Monday, February 09, 2009

Obstructionism vs Hope

I don't know if the Republicans in Congress are being sincere (some of them are) or simply obstructionist (many of them are), but I think they are doing themselves and the nation a disservice. Most seem to be clinging to the wrong-headed and failed idea that the only solution to any problem is to cut taxes for people with money who will then allegedly let it drip down to the rest of us. I've always thought that was a false premise and history seems to continue to prove that it doesn't work. I'm not saying that we can't offer some help to small businesses.... and I emphasize small... but if the poor and middle class can't feed their families or keep a roof over their heads or afford even basic medical care, they are not going to be spending big bucks keeping small businesses going.

And like many spoiled rich kids, the Republicans in Congress (with some notable exceptions) seem unable to grasp the concept of long-term gains or the concept of compromise. It's all instant gratification in their world or it has no value. They can't see the value in creating jobs modernizing government buildings so that they are more energy efficient, benefiting the environment, providing short-term jobs and saving money in the long term. They apparently continue to think the infrastructure can be allowed to deteriorate. They don't want to help the states (although I thought the power of the state and states rights are central to their philosophy... isn't that true?) . As far as I can tell, Republicans only think things are bipartisan if they get everything they want. They also seem to have a scorn and disregard for the poor and middle class which borders on the pathological. Any money spent on us is money wasted. We are meant to survive on the crumbs nobly dribbled out to us by our better, richer brethren and then to be judged for wanting to eat and thrive and live. How dare we! Being a responsible, caring society in Republican world is socialism. The seem incapable of accepting the idea that having a social conscience is not the same as being a socialist society and that creating a tiny elitist upper class of the super wealthy at the expense of the poor and middle classes is neither true Democracy nor good capitolism.

On parallel ranting front, I continue to be annoyed by the way the media covers things. It just annoys me. And I watch PBS and CNN and I'm still annoyed. They report Republican talking points as though they were fact rather than opinion. There is no in-depth analysis of anything, just rote recitation of the dumbest and most reactionary voices on both sides of the aisle. This puts us as citizens at a major disadvantage because rather than giving clear analysis of what all the disputed issues are about, we get "drama."

I hope the American public will speak up and let both the president and the Republican party know that we are behind him, that we elected him and that we are willing to do what he has invited us to do - participate. Check out the new government website:, which includes an invitation to particpate through the Office of Public Liaison. Check out's petition site and let your government (and others) know where you stand on a wide range of issues.

I think something else most of us could do is reclaim our power to think. Does what some politican or news reporter is saying make sense? Does it add to our knowledge? Or is it just words and slogans intended to inflame us, stimulate a knee-jerk (emphasis on jerk) reaction, or numb us with fear and anxiety. Questionable as the first stimulous package was, do we really understand it or what it was supposed to do? Was the problem with the the bailout (I believe much of this bail-out money was in the form of loans for which we may eventually be paid back) the concept or the way what we did was managed (mis-managed)? I don't understand economics enough to have an informed opinion about the first bailout, though I certainly find obscene the junkets, fancy jets and large bonuses given to failures. That said, I don't want to shoot myself in the foot or burn my own house down because the guy who built it made some construction errors. We are all on this ship so if it sinks we will all drown together.

I hadn't thought about it before, but I think one of the things I like most about President Obama is that is is FOR things much more passionately than he is against them. This goes to a deep belief of mine (which I often fail to live by) that there is much more power in putting positive energy into what we want and believe in than in spending all our thoughts and happiness on grumbling (as I'm doing here) about what we don't like.

So I am FOR taking steps to help the poor, to rebuild schools and failing roads and bridges. I am for keeping people in their homes - but not just rich people. If the Congress can't come up with stimulous package that does these kinds of things, I go with Jon Stewart's idea. Just take a trillion dollars and give it to the people. We can use it to pay off our debts and our mortgages and spend it on things we need. This will solve the housing crisis, buck up the banks and make everybody's life much nicer. Seems like a pretty sensible plan to me. Maybe he should run for office. I'd miss him though. He's one of the best news people we have in the country, even if he is "only" a comedian.

Not sure if I have just rambled mindlessly here or if I have said something. I'm going to post it anyway and not go back and re-read.

On a happier note than politics. Weather has warmed some here. Snow is melting though my surroundings are still almost completely white. The birds are dancing in the sky. Squirrels seem to have running around with lighter hearts... (ok... maybe that's my imagination). In any case, I know this isn't a very good picture, but I love the way their wings look as they take flight....

Happy Monday!


Jeni said...

I read someplace -don't recall where now (might even have been here at your place) that the tax cuts don't work because the rich are not inclined to do "extra" buying -or something to that effect. The point was that money placed in the hands of the middle-to-lower classes would have a greater effect because those people, us -the Regular Joes/Joans ya know -need more and thus would purchase more which would in turn the help to bolster the economy. Heck, it makes sense to me but then I'm in the poverty class so that explains that, huh?
The biggest issue I have with the stimuulus package -if you didn't read my rant the other night -is that there are so many double standards, so much unethical behavior and even yes -gasp -illegal behavior happening with the CEOS, the government too. Such talking from both sides of their faces simultaneously -but then, I've always considered that to be a necessary trait for almost anyone who ventures into politics. (Yeah, I'm still jacked over the issues I wrote about. Probably will be for some time to come too.)
Wanna know the full -or almost full package I'm ticked off about? Go read my post otherwise, I will have to start writing much longer stuff in the comments sections and my comments are long enough -as are my rants too already!
Great post though Raven and I'm always happy to see someone unafraid to take certain segments of our society to task too! (Oh, I do agree with your interpretations about Pres. Obama though -he's a fresh flower trying to bloom in a big old cesspool though much of the time.)

Deborah Godin said...

Yes, trickle down is a joke, it's been more like Hoover-ing it from the bottom up, straight to the fatcats (with apologies to all the felines)

Finding Pam said...

I like Jon Stewart's idea best!

Somehow I missed your blogaversary. I have not had time to read all my blogs. I really thought you had been blogging a lot longer Just wanted to say congratulations and keep speaking your mind.

SnoopMurph said...

I'd vote for Jon if he ran and I imagine he would have a good following.

I like Obama's positivity and also glad to see him so impassioned yet remaining true to his convictions. We also have to learn to get along with differences of opinions and I imagine he has his work cut out for him in changing mindsets.

Glennis said...

Not being American I shall not comment much on the changes your new president is trying to introduce, other than to say I do hope he is able to help turn the tide!
I do like the squirrel picture he is a beauty, posing perfectly for you..

Travis said...

You hit on something I appreciate about President Obama as well. I too like that he is FOR things more than he is against other things.