Full of sound and fury
"… a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
"OK. This one is right on."
—The Other Lee
"Chris, when you chew up the messenger, you lose site of the message. Sometimes you can be so 'right on' and then you give us this."
—The Other Lee
I have a genuinely thoughtful reader, The Other Lee, who on one hand thinks I'm spot-on regarding my lack of faith in religion but then slaps me upside the head for my equivalent lack of faith in Republican values. He thinks when I ridicule a Republican hypocrite such as the drug abusing Rush Limbaugh or characterize Dick Cheney as a horribly compromised Darth Vader or question the intellectual bona fides of Sarah Palin that I'm missing their heartfelt and sincere message of Republican values.
I have one response to that: "What Republican values?"
Would my more reflective (could be tough) Republican readers please send their ideas into the paper as "Letters to the Editor" on what exactly are Republican values "these" days? Be specific. List all your accomplishments during the Bush years.
Republican values? Let's see if I can identify a few "alleged" Republican values. I'll place them in order of "relative" importance. 1. Low taxes 2. Less government 3. Less regulatory oversight of business 4. War/terror (Planning for war, arming for war, actual war — It's a never-ending circle of planning for war, arming for … War now. War tomorrow. Terror forever.) and, of course, the good ol' 5. Family values
First, let's connect the disparate yet symbiotic parts of the Republican universe. You have the "fiscal" Republicans and the "family value" Republicans. Of course, both wings of the Party get behind the War Now/War Forever dogma unleashed by Sept. 11. Real patriots.
Aside: don't-cha just love it when Republicans say, "Well, at least President Bush allowed no attacks on America during his watch!" Uh, uh, uh and Sept. 11 happened when? Under which administration? I just hate it when facts get in the way of one's misconceptions.
My father was a fiscal/small government Republican. But those kind of Republicans simply do not exist anymore. Really folks, once upon a time there were actual Republicans who believed the nation should live within its means but, sigh, alas, we only have to go back to the last Republican administration to see exactly how dead such fiscally responsible Republicanism is. Republicans today fight their forever wars and never even ask for taxes to pay the piper. Imagine that? Go figure.
Low taxes? Hmmm? I get the idea of low taxes. I do. I mean, really, who wants to pay taxes!? Not only that, but look at all that the government does that is simply repugnant: Food stamps for the poor. Housing subsidies for the impoverished. Unemployment relief. And on and on and on. All those unnecessary, profligate programs for "less-fortunate" Americans. You know what though? All those programs that Republicans get their undies all in a knot over add up to chump change as compared to their actual percentage of the overall federal budget.
Look at what we spend on military and security? Staggering amounts. Obscene. Medicare and Medicaid. Mind-boggling. Oh, health care in America and rationing? I want all the dipstick-numbskulls out there who think rationing isn't going on right now in America and who are all aghast over government health care to understand that rationing is, indeed, a fact and it's the for-profit insurance companies that are doing it, that are the administrators. Horrors, if that task were ever shifted to government officials.
Taxes? For about 100 years, we have subscribed to the idea that we have a progressive tax system (see 16th Amendment). The more you made, the more you paid. That has fallen out of favor. And now, for all intents and purposes, if those with more are to pay less, the economic burden will be shifted to the vast, but dwindling middle-class. Which is distinctly at odds with the financial interests of the average "family value" Republican.
Historically the rich cats in the Republican Party don't give two-whits about the social issues that inflame the "family value" Republicans. Oh, sure, there is the occasional Fat Cat Republican who gets all atwitter over the rights of the unborn and how every sperm is scared (or is it, every egg is sacred?) but by and large, the fiscal wing of the Republican Party is strictly interested in their pocketbooks and have deftly manipulated the "family value" Republicans into essentially sacrificing their own economic self interest in the cause of the unborn, or the sanctity of heterosexual marriage, etc., ad nauseum. Point this out (who specifically benefits from such and such economic policy) and the "family value" Republicans simply stutter, "Uh, uh, uh … The unborn! The unborn!"
Small government/deregulation — These are essentially code words for eliminating government agencies that have any responsible oversight of the corporate and financial sectors of the American culture. It is as if Republicans think we do not have any overarching national concerns that are frequently at odds with corporations. Clean air, water and land. Worker's rights? Business practices (See 2009-10 recession). Any number of a myriad of legitimate areas of economic activity that corporations would, if left to their own devices, ignore or subvert. Pure and simple.
We need responsible government agencies looking out for the interests of the "average" American. That's us, kids. History has demonstrated time and time again that corporate interests will subvert public interests and that they even have the gall (cojones) to call their behavior patriotic. And the "family value" Republicans fall for this nonsense every time. Suckers that they are. Dupes. Dopes. And Dunces.
A word to "family value" Republicans. The times they are changin' with all due respect to Bob Dylan. Younger Americans simply do not care about the issues that so ring your bell. Gay Marriage? If not now? Soon. You're dinosaurs and the more astute among you may grasp just how tenuous your hold is on "moral" America. Take your family now and buy those 40 acres in remote Obscure, Idaho, and hunker down. When your kids want to rejoin the "modern" world, don't be surprised that they don't come around so often.
I quoted Shakespeare at the beginning. This is what I think of modern day Republicans, Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown in particular. Or, Jim Demint of South Carolina. Or, Marc Rubio of South Florida. Or, that weasel Chuck Grassley of my beloved Iowa. Or, …
You are "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."
And to my faithful reader, The Other Lee, until the Republican Party stands for something nobler than their empty-suit, special-interest rhetoric (and policies), I'll continue to call a spade a shovel. They are "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." What message? That is the Republican Party of America. Welcome to the club, Sen. Brown. Welcome to the Party. Yeeaaah Baby!