Home Politics Palin, O’Donnell and the Consequences of Ignorance

Palin, O’Donnell and the Consequences of Ignorance


Sarah Palin, despite all her ramblings and her massive intellectual bloc against common sense, seems like a nice lady. She is attractive and has an appeal to some housewives that is undeniable. Her husband, despite some accusations that he belonged to a Party that wanted Alaska to secede from the Union, seems like a nice guy. Her children…excuse me? What about your kids? Okay, so let’s drop that.

Christine O’Donnell may be another story, but she is somewhat similar. They both fudged the truth under pressure of media scrutiny, but O’Donnell may have stepped over the line. Palin is saying a lot of pretty silly stuff but she’s not running for anything. She’s just grabbing the loot as fast as she can. We all do that, one way or another. O’Donnell is running for Senator and we already have enough Republican Senators who lie and cheat and steal and do not give a damn about the American People.

We know now, for instance, that Senator Coburn from Oklahoma, one Senator, has been holding up over a billion dollars of aid for the Haitian people who, after their earthquake, have been living in the open out in the drenching tropical rains and scorching sun of the Summer Caribbean. They need electricity and medicine and food and the ability to begin to build simple structures to get out of the elements.

And Senator Coburn holds up the relief funds because he thinks that some people who will be living in that squalor and desperation, amidst these earthquake survivors, helping them restore their lives…may be overpaid. It is criminally cruel. This is a Republican Senator. This is how they think. It is all about money….all about money for them and their corporate friends. It is greed on the same scale as the Haitian earthquake.

Many people on unemployment for a long time, people who were the last ones hired in at a company and became the first ones let go…are spending more than their unemployment pays them in many, many cases. While wages were going down over the last few years, the cost of living has not been going down. Unemployment simply slows down the process of going broke.

Despite this, in March, Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, whose sole qualification for the Senate seems to have been that he was a terrific major league baseball player at one time, put a hold on legislation that stopped benefits to 400,000 unemployed Americans. When he did that, he also inadvertently laid off about 2,000 workers at the Department of Transportation and dropped co-payments for COBRA payers, which meant that many could simply not afford health insurance.

He did this because he wanted the Democrats to find a way to pay for this that was acceptable to him. This is a man who voted for two wars at the same time that he was cutting taxes for the rich…twice. This had never been done in the history of the country. Those wars combined with those tax cuts resulted in $5 trillion of the $8 trillion deficit that the Republicans spent over the budget between 2001-2008. Now he’s concerned.

So that is what you can expect when you have ignorant people like Bunning in the Senate, or ideologues like Coburn in the Senate, who want to run lean and mean on your dollar but spend lavishly on the rich. Stupid and viciously cruel? Yes, of course it is. But what you must believe, and if we are to survive as a country what you must get others to believe is that it is true. The average person will never see anything about this outside the New York Times or on Jon Stewart of Keith Olbermann. You must finally learn that these Republicans will hurt you. They are doing it as you read this.

Even if you were to say that in California the Republican candidate is a woman with huge success in business, you must look further and see that she is the one who admitted and does not apologize for sending 30,000 jobs overseas. Is it an accident that she walked away with $47 million? How many people would even $40 million of that have helped employ here in the U.S? Now she has said she would do the same for the State of California.

Many Americans look at Congress this way: “Yes, they say that they will cut this and that, but when it comes right down to it, we are all Americans. They won’t go out of their way to hurt people. That’s not the American way.” That is an outdated attitude. Modern day Republicans are elected by corporations and wealthy owners of corporations. The owe their allegiance to these very powerful people.

This isn’t new. It began with Ronald Reagan. We overcame bigotry in the South in the late 1970s. But in the 1980s, Ronald Reagan told the Southern segregationists that the Republican Party was not only open for business, but that they could ride his coat tails to victory. And they did.

And after 8 years of Reagan, promising that tax cuts would lead to affluence…which never happened…we merely borrowed money from ourselves and ended up with a $2.4 trillion deficit. But the Republican Party was able to establish itself in the South, with a majority of bigots winning out over the rest of the population. Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms, Trent Lott, Virginia Foxx, Phil Gramm, Jeff Sessions, Jim DeMint—all part of the same scheme.

And in the 1990s some very savvy and rich Right Wing Republicans bought up most of the radio stations in the country. So today, if you listen to any Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck or Sean Hannity syndicated radio program you will unmistakably recognize Southern accents among the callers with the worst kinds of racial slurs and ignorant Right Wing, simple-minded, economic comments. The ignorance of government in some sectors is palpable. The bias towards any intelligent approach to the modern era—from evolution to global climate change to alternative energy—is almost jaw-dropping.

On the one hand, the hard-core Republicans have a very strong antipathy towards Muslims…all Muslims. But they don’t seem to care that we are enriching the people who are really lathering up the radicals among Muslims. The Republicans are against any sort of alternative energy that would reduce the billions and billions of dollars we send to the Islamic oil sheiks who want to destroy this country. It is total lunacy. But they are stupid.

The Republicans, for what seem to be reasons of purely personal enrichment from the corporations, are turning the clock slowly back to the late 19th Century. And it would not be the first time. After all, civilization left the magnificent store of knowledge inherent in Greek and Roman culture in the dustbin of history for about 800 years. Domination, disease and death ruled from the end of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance. Superstition reigned and rational thought disappeared. The United States is split between modern technology and ancient superstition, and the Republican politicians seem to have the upper hand right now.

In order to curtail the opportunities of a few, it is clear that the South, with some truly amazing exceptions, gave away its own opportunity to lead the country in common sense, down-to-earth reality, real family values and justice. There are some Southerners, and Jimmy Carter would be an example, who somehow hung on to the true Christian values that they were taught as children. They selflessly give their lives to others and are somehow virtually blind to race or color differences.

The fact is that those few have made an impact hundreds or thousands of times over any comparable individual citizen. It is as if shedding bigotry in the face of daily bigotry all around them gave them some sort of constant connection to real, caring humanity. These people are truly remarkable. As the Republican political victories all over the South loudly proclaim, they are too few. But those few are the best and most exemplary of what we all want to be.

So, if Republicans win this election, and if O’Donnell and others like her—Buck in Colorado, Miller in Alaska, Angle in Nevada win—then we are in for a long hard six years. These are people in the Glenn Beck mode. Say whatever comes to mind. Do whatever you like, without thinking of the consequences…just like Coburn and Bunning and many other Republican Senators.

Sarah Palin is simply trying to ride a wave of popularity all the way to the bank. And it is working; her combination of understated sexuality and overstated Right Wing political views is working for her. The faithful went out and bought her book and made her a multi-millionaire. Her speaking engagements combined with her stipends from Rupert Murdoch are said to have earned her $12 million in one year.

You have to imagine what it would be like to have someone like Palin in the Presidency or O’Donnell in the Senate. They have no idea what to do. Palin would be as incompetent as a George W. Bush still on drugs and alcohol. O’Donnell would put a hold on any legislation that would not prohibit masturbation by the recipients. (Well…ok…but you get the idea.) She knows nothing of government or business. She is guided almost exclusively in her decisions by a very orthodox religious view of life.

These are truly nutty people. Sharron Angle wants to do away with about half of the government that she simply doesn’t personally agree with, including Social Security and Medicare. She thinks that autism is a fake psychological problem. It is surprising that there are even enough nuts in Nevada to have made Sharron Angle the Republican nominee. It is interesting that Angle herself, while decrying public medicine, is on her husband’s government medical insurance.

But if she is elected, if Christine O’Donnell is elected, if Joe Miller is elected, if Ken Buck is elected, and if we cannot even keep in the Senate perhaps the most responsive, intelligent and honorable man of all Senators, Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin, then we are headed for potential disaster.

We must all begin to wonder about the intellectual and emotional state of the nation. Why would we entrust our national economic and military security to someone whose idea of diplomacy was that she could see Russia from near where she lived—someone who could not mention even one major publication that she read regularly?

The more significant question is how could 45 million people have voted for her and how could so many people take the time to go see her or watch her or buy her books (ghost written) that she has become an overnight multi-millionaire. Is our goal now to simply reward anyone who goes on television, while true politicians, true media news people and real non-fiction authors are cast aside? What does that say about our values?

We need to get out and vote and we need to get out and tell people about the good candidates that the Democratic Party has nominated to become Congress people, Senators and Governors. This is it. This is the time to stand up and work and vote and get others to vote.

Given the Citizens United decision and the hundreds of millions behind these candidates to purchase Senate seats and Governorships for them, this may be the most important election we have ever had in the United States. If we all do not get out the vote, it could turn out to be the last “real” election this country will ever see.

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