Buy Cable TV, Get a Free Gun
Guns in churches, schools, and bars. American politics are getting more bizarre and, in some cases, border on the nutty. Current politics include Republican legislatures in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, and Minnesota fighting for their "right" to reject energy efficiency light bulbs, while South Carolina will manufacture their own state's rights incandescent bulbs.
Alaska wants to eliminate Federal protection of salmon, polar bears, seals, and wolves in favor of "state sovereignty." Dozens of states pledge to roll back "Obamacare" and protect their citizens' right to high-priced monopoly health care. A GOP legislator in New Hampshire recommends sending the disabled and homeless to Siberia where it's cheaper to live.
Americans have always relished smears, scandals, and partisan struggles that appeal to the lowest common denominator. The Tea Party and their Republican sycophants have used this by making the federal government the enemy to win recent elections.
Issues they've tackled include expanding the rights of gun owners, portrayed by the National Rifle Association as oppressed victims of government regulation. These oppressed victims bought 200,000 more guns than usual in 2010, to make a total of 200 to 350 million guns in the U.S. Despite 30,000 deaths a year and 70,000 injuries caused by these guns, the NRA insists, "guns save lives."
In Florida, NRA supporters seek to impose a fine of $5 million on any doctor who asks patients if they own guns. In South Dakota, NRA supporters want to require every adult citizen to purchase a gun. Georgia is about to allow guns in bars, churches, and political events. Arizona allows anyone to carry a concealed weapon without a permit and Utah has named an official state firearm, soon to be followed by Texas. NRA supporters in nine states seek to legalize guns on school campuses. In Montana, Radio Shack is giving away a gun with every purchase of Dish Network and in Missouri a car dealer is offering a free AK-47 with the purchase of a new vehicle.
Congressional Republicans forced "gun rights" into the health-care bill to prevent the collection of "any information relating to gun ownership." Congress refuses to ban ammunition clips that hold 40 bullets and fire 2 shots a second. The NRA refuses to meet with President Obama because he has "spent a lifetime trying to destroy the Second Amendment."
In another effort to "save the country," GOP legislatures are attacking illegal immigration. Georgia wants to condemn immigrants for stealing "job opportunities" from citizens and make it a crime to "transport" or "harbor" illegal immigrants. Several states seek to bar illegals from college and prevent them from marrying U.S. citizens. Alabama would make it illegal to rent to an illegal immigrant. One GOP legislator says he wants to "make South Carolina a very hostile place for those who are in this country illegally." Meanwhile GOP presidential contenders support a moral crusade to save America:
Mike Huckabee of Arkansas blames the economic downturn, crime, and high school dropout rates on our "morality." He wants America to "rediscover God" and worship evangelical Christianity.
Governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi lauds the White Citizens Councils of the civil rights days and pledges that we should do "everything that we can do to stop abortion."
Newt Gingrich claims, "religious belief is being challenged by a cultural elite" that wants God "driven out of public life." He places his "moral values" at the top of the U.S. agenda, as important as the economy and national defense.
Michele Bachmann promises to increase the importance of so-called social moral issues and says, "Social conservatism is fiscal conservatism."
Working people are not faring well in the business-supported GOP push to dominate politics. In Nevada, the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce is seeking to repeal the state's $8.25 minimum wage. Congressperson Darrell Issa (R-CA) wants to outlaw any State's minimum wage higher than the federal minimum wage. Wisconsin overturned the rights of state workers to collective bargaining and Republican governors around the country are laying off thousands of workers, privatizing government jobs, and firing schoolteachers.
Republican Congressional leaders abolished committees on global warming and ended recycling programs in the House cafeteria, claiming "green" initiatives are too expensive and compostable utensils melt in hot soup and break in salads. The GOP wants to end cheap government mortgages by abolishing Fannie Mae because it competes with for-profit banks. They also seek to abolish the EPA, along with government support of Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio. Republican Ron Paul (R-TX) wants to abolish almost all government agencies.
Is the GOP creating a new role for America as a laughingstock of the world or is America simply becoming one giant loony bin?
Don Monkerud is an Aptos, California-based writer who follows cultural issues and politics and writes occasional satire.