Thoughts On Being A Good Republican

(This is a long, non-satrical editorial…you want funny? I’d try a Dood Abides piece.)

April 7, 2006

What it must be like to be a Republican these days. Not the stereo-typical Evangelical Christian from Gaithersburg, Tennessee or Birmingham, Alabama, but your run of the mill middle of the road Republican that you’ll find pretty much anywhere in the country. You know the type, fiscally conservative, somewhat socially tolerant if not exactly liberal, middle to upper middle class, concerned about keeping the money they make but not completely anti-tax. Regular people who chose the Republican Party as generally representative of their beliefs. But the Republican Party these days, no matter what regular Republicans want to believe, has nothing to do with middle class, middle of the road, middle anything really.

If you’re a Republican these days you’re part of a war. Not the military war in Iraq or Afghanistan, although that’s certainly a part of it, but a greater war for the moral and spiritual control of the nation, if not the world. Forget fiscal conservatism, because the leaders in this war are committed to spending however many billions or trillions of dollars it takes to win this war. Sure, in exchange for your support they won’t raise your federal income taxes, no. That would be wrong.

Instead, they’ll saddle this country with a debt load that your great grandchildren will still be struggling to pay off. Instead of federal income tax, they’ll cut funding to the individual states who’ll have to cut funding to the individual counties, who’ll cut money to the towns, who have to make up the shortfall somehow. Usually that means increases in property taxes and decreases in local services. In New York State where I live, Governor George Pataki, who has aspirations of running for president himself, has even proposed letting local governments tax our trees to help make up the difference. Tax the trees. Tax…the…trees. Amazing. The only way for large lot and rural homeowners to keep their property taxes down will be to strip those properties bare of any large, valuable trees. When Mr. Pataki comes to your state and brings up his love for the environment, please mention this one.

In the name of protecting your freedom, George Bush has authorized the NSA to read your emails, listen to your phone calls, sneak in and search your house without ever telling you it happened. They want to know what websites you visit, what books you buy or borrow from your library (which has somewhat surprisingly placed several meek and mild mannered librarians smack in the front lines of the battle to maintain your right to privacy). And don’t for a minute think it won’t happen to you. If it can happen to one, it can happen to all, eventually.

They’ll protect American’s freedom by arresting American citizens and keeping them incarcerated without benefit of legal counsel for years on end if need be, calling them enemy combatants in the dreaded War On Terror. I always thought Americans who plotted against America were called Traitors and as such could be brought to trial and punishment through the regular legal system, like with Scooter Libby.

In the name of protecting the sanctity of life they seek to ban not only the big bugaboo of 21st century American politics, abortion, they’ll also fight like hell to stop stem cell research, the results of which could save untold thousands of lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis and myriad other ailments. They’ve already tried to take the decision about whether you or those that know and love you best have the right to “pull the plug” and end your suffering. Remember that other Republican candidate for President, Bill Frist and his video diagnoses of poor Teri Schaivo? That was about you and your family too. Of course, such attempts to save lives would have more validity if those making the attempt didn’t get us sucked in to an unnecessary war that has so far taken more than 2,200 American and quite possibly more than 100,000 Iraqi lives. They would also seem more valid if the people making these attempts were not also defending the use of torture as a valid interrogation technique.

Blurring the lines between church and state