President Obama called out the Republican Party the other day for not having an alternative to his signature health care plan despite their desire to simply throw it into the trash can. Of course this is just one of many issues where the President could have called the Republicans out for wanting to destroy what we have or what we could have without any alternative plan. It is sad that a whole political party which claimed some 47 million votes in the last election can’t seem to find one new idea among it’s collective consciousness.
The only Republican idea anyone has seen to counter Obamacare is to go back to what we had. Not to stop where we are now, because we are already several steps into Obamacare. No, they want to go back to the time when students just out of college could no longer be on their parents health insurance and a time when millions could not get insurance because they had “pre-existing conditions.”
Health care is far from the only area where Republicans lack any ideas. Let’s take the whole area of civil rights. First let’s look at gay rights. The whole idea of allowing human beings to be what they are is just so anathema to Republican logic. Everyone must fit into a preconceived box. If you do not fit in a box, we will not create a box that you fit in and allow you to join. No, if you don’t fit into one of their boxes you can’t join. The gay community of course does not fit in any traditional boxes, especially one designed for marriage. The Republican Party refuses to change any thinking on pretty much anything, but especially homosexuality. Their thinking has been long established. The fact that the rest of the world changes means little to them.
Let’s take the issue of climate change. As far as I know Democrats have recognized the potential impacts of climate change since the Presidency of Lyndon Johnson. I am guessing that Republicans have also because they have spent much of their time on climate change just throwing crap at any arguments science makes for modifications in our lifestyles. This is a style of attack honed and perfected during the tobacco wars. That style is to attack everything your opponent says and attack back with claims that sound authentic, no matter how dubious. So, with climate change the Republicans have attacked and attacked with very dubious counter claims. What they have not done is produced any real alternatives.
(BTW – here is a link to the great series of articles Paul Deaton did this summer on climate change)
We can go on down a list of current issues where Republicans are unwilling to change and refuse to let the world move on. They must stand in the way of the world moving, wasting valuable time, money and energy that could be solving problems. How about race? The Republican led Supreme Court blew up the five decade old Voting Rights law. What is there to replace it? Nothing but a slow return to the bad old days. What about loans for those too poor to afford college? The Republican answer is that if you can’t afford college, either go deeply in debt or don’t go.
Where Republicans do have alternatives, these alternatives are to revert to the policies that they maintained in the past in a pre-Rossevelt era. That would be Theodore Roosevelt, not Franklin. Even Republican Theodore was too much of a progressive for current day Republicans, let alone Franklin. Have you ever wondered why you seldom hear the name Eisenhower evoked in Republican lore? Or even Richard Nixon? Both way too progressive.
What is sad about the Republican Party is that when any effort has been expended by a Republican to change the direction even a little it seems like a squad of neanderthals is sent out to squash any new thinking. Using threats of throwing incumbents out of office if they dare even speak to members of the opposition, these thugs have been given powers way beyond their size simply because many Republicans prefer to sit back, do nothing and not even bother to find out what their party is up to these days. Much easier to let the few do the thinking.
But one day soon those sleeping non-thinking Republicans are going to wake up. They are going to wake up when party leaders ask them to forego health insurance and they realize those same party leaders are not doing what they asked the followers to do. And the followers have a very good chance of losing everything while their leaders lose nothing. They will wake up when they find out that slogans they repeat on their blogs and their Facebook pages can come back on them and cost them a shot at a good job in real society.
I hope for our country’s sake that they start awakening soon before the country gets too far behind. We need enough people to see what the real future is to join in moving this country forward, but we need them soon. We need them to help elect leaders who can face the needs that are piling up in this country and say “we must face this together.”
In short we need Americans to once more begin thinking for themselves. We need the brainpower to solve problems.
Right now, a mind is a terrible thing to waste.