky few. Oh, and maybe let the District of Columbia pass the laws its voters want for a session or two. Just a thought.

Prove me wrong, GOP. Don't continue to champion laws and financial regulations that benefit the extremely wealthy at the expense the poor, the middle classes, and everyone else, or let corporate employers oppress their workers under some twisted definition of "religious freedom." Stop pretending that the slow erosion of white, male, Christian privilege constitutes a "war" on anything other than the rampant inequity that our civilization has grappled with ever since the first settlers landed and decided they owned the place.

Prove me wrong, GOP. Stop our political leadership on both sides of the aisle from babbling about the self-evident greatness of American values and leadership. From acting as though, if we believe in America hard enough, everything will be awesome again. Stop standing up for clowns like Gov. Paul LePage of Maine, who carries on about American ideals while obviously having no clue what those ideals are.

Instead, take action that will restore, rather than further damage, America's leadership role in the world. If you can't do that, at least help us gratefully transition out of the superpower years and into a quieter, though still important, role on the global stage. I'd suggest starting with a renewed national focus on human rights at home and abroad, on protecting our civil liberties from law enforcement and security forces, on recognizing the right to health care and development. Or perhaps you could begin by putting a stop to our economic policy of writing checks that future generations (and our planet) can't cash, and instead pushing yourselves and the rest of us to wake up to climate science and make real progress on tackling the global changes that are going to threaten us throughout the next century.

But most importantly, prove me wrong about the fate of our democratic process. Prove to me that you came to power on the strength of a message that's attractive to the majority of Americans, rather than by making it almost impossible for the people who don't support you to even vote.  Prove to me that elections and legislation haven't been bought and paid for by the moneyed interests of the 1%, whose agenda you are conspicuously supportive of.

Your move, guys. We're all waiting. Prove me wrong.

Oh, and enjoy having no one else to blame if Congress continues to get nothing done.


...we'd join the politicians, and we know we'd be well-fed/ we'd sleep no more upon the ground but in a feather bed...