Friday, April 8, 2011

The Republican War on Everyone Else

The following comment appeared in the New York Times in response to a Paul Krugman column criticizing Republican Rep. Paul Ryan's budget proposal:

Congressman Ryan is from one of the wealthiest Wisconsin districts, just across border from Illinois and a favored bedroom area for wealthy commuters from Chicago. He's representing the wealthy voters to whom everyone not one of them is invisible. 

Congressman Ryan proposed earlier budgets in which he would have eliminated the health care for children (CHIPS.) His constituents didn't protest. As far as they're concerned, Americans working for a living are lucky to be employed and should have worked harder and studied harder. 
His constituents pay to keep him in office because he'll carry their water: make it possible for the strong to prey on those who lack their wealth and connections. It's something the working people in this nation fiercely fought to overcome in the 1930s, 1940s, and even into the 1950s. 
I still recall when my father was a petroleum company executive during a refinery strike during my younger years and him telling how he had to low-crawl to his car after his month of working to keep the refinery operating. I remember the wives of the workers in that strike coming to our rural home with their children, and asking for food and toilet paper. I recall my mother answering the door with a revolver in one hand hidden behind her back. I recall us setting up a a pantry in the garage and my mother telling them she couldn't feed them all but would help in emergencies. I recall my father expressing amazement that after low-crawling to the car, the union workers opened the gate and waved him out. I remember his consternation when my mother showed him the garage pantry and explained why they'd waved him out. She said the strike was between the men, and union or not, she'd always share her food with mothers and children. I remember our house being shot at and seeing the bullet holes in the living room window. 
I recall one of my father's friends over one evening talking to him about a railroad strike. He told of how union workers had been found along the rail bed beaten black and blue. About that moment he looked up and remarked to my father that "little ears were nearby" and he'd better stop or there'd be nightmares. I was sent to bed. 
I recall the news stories on WGN radio about acid being thrown into truckers' faces during trucking strikes. 
I recall the death threats sent to my parents about kidnapping and killing me. I recall at age 7 people in Halloween masks attacking the windows on my bedroom and I then recall being taken to St. Louis where a large black German Shepherd named Windy and I were trained together for my protection. I recall the annual re-training through my eleventh year. That probably had a lot to do with my father regularly took me overseas with him. 
That is the era back to which Congressman Ryan and his bought, phony, grass-root supporters want to take us: the era of real class warfare. It's sick. They're morally corrupt. 
From President Truman forward, every Democratic President has reduced the national debt as a percentage of the nation's GDP. Since Truman forward, ONLY TWO Republican Presidents have reduced the nation's debt as a percentage of GDP: President Eisenhower in both terms and President Nixon in his first term. That's it. Since then, Republican Presidents have always increased the national debt as a percentage of GDP. 
Congressman Ryan's budget isn't the least bit serious. It's not a budget to build a great nation. It's a delusion concocted by his vanity egged on by the thought of accolades and personal riches from this nation's wealthiest. Congressman Ryan's budget has all the scope, insight, and foresight one might find in the Christmas wish list of a sheltered, spoiled child.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


after night

I walk

the smouldering
dark streets




is many

places then
as now

all lie
in ruins

it is

as much
as I can do

to save
even one

from oblivion

-Ciaran Carson, 2003