samedi 17 septembre 2011

What does the U.S. look like if the Tea (Republican) Party wins?

Perhaps the most infuriating thing about the Obama Administration's political people thinking that they know best in the face of all evidence that their boss' presidency is crumbling around him is how vulnerable we all are to this Administration's blind hubris.

Ian Milhiser at Center for American Progress writes about what this country will look like under Tea Party doctrine, and even Americans who support the Tea Party now will be in for a very rude and unpleasant awakening when they see what it looks like:
In the Tea Party’s America, families must mortgage their home to pay for their mother’s end-of-life care. Higher education is a luxury reserved almost exclusively to the very rich. Rotten meat ships to supermarkets nationwide without a national agency to inspect it. Fathers compete with their adolescent children for sub-minimum wage jobs. And our national leaders are utterly powerless to do a thing.

At least, that’s what would happen if the Tea Party succeeds in its effort to reimagine the Constitution as an antigovernment manifesto. While the House of Representatives pushes Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) plan to phase out Medicare, numerous members of Congress, a least one Supreme Court justice, and the governor of America’s second-largest state now proudly declare that most of the progress of the last century violates the Constitution.

It is difficult to count how many essential laws would simply cease to exist if the Tea Party won its battle to reshape our founding document, but a short list includes:

  • Social Security and Medicare
  • Medicaid, children's health insurance, and other health care programs
  • All federal education programs
  • All federal antipoverty programs
  • Federal disaster relief
  • Federal food safety inspections and other food safety programs
  • Child labor laws, the minimum wage, overtime, and other labor protections
  • Federal civil rights laws
    Indeed, as this paper explains, many state lawmakers even embrace a discredited constitutional doctrine that threatens the union itself.

What’s at stake

The Tea Party imagines a constitution focused entirely upon the Tenth Amendment, which provides that “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people”—which is why their narrow vision of the nation’s power is often referred to as “tentherism.” In layman’s terms, the Tenth Amendment is simply a reminder that the Constitution contains an itemized list of federal powers—such as the power to regulate interstate commerce or establish post offices or make war on foreign nations—and anything not contained in that list is beyond Congress’s authority.

Social Security? Gone. Medicare? Gone. Medicaid? Gone. Education? Subject to the whims of communities, some of which will send a generation of children out in a world of technological advancement believing that a giant man in the sky created the world in six days and refusing all evidence to the contrary. E coli in your child's hamburger and salmonella in his lettuce and unregulated pesticide residue in the tomato slice?? All A-OK in Tea Party America. Hurricane destroy yourself? It's your own fault for not living in a stronger house. You're on your own. You don't get your paycheck this week? Tough luck. Neighbor leaving threatening letters in your mailbox because he doesn't like people of your religion or race or sexual orientation? Too bad, you have no federal protection, and if the local police hate you too, you are shit out of luck.

That's Tea Party America -- a mean-spirited, venal, hateful, place of raw social Darwinism; a highly ironic condition given the penchant of Teabaggers to call themselves "Chritians" -- so-called Christians who have obviously never read the Sermon on the Mount.

And yet here we are, with a Republican frontrunner who makes George W. Bush look like Mother Teresa by comparison, and an incumbent Democratic president and a campaign team who utterly refuse to look at how dispirited the people who voted for him are. And so it is highly likely that on January 20, 2013, we will be living in a nation that even those who profess to support the Tea Party agenda won't even recognize. And it will be too late.

So here we are, those of us still living in the reality-based community, with a choice of voting for an inept, out-of-touch president who has sold us out to the Republicans at every turn, or a very dangerous theocratic sociopath. Just how dangerous remains to be seen.

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