The Republicans announced that sometime soon they will come out with their legislative agenda for the coming legislative term. I, along with a lot of other people, have come to refer to the Republicans as the “Party of NO” because up to now their strategy has been to filibuster and block any legislation, great or small, that is proposed by the Obama administration. If the president is for it, they’re “agin it.” Their most recent victories were to block debate on the Dream Act (a bill that would legalize children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to this country at a young age and have spent virtually their whole life in the US), and the army’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (which would allow gays and lesbians in the military to be open about their sexuality and still serve in the military). Now granted both bills were tacked on to a military expenditure bill, which unfortunately was the only way proponents thought they could get debates on these issues. However, it is dreadfully sad that two bills deserving a hearing were denied even the possibility of debate.
Based on these latest ploys I have changed my designation of the Republicans from “The Party of No” to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Party” because their agenda and strategy has been to engage in a high level politics of denial. The reality of undocumented immigrant children and gays and lesbians serving in the military are NOT the figments of someone’s imagination, they are real people undergoing real suffering because of our legislators’ inability and unwillingness to face and deal with that reality. Apparently Republicans (and some Democrats) believe that as long as they don’t ask about some of the grave issues facing people in our nation, they won’t have to do anything about those issues. They are not only “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” on the gays and children of immigrants, but on a whole host of other issues as well.
They are “don’t ask, don’t tell” on health care, as they want to repeal the health care reform bill that was passed a year ago. Just don’t tell them that the 40,000 uninsured Americans that existed when the bill has passed has now reportedly risen to 50,000. They scream about Medicare and higher health care premiums for a relative few, while 50,000 people go with no health insurance at all. They aren’t asking and don’t want you tell them.
They are “don’t ask don’t tell” when it comes immigration. Don’t ask them to seriously consider why people are coming over the border because they might have to look at U.S. corporations that are exploiting the workers south of the border. Don’t’ ask the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who up until recently were for immigration reform because they saw the undocumented workers as a ready supply of cheap labor. Don’t ask them to compute how much money working immigrants give back to this country in terms of taxes and social security , the benefits of which they will not receive. They don’t want to face those facts. They aren’t asking and don’t want you tell them.
They are “don’t ask don’t tell” on climate change. Some don’t even think there is such a thing as global warming. So don’t’ ask them to look at the scientific data on the effects of global warming and the need for a radical reversal of our use of oil based products and coal based fuel to feed our carbon rich lifestyles. They don’t ask why oil companies get government subsidies while companies trying to develop alternative green energy sources must scrape with relatively little. They don’t ask the oil companies to pay their fair share instead of going off with record profits year after year, quarter after quarter. They aren’t asking and don’t want you tell them.
They are “don’t ask, don’t tell” on taxes too. They don’t want to hear about repealing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. They scream about how it will hurt small business persons (when in fact only three percent of all small businesses fall into this category). If they really cared about people paying their fair share, they could make changes in the law for the small business people. But no, they want to protect their wealthy friends because their wealthy friends fund their campaigns. (In this too I must say Democrats are no better than Republicans).
They don’t’ ask what must be done to hold banks accountable. They don’t ask about addressing the serious problems in public education. They don’t’ ask about the terrible waste of life and resources spent in meaningless wars overseas. They don’t’ ask about REALITY, but rather choose to operate in the politics of denial.
And the truly sad thing, is that we let them get away with these lies. In some cases we even support them because it personally benefits us, and we fail to ask the bigger questions about where this politics of denial is taking us as a people and as a global community.
When I watch what goes on in the House and the Senate, I wonder if the Republicans (and some Democrats) are really that blind that they don’t see the needs around them, or are they so callous they just don’t care. I am of the mind to tell them they are both blind and callous; but then they weren’t asking me, were they.