Republicans have taken the House of Representatives. This, in itself, is not such a bad thing. I am a strong proponent of a productive balance of power. The true strength of democracies lies in the ability of groups with vastly different priorities civilly (or not) contribute to a reasonable debate of the issues, and the free expression of their respective priorities and issues. However, this election is different. We have seen the rise of what the Republicans have long worked to suppress within their ranks. Tea partiers, which at one time would have been card carrying members of the John Birch Society, have not only gained a 24 hour sounding board through Fox news, but have garnered the sympathies of a large swaths of angry white baby boomers, and, through this election, have honest political power in the Congress.

I am everything that they hate. I’m an educated liberal-leaning loudmouth who believes that government exists to protect the people and insure the welfare of the people, because there are assholes out there who seek to profit off the suffering of the masses. Taxation serves to provide that which people and business cannot reasonably be expected to provide by themselves. Could you imagine the Koch brothers running a public library? I believe in public schools, as choked as they may be. I believe in public universities, radio, television, public funding for research, government, and societal standards of fair and ethical business practices and the power of government as a voice for those too weak to speak for themselves. I believe that this is what the founding fathers envisioned, not a pseudo anarchic dog eat dog state which lets white business owners run free at the expense of the lower classes. Reagan style right wingers would like to see public money go to building guns and prisons for immigrants, I would like to see public money go to health care and free education for anybody who wants it. Prisons don’t make our society better. Schools do.

I don’t believe that the free market can set moral and societal standards. It can’t. The free market is born of men seeking profit at the expense of desperate consumers, who have little choice in who provides them opportunities for purchase. People in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan have a range of choices of where they buy necessary goods from, I would venture to say that people in Adrian have less, and residents of Detroit have little to none. The free market fails the poor.

Reading the news for me is a depressing experience. For example, take the health care bill. The average Tea Partier, who screams for its repeal, has neither read the bill, nor understands its contents. I’m very sure that there are people in their ranks who directly benefit from being able to keep their kids of their health policy until 26, who directly benefit from not being rejected for preexisting conditions, but who scream the same, because they believe that the bill provides free abortions for illegal immigrants (sic). This morning on the radio, I actually heard a gentleman say that he was against the idea that a majority in the Congress can decide the passing of a bill into law. The man believes that a dictatorial state along the lines of Sadaam Hussein’s Baathist regime is somehow better than a representative democracy such as we have here in the US. I see rightists screaming about the sanctity of the Constitution, yet advocate rewriting the document the deny citizenship to those who are born here.

Presently, I am at the annual American Society for Tropical Medicine and Hygiene conference. I have seen representatives from not less than 20 government agencies. 20 government agencies the Tea Party doesn’t even know about yet are essential to the security and well-being of Americans. I am more educated than most Tea Partiers. I read political articles and blogs more than any human should. Yet, it is still extremely difficult for me to grasp all the issues. I can’t keep track of what Senator is from what state nor the details of the multitude of bills that pass thought the Congress every month. Yet, somehow, some guy who works in a chainsaw store, who didn’t’ graduate from high school, who can barely calculate his home mortgage, claims to have the right to say that government is too big, that the multitudes of dedicated government employees are useless, that they are merely parasites sucking off the teat of the American people and that they should be canceled, fired and thrown to the coals. If that sounds elitist, it is. It pisses me off to no end.

I pray that this Congress works to govern and not destroy but am not confident that that is what they plan to do. Government based on nonaction and the dismantling of public policy is not government. You have to be able to provide to maintain the support of the people. Right now, I see no indication that Americans understand that.

This is an elitist rant, from an elitist individual who is absolutely aware that he knows next to nothing. You win.

About Pete Larson

Researcher at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research. Lecturer in the University of Michigan School of Public Health and at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I do epidemiology, public health, GIS, health disparities and environmental justice. I also do music and weird stuff.

One response to “Bloodbath”

  1. teacherpatti says :

    I know I say this a lot on, FB, in daily life, when I’m talking to myself, etc., but I always fail to understand how people earning less than a certain amount (say, $30k or so) vote Republican. My family income is significantly more than that and you would have to shoot me to get me to vote for most Republicans. Why? Because they couldn’t care less about me. I’m a female, Jew, who earns <$200k (and I scare them because, in addition to having a buh-gina, I also have a big ass brain & fancy degrees). Whyever would I vote for them when they aren't looking out for me? This is not to say that the Dems *are* looking out for me, but at least they don't consistently give tax breaks to those earning 3x as much as me & try to screw the very population of folks I am trying to teach everyday (disabled and/or minority and/or immigrant). Okay I am just going to start to rant. Time to go drink

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