Note: US House votes for budget that has deep cuts to Medicaid and Medicare:
“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
As quickly as the news spread about the massacre in Las Vegas came the almost automated warnings from politicians on the NRA “donation” list that “now is not the time to politicize guns.” When then? Is it not yet time to start talking about the deaths of the first graders in Newtown, Connecticut. Even thinking about that one makes tears well up in my eyes.
It has been fifty-one years since Charles Whitman took his spot in the tower at the University of Texas, killing 18 and injuring 39. Is it time to talk about that one yet.
Death from guns is one of the leading causes of death for young Americans. We kill ourselves at a pace of nearly 100 a day, 32,000 a year. Yet Republicans in congress have blocked anyone from doing serious study about gun deaths.
Republicans obstruct. They especially obstruct any legislation to do with guns. They obstruct studying guns and gun deaths. They obstruct proposed laws that will check backgrounds of purchasers. They obstruct laws that would limit the capacity of firearms. They obstruct, they obstruct, they obstruct. And Americans die at the hands of other Americans at a pace rivaling, even surpassing most of our wars.
They obstruct because the NRA pays them well to do so and they obstruct because their distorted messaging on “gun rights” gets votes, lots of votes. They don’t care that 32,000 die a year and over 100,000 are maimed for life by guns.
Obstructing sensible gun control is only one of many ways that the Republican Party makes life miserable for Americans.
Just last week Americans narrowly avoided a Republican bill that would cut access to health care for tens of millions and would cut Medicaid to the most vulnerable in our society. Just because these bills did not pass last week doesn’t mean they are dead in their crusade to take health care from Americans. It will be back, and back and back. They will not give up until they have successfully taken healthcare from the poor, the sick and the vulnerable.
Since they weren’t able to kill it legislatively, the administration has been planning to hobble the ACA from day one. Currently, the Children’s Health program has been suspended with no hurry apparently to kick it back in. This is a tremendous burden on the poor.
While killing the ACA and cutting Medicaid to nothingness isn’t cruel enough, how about slowly ending Medicare for the elderly? It is on the agenda. If they can’t kill it through legislation, they will soon be working on changing Medicare through regulatory action that will dramatically raise costs for seniors.
Republicans are also doing what they can to raise tensions and cause rifts and strife in our country. The current president has made statements filled with racial overtones and dog whistle. White supremacists have become empowered in their efforts. A young woman died during a protest in Charlottesville, Va. The administration was very slow and fuddled in its condemnation of the racism.
Tensions around the world have been raised dramatically as the current Republican administration has insulted governments everywhere and threatened leaders in North Korea and Venezuela. They have also threatened to simply walk away from a nuclear treaty with Iran.
Reviving racial antagonisms and cutting access to healthcare are both policies that will lead to unnecessary deaths long term. Refusal to face climate change, even rolling back policies that may have helped is another policy decision that will lead to unnecessary deaths. We are just now beginning to see the predicted effects of climate change coming to fruition. It will get worse and many more will die unnecessarily.
Ancillary to ignoring climate change is the policies that let businesses and manufacturers pollute, from spewing crap into the air to farm fertilizer runoff to blowing the tops off of mountains.
Another policy that Republicans choose to foster in practice that contributes to unnecessary deaths is poverty and wealth inequality. Besides making private health care hard to obtain, poverty limits diet choices and choices such as where to live. Grinding poverty raises tensions that lead to interpersonal violence.
When you add it all together from preventing anything being done about guns, to trying to cut health care or at least hobbling it however they can, to climate change and pollution to heightening racial tensions and heightening world tensions, the Republican Party has turned itself into a party of death.
When a Republican declares themselves “pro-life” it should make you laugh. They may be pro-birth, but their party is working hard to take away the very things that will help those babies live a decent life by American standards. Instead they want that baby to survive without healthcare, in a polluted atmosphere that will cause sickness, in a world where the climate will get forbidding and very possibly ending up in poverty.
Democrats have been working on creating jobs, cleaning the atmosphere, ameliorating climate change, truing to pass sensible gun legislation, getting health care for all and education for all. The difference between the two parties is the difference between life and death.