Politics has finally cornered the market on despicable. Oh, it’s been contemptible for years but the parties sort of took turns. There was generally some redeeming quality or a shred of decency that stood out in one political party while the other putrefied. Like when the Democrats fought for slavery and the Republicans fought back. Or when the Republicans rallied against Social Security and the Democrats passed it anyway. But now both sides of this dicotyledonous nut are rotting, and it is despicable.
The American Heritage Dictionary claims that the word has been around since about 1545 and defines it as “deserving of contempt or scorn; vile.”
And this has nothing to do with the pathetic Democrats losing the Kennedy legacy in the voting booths last week. Hey, Massachusetts Democrats, if you want to trash the Harvard Kennedy legacy by running a candidate who misspells the word Massachusetts in her campaign ads and makes fun of other candidates because they have the grizzle to campaign at Fenway Park, so be it. You probably thought that you could spit in the face of Massachusetts voters and they’d still elect a Democrat; guess that was a miscalculation.
Let’s face it, since Bill Clinton took all those kids off Social Security under his so-called welfare reform program in the ’90s there hasn’t been a little “d” part of the Democratic Party. And undoing FDR’s checks and balances on Wall Street as well as financing the war and funding the Patriot Act while marching lock step with the Republicans proves the Democrats are just hypocritical pawns of commerce and industry — no more concerned about the Constitution of the United States than they are about their commitment to providing health care to all Americans.
But having one worthless party doesn’t make our system despicable. No, that requires the cooperation of another worthless political party in the United States.
Many of us who criticize the Democrats as hypocrites have then actually given kudos to the Republicans for at least being honest in their intent to betray the little guy for the sake of the big guy, but that’s not even accurate anymore.
At one time the Republican Party representatives could look you in the eye and say: “We’re sorry if folks die without health care because that’s capitalism at its finest. When you eliminate government interference and these businesses can get on with the business of lowering cost and providing goods and services, fewer people will die. See, if you work hard maybe you’ll be able to afford it.” As for those who can’t make it in the capitalist world, well, that’s what charities are for.
That is, until the Republicans want government control. Then they make the hypocritical Democrats look like apprentices at the knee of the masters.
Greatest terrorist attack on U.S. soil — unless you count the Trail of Tears when all those Native Americans were removed or massacred — but for the sake of this column let’s forget that sort of government-sponsored terrorism.
On 9-11, lots of people died. And not just the poor folks, not just the folks who couldn’t afford health insurance or couldn’t avoid military service as a last resort for a job or couldn’t buy their way out of their crime-ridden neighborhoods. Rich folks died, too.
So with the stroke of a pen our Republican president turned to socialism for the solution. No competitive capitalist way to safeguard against bad guys with box cutters getting on the next plane to LaGuardia: The government replaced every private security firm that screened air passengers with government employees who answered only to the government.
Where was the anti-socialist Republican Party? It was cowering behind that president; grateful for the government takeover that guaranteed their safety where private industry had failed.
But this week, one of those Republican senators blocked the nomination of Erroll Southers to be the new head of the Transportation Security Administration. Why? Because Southers might support unionizing the TSA workers. You know, union workers like the first responders to 9-11 who suffered the greatest loss of life in the history of the New York Port Authority.
Hypocritical Republicans socializing the work force and then denying the workers the right to collective bargaining is despicable.
Pat LaMarche of Yarmouth is the author of “Left Out In America: The State of Homelessness in the United States.” She may be reached at PatLaMarche@