NOTE: After reading a particularly empassioned comment, we invited its author, Care2 member Zoraida Colon-Collado, to offer a guest post on the election.
Listening as victory parties revved up in Republican Campaign offices everywhere, and high powered “conservative” radio whips like Rush Limbaugh launched their offensive for the presidential race in 2012, I found it difficult to contain the anger and fear running through my mind as I pondered the real meaning behind this turn in American politics.
Contrary to what many believe, this was not just a unification of the majority “white” voters in this country against the specter of being taken over by the growing ranks of minorities and illegal aliens, it was the death knell for the American middle class, as we know it, and the final step in becoming one of the most influential third world countries in the world.
It did not surprise me that Rush’s first attack was against the final removal of tax exemptions for the wealthy implemented by George Bush, the self-avowed “friend of the rich”, as he himself is one of them, not just by inheriting it from a string of judges and lawyers in his own family, but by selling fear and hatred to the weak and confused masses who look to anyone for clear and decisive leadership, in a world seemingly devoid of any. He likened increasing taxes on those who could most afford them as a “punishment” for having amassed obscene amounts of wealth. In order to coerce the upper middle class to join in this farce, he did concede that any amount of income, over say $175,000.00 or so, should not be penalized by taxation, but his true tirade was aimed quite obviously at the millionaires and billionaires who stand to get hit the hardest, like himself.
I asked myself, aren’t these the same corporations and executives who have profited so largely and so well from the wars, NAFTA, shipping jobs overseas and using international banks to hide their profits? Was this not the same money taken out of the American financial cycle, that left it on the brink of bankruptcy? Are these not the same bank and financial executives who gave themselves raises even after bankrupting their companies and being bailed out by…us?
It amazes me as well that the billions of dollars being used to fund all these undeclared “wars” that have proven to be not just illogical, and unwinnable in a very much Viet Nam way, are not even mentioned when speaking of deficits by the “conservative” rank and file, or their leaders. All the screaming about controlling budgets and reducing deficits is aimed at… Social Security, Public Aid and Health Care for those who could not otherwise afford it. That’s us, by and large, folks.
What the Republican agenda is saying is that the wealthy do not want to be responsible for funding the “benefits” of the average working, unemployed or underemployed man or woman. They believe that making us scramble for less-than-minimum wage jobs, that fill their coffers so well, will build the American character and make us a strong country again. Quality public education, humane health care, affordable housing? Well that’s just for those weak cry babies who don’t want to put in an honest day’s work to earn them, like in the good old days. The good old days?
It took us decades of protest, legal and illegal, to get a right to control our own bodies, to get a decent wage for a day’s work, to keep our children out of the fields and factories, to get health care, housing and education that was the envy of the world. One by one, it is all being taken back. America is marching backward at an alarming speed fueled by the fears and imaginary bogey men created by those who would control your mind and spirit and make you give up your Constitutional Rights to “‘…life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, for an empty and impotent promise of safety from “aliens” and “terrorists” of our own creation. The symbols of liberty and freedom, the Boston Tea Party, Dr. King’s speech in Washington, none are safe from the manipulation and misinterpretation of an agenda so powerful, it will eventually eat even it’s own; and we march blindly towards it, like lemmings to the edge of the cliff.
The words, “honor”, “freedom”, “patriot”, have been so twisted and knit into this propaganda of divisivism that their original meaning is all but lost on the young, and the old, who have seen despotism rise from just such actions, despair in their rotting wake.
There have been many who commented, when faced with an open criticism of the events of our day, that those of us who are dissatisfied with the American way, should find a better place to live and go there. The thought has never before been so tempting.
Zoraida Colon-Collado’s background is as varied as her interests. From ESOL teacher in the hills of Puerto Rico to dairy farm worker to social worker for the Marielitos to substance abuse treatment, it all revolves around people, and how to help them become their personal best.
by Peaco Todd
By Care2 member Zoraida Colon-Collado