We’ve all got ‘em. Cousins or in-laws who think they know politics and attempt to give you quick course and the benefit of their knowledge whether you ask for it or not. They call us out for being big-spending Liberals but never mention the New Conservatives philosophy that spending on insane weaponry to keep us safe is fine, just fine. Talking out of both sides of the mouth simultaneously, they present an elusive target to zero in on. Does the Tea Party come to mind? Can anyone tell me how Ted Cruz or Donald Trump managed to reach such popularity in the GOP?
I get ambushed in the most unlikely places. Like when we were eating buffet-style after a funeral. Not the choicest timing on political discussions, I thought. My cousin must have mistaken me for an avid Democrat, I guessed, though I tried to tell him, too, that he was preaching to the choir. Did that slow him down? Nope. These dudes with a pocketful of catchy “talking points” seem to be relentless in pursuit of spreading their worn out messages to grass roots voters. I tried to impart to him that after a preview of Obama and the Democrat Congress at the time, I had no love lost for either entity. But anyway he spoke of the evils of Pelosi, Obama, Michelle Obama using govt. planes for shopping sprees abroad, you know, the usual talking points, and both sides have them. Once he checked me out and asked what I thought about it, and I said, hey, you are preaching to the choir, tell it to someone who might want to argue with you. I don’t.
I mentioned the ominous cloud of Bernanke (on Obama’s direction) of printing more TRILLIONS of dollars, much in the same way a corporation issues trillions of shares of stock without adding one tiny bit of value to a company or its products! You can pay back debt owed with cheaper dollars, but what the heck? What’s going to happen to your national currency and the dollars old farts like me and you have tried to put away in our old age? I asked him what he thought about it, what he thought we should do, and his advice to me was to not worry about it because it would make me sad and depressed. Haha. He was right. Throw down gauntlets and rotten eggs, and then sneak out of the room. Nice. I need to remind myself of how ignorant and vile political discussions can be. And how many parroted talking-points flood the room and make you want to gag.
After each ambush and unwanted encounter, for the life of me I cannot understand why Democrats and Republicans alike have such a narrow one-way view of only one side is totally right. And the other side is totally wrong. How can that be? Is there no gray in the Universe? Just black and white? Pshaw. But all these bright young men and women of yesteryear are fraught with a feeble and silly knowing that they are right. Until somebody holds their notions up to the light to check for authenticity. Snopes.com usually shatters even the cleverest Rovian talking point of something that has been circulating about the Internet as an Absolute Truth. Try it; you’ll like it. Wish I had a nickel for every time a windbag full of hot air was punctured just by a simple truth check.
Obama and his Cabinet have promised the moon and haven’t always delivered, AND that he has added to the loss of freedoms we had under the Constitution before Bush began to destroy them: you know, loss of habeas corpus, wiretapping without FISA Court approval, looking at your and my bank accounts, a decree from some green hand to torture if you were on the NSA List, Military Court Tribunals, the usual. Obama ran for president on the atrocities of what Bush had done to our rights under the Constitution. Then he turned around and enhanced some of those same atrocities, e.g., the Patriot Act. He continues to affix his little ugly signing statements that prevents Congress from writing valid bills into law of the land, if the president so chooses (talk about loss of freedoms for our children). No more separation of powers of the Executive, Judicial, and the Legislative Branches, thank you very much. So who checks the Executive on his wielding of powers like a dictator, like, in sending suspects to Syria and other demon countries to be tortured or forgotten? Without being charged by anyone with a crime. No lawyers, no phone calls. No right to face your accuser. But this is America, right? Yeah, right.
Some have contended that if you ain’t got nothing to hide, then why worry about losing such a right under the Constitution? Do I need ask? And are these liberties we lost worth regaining or preserving? I think so. Without them we live in a dictatorship, and just because we are operating as happy suburbanite Capitalists now and earning a good living does not insure that the future won’t change on the whim of the next dude or the present one in office. Does it? Especially if we keep on printing more dollars, and then buy the surplus government notes (the ones that China and Japan does not want) back from our own selves. I know, I know; it is hard to follow.
I mentioned to my dear cousin that Democrats and Republicans are both charlatans who say one thing and do another. While picking our pockets. For instance, Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and Everett Dirksen were true conservatives. They believed in individual self-help, prudence in govt. spending, and conserving the resources (including the $ that used to be in our Treasury!)!! That was before presidents from each party borrowed more trillions of dollars, then to where America is now perched on the edge of a financial cliff. I think we let them blow a hole in our fiscal bucket, you think?! Recovery is a total impossibility at this point. You know the difference between us and Greece? It hasn’t caught up with us yet! Know why our dollar still holds up? Maybe the rest of the world is more bankrupt than we are. It does leave you breathless even to just think about it.
So Reagan comes along and runs for president on a “true”conservative platform and gets elected. And then what does he do???? He advocates, stumps for, smiles and winks at the camera, and gets Congress (out of fear of opposing such a popular presidency as his) to beef up the military by BORROWING AND SPENDING $3 Trillion dollars extra that got added to our National Debt (not to mention the compound interest we, you, and your children are paying and will continue to pay FOREVER). Ka-ching! Took my breath away. This was a true convervative? Gives you a new take on the term “Big-Spending Democrats” doesn’t it?
Here was a conservative president who believed that we could borrow our way into prosperity and never have to pay the PIPER!!! Say what?!!!!! Lofty rhetoric including the Laffer Curve, Trickle-Down Economics, and all that jazz would be good for America Reagan told us. It happened alright, and Reagan’s warm TV speeches made us feel good about borrowing money so we could bring the Evil Empire (Russia) to its knees! It would be for a just cause, you know. But look again. Russia is still a military and economic power that hardly sneezed at our folly of borrowing and spending to neutralize them as a threat. Right now the Ruskies have more oil than any country in the world. Just look at the vast geography. The Russians are partnering with other countries (including China and many capitalist countries) to come get the oil, using other countries’ technology, etc., while they sit back sipping Vodka! And they still got enough nukes to destroy the world 200 times! Dude. Ayeah. We brought them to their knees all right.
Reagan even wanted to give away to the Russians our Star Wars ABM deterrent system, for free, you understand? Do you love it? Bring them to their knees? By giving them our secrets??!! Geez. Some conservative president. Well, the Star Wars (SDI) System was shut down and never completed, after we spent several billion dollars (add that plus all the interest to our posterity’s well-being in the future) that we never will see. About this time, I had to ask, hey, I thought borrowing and spending was a mark of the Big-Spending Democrats, so what gives? Under Reagan and his 8 years as president we borrowed and spent $3,000,000,000,000.00 that is still part of our present $18 Trillion dollar debt in 2015. And we were not at war. Oh, I forgot. Except with Grenada!
By this time my cousin who ambushed me at the funeral had started to look all glassy-eyed and bored. He stealthily began to circulate among the other people. His prowess as a political analyst had taken on a new tact as he searched for new victims. It seems that they always lose interest when their talking points are not accepted as truth and gospel and they must answer to the follies of not just the other political party but to their own as well. Such discussions are endless exercises in futility, it seems. My cousin’s role as a political analyst was over, at least for the moment.