Politics is Life or Death: Why Your Loathing of the GOP is Perhaps Inadequate

Yes, despite every appearance there are rank and file Republicans who are decent, and in some cases fabulous people. Of course, they aren’t currently running for office or holding office as a member of the Republican Party, nor do they work for a right-wing news operation or political blog; nor are they involved with a conservative activist group or pac. Tragically, they may in fact be constituents of or members of the audience for these previously listed representatives of moral and intellectual rot, those in other words among the thousand points of dark, to modify a famous phrase from former president “Poppy” Bush. Consider them however, if not innocent, somewhat understandable victims of the worst among us, assaulted and battered by effectively brutish propaganda.

There are many who say that to construe the current severe dichotomy in our politics as a de-facto civil war is to overstate at best, and to become egregiously hyperbolic at worst. But alternately, in my debatably humble opinion I wonder if it is not possible, given history, to construe a failure to identify what arguably is dangerous and aggressive extremism as appeasement, unforgivable docility, irresponsible complacency and even cowardice? From a progressive point of view how else then should one respond to lying and thorough deception brazen even by the lowliest standards of politics, extremism that is irrational and debilitating to the country (see: downgrading of nation’s credit rating due to debt ceiling hostage crisis, fraying social, physical and educational infrastructure, millions uninsured and unhealthy)? Does it not fall somewhere between unforgivably pusillanimous and criminally idiotic to fail to engage when war has been declared against one?

It most certainly is rational and accurate to construe the policies Republicans are promising as having, if implemented, life or death consequences. The proposal for transformation of Medicaid into block grants going to the states rather than funded as it is currently means the lives of millions of children and elderly literally will be jeopardized. Beyond the loss of access to medical care for poor adults and children, the Romney-Ryan plan severely affects millions of elderly who rely upon it to pay for their nursing home care given that even middle-class seniors quickly burn through their savings after moving into such facilities. What will happen to this multitude of vulnerable seniors once the Medicaid rug is yanked from underneath them? The likely result is tragic to put it mildly.

Several Republican governors already have become pioneers in the practice of such despicable healthcare politics. These would be the dunderheaded ideologues oblivious to the needs of their constituents, Republican governors refusing full funding guaranteed to states for three full years for an expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare that would cover many currently uninsured Americans. Two of these malpracticing governors, Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida preside over states with among the highest numbers of uninsured citizens, Texas first and Florida tenth in the number of uninsured. For the governors it is just blithely brain dead ideological bravado, but yes, these dumbasses might actually kill you.

As reprehensible as anything in the Romney-Ryan plan for Medicaid is a proposed change in the rules that would allow nursing homes to demand the assets of children of their elderly parents before access to Medicaid funds would be approved. Whereas now seniors who pay out nearly all of their accumulated assets to owners of their nursing homes begin to quality for subsidization of their nursing home care by Medicaid, under the proposed Romney-Ryan change would not do so until their children burned through the bulk of their assets too, young and old handing over lifetimes’ worth of hard earned treasure to the nursing home conglomerates. Who says Republicans are deaf, dumb and blind to the needs of Americans? They are sensitive to a fault to the needs of the CEOs of corporate finance, health and energy for exorbitant profits… and these are Americans too, aren’t they?

Already, Republicans’ long opposition to the universal health insurance utilized by every other nation in the industrialized world has resulted in lack of access to basic healthcare for countless millions of our fellow citizens, and the dire, often lethal consequences of such an inexcusable state of affairs, in particular the lack of access to preventive care that has resulted in no small number of preventable deaths (far exceeding the numbers in nations with universal insurance). The Romney-Ryan plan and past Republican proposals to privatize the great, overwhelmingly successful Social Security and Medicare programs that have prevented millions of elderly from sinking into poverty and wretched circumstances jeopardize the health and certainly the actual lives of innumerable elderly citizens, the Romney-Ryan plan to offer vouchers in place of guaranteed coverage under Medicare only the most recent and bloodless.

Of course the important thing from the Republican point of view is that hegemony of the corporate and business sectors over American lives, income, freedom and health be retained at all cost, along with the generous financial backing of Republican power that flows from it, not anything as quaint or quotidian as the basic needs of or basic fairness toward ordinary American citizens and consumers. While the mainstream press has little appetite for presenting the bland abstractions out of the mouths of well, bland abstractions like Paul Ryan as anything other than the ruddy sport of politics, if sport it is, it is a contest to the death for many flesh and blood Americans, most of whom no one beyond their families will ever hear about.

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