Remember when Liberal was a fine word with no hate or venom attached to its use? I asked a friend the other day if he could remember when “Liberal” was something proudly attached to Baccalaureate Sheepskins? He said sure, but could not remember when it all happened and caused the English language to adopt a new word with new meaning. I confess that every time I see my own sheepskin on the wall I am a bit secretive and embarrassed to admit that I have a Bachelor of Arts degree. I used to be proud of that word Liberal attached to the document, but it is not a big thing, really.
My friend, George Gondron, CPA, philosopher, and former Certified Counsellor of humans with hurts and neuroses, said that probably the word came to the forefront when some of the big conservative talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh used it over and over to skewer Democrats as a trait that was un-American and unholy at the same time. Sean Hannity gets honors for exacerbating Democrats by his guttural delivery of the word ‘Liberal’ when he is demonizing someone who usually opposes him and his one-way views of politics and his fellow man. See, what the clarions of the opposition to Liberals are quite successful in accomplishing is the degradation of the word to mean a person who wants to squander our nation’s wealth by taxing and spending Americans to pay the bills of the Poor and Working Class of Americans. Lord knows why they want to demonize poor people, but they do. Like dogs in the manger they want it all. They don’t even study nor care about the Working Class Poor, whether they could ever make enough in paltry burger-flipping jobs to pay for luxuries that many world nations have. Like Healthcare. What is it now, 44 MILLION Americans without health insurance? Wonder what Sweden and France think about us, the richest country in the world that has made healthcare so unaffordable that 44 MILLION don’t have it? You got to wonder what Mexico thinks about it. It’s affordable there in other countries, Congressmen and Senators. Get it? Maybe your own healthcare plans you have exclusively voted into law for yourselves are a bit too much to make it fair to the rest of Americans. You think?
So the word ‘Liberal’ is liberally applied in Goebbelesque fashion to all who would spend on Welfare, SCHIPS for the children of low-income families, and on raising the Minimum Wage. Joseph Goebbels, remember him? He was Hitler’s propaganda minister (among other things). He said that if you repeat a thing over and over, the same phrase, the same word, it becomes accepted by the populace as truth. People might just start to believe you and your doctrine. People might just come to believe that Russia is the Evil Empire and Iraq, Iran, and North Korea are the “Axis of Evil.” And we Americans, as avenging angels, need to spend vast sums of money to protect ourselves and our country. And borrow and spend the money, if necessary. So I must digress lest I get ahead of myself.
But what of spending on the lower income classes of working folk here in America? Dr. Ron Paul, R of Texas, has voted against raising Minimum Wage so many times he was given the moniker, ‘Dr. No.’ he coined the expression ‘Cradle to Grave’ when ridiculing welfare bills and such that would benefit the poor. “You cannot expect government to pay your way from the Cradle to the Grave.” said Paul, sort of smugly. Not a classy comment Dr. Paul. So at this moment I’m feeling a pregnant pause coming on. Makes me want to ask just what the hell is government for? Is it for all the people and their equal rights as defined in the Constitution? Or is a playground for Dr. No and his ilk who vote NO on all bills that help ALL Americans, including the Poor? He voted ‘YES’ to impeach Bill Clinton, just for the record. Geez,
But there is a weird glitch in the discussion of Liberals. Not all of the government money is being spent on the Poor. Not all of the Poor are lazy either as George W. Bush declared in his Harvard Economics class. His Economics professor, Dr. Yoshi Tsurumi was showing the Hollywood film “The Grapes of Wrath,” with Henry Fonda, and Bush piped up, “Why do you want to show us a Commie film like this? People can work if they want to, and they can find jobs, so they are lazy. Apparently Bush did not know who John Steinbeck, the author, was, either. The class booed and hissed him down for being such an uninformed clod, and Tsurumi said that if “Bush ever becomes CEO of a corporation; he feared the consequences would be severe for the employees.” Little did the acclaimed Harvard professor know of the upcoming clouds of doom and destruction when Bush hit the White House.
This demonization of the word ‘Liberal’ is applied with vigor to all who advocate or vote for government spending programs that benefit the vast majority of Americans, many of which are on the bottom of the financial totem pole. But why is this? Who are these stingy souls who wish for the poor to have nothing and become members of the “Have Mores,” Bush’s base, so he proclaims.
Enter the Conservatives. Or call them Republicans, if you wish. Or Tea Baggers, if you must.
By definition, and by original purpose, Conservatives were the bankers, the businessmen, those who had lots of capital and wealth. You know, the Rockefellers, the Vanderbilts, the Bush family. It was their original purpose to conserve government resources by spending as little as possible on the poor and on programs for the Working Man. Historically, working men felt compelled to organize unions to stand up to the money and power of the companies they worked for. I asked several union members back in the 1950s and 1960s why they just did not be more pliable and settle with the companies. The common response was, “Companies will not give in to give more to the workers.” It became a clash of the Titans, what with the strikes, the picketing, with lost income for the picketing workers.
That clash today is epitomized in the words carefully chosen and repeated to demonize the very existence of unions. Union became a dirty word, just like LIBERAL. The Conservatives (many Haves and Have Mores here) do not choose to give in and bargain with unions. Thanks to Ronald Reagan when he fired all the federal air traffic controllers, unions have withered on the vine, what Newt Gingrich wishes Social Security will do, sooner than late. Reagan would not hire them back, and unions became diluted with less power at the hands of the Great Communicator. So Reagan would not reason with the air traffic controllers. And Gingrich wants Social Security to wither on the vine and be snatched from the people who need it to live on in their old age. Wonder how Newt feels about Medicare? Why ask?
The point is that Conservatives want to “conserve” government money. Oh, really? For what? For whom? Well Big Oil Companies, for one. IBM. Chase Bank. Wall Street firms who make billions on dice rolls with our tax dollars. Didn’t you know? The government always bails out. One of the biggest beneficiaries of government spending is the Military Industrial Complex. You know, Lockheed, Raytheon, Halliburton, the usually NO-BID contract buddies of government. These huge funds get huge government contracts and give unlimited large sums of money to candidates running for public office all the way up to the White House. What a sweetheart deal. These Conservatives are in the business of getting as much government money as possible for defense spending.
Dear reader, Tomahawk Missiles, at $1.4 Million per copy is it right to pay Raytheon that much? But that’s okay, you know, if it defends us and our American way of life, prayer in school, electing our own public servants at the ballot box (hmmmm). It’s like the money for war and the corporations who thrive on war (everybody aware that Prescott Bush sold steel to Adolf Hitler during WWII?) is okay to use for that godly purpose: defeating those who would harm us (whether real or imagined). Like was Saddam Hussein really thick with Osama bin Laden? Did he really have missiles pointed at our cities? One thing is certain: The Military Industrial Complex of corporations flourished because of Bush’s “Shock and Awe” decimation of Iraq. How much money fled out of the US Treasury in the last decade of our longest war? About 4 Trillion dollars. All borrowed and spent on a righteous cause. That makes the outgo, the spending okay, you see? But is Iraq better off? Are we?
Conservatives. Ronald Reagan borrowed and spent 3 Trillion dollars in his 8 years as president, but who’s counting? So 2 recent Conservative (Republican) presidents racked up a total of $7 Trillion to our National Debt. More than all the previous presidents in the history of the United States.
So will the real LIBERALS please stand up? And the CONSERVATIVES, too? Would this new perspective give us cause to redefine the meaning of these 2 words in Webster’s? Strange new times, these. You got to wonder what other civilized nations of the world thought of us and our “Flim Flam Man” government . While our National Debt soared so quickly to $17 Trillion as we stood by and watched.