This morning, right out of the box, quoting Mitch McConnell’s comments that the government of the United States is a “hostage worth ransoming,” Meet the Press’s David Gregory asked him if he was prepared to take the government hostage to the next manufactured crisis– the “debt ceiling.”
McConnell evaded and avoided the question each time it was asked. But he repeated the most trying mantra of all: if only Obama would step up and lead the country.
Words to pay attention to henceforth: perception. Entitlement. Hostage. Lead. Leader.
How shamelessly language is distorted and manipulated. Look at how McConnell has now set up the argument that it’s all about Obama’s alleged resistance to “come to the table,” with never a word about the conservative obsession with the debt.
Upon further questioning McConnell played down Obama’s recent and unpopular with Democrats offer to cut entitlements by instituting a new cost-saving calibration of Medicare– which was ultimately shut down by John Boehner when he walked out of meetings with the president. But this was an immense concession many of us didn’t want him to make in the recent fiscal cliff negotiations.
I made myself listen to this artful dodger on Meet the Press for ten minutes and then I was done. It’s no use; for as long as we have the country held hostage to the Tea Party, our government will consist of two widely divergent roads, hearts, minds, sensibilities.
Compromise, by the way, didn’t used to be a dirty word. But it is for the Republicans.
And, consider the conservative’s appropriation of the word “entitlement.”
In the odd world of today’s conservatism, which is underpinned by a skewed nihilism, an entitlement is an undeserved right to money and things.
It is something you don’t work for and come by honestly; it’s a hand-out. A gift from government.
In the myopic universe of “cut everything”, get rid of everything except….wait for it–there is at least a subconscious belief that the 47% daydream so well articulated by the generally inarticulate Romney last summer, is reality.
And consider, the relationship between reality and perception. The Conservatives have invented a reality and they live within it. In their world, taking semi-automatic weapons off the street is to undermine the Constitution. In their world, Obama is for moochers and moochers re-elected him. They re-elected him because as Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilley, Sean Hannity and the rest put it, “he gives them stuff.”
In reality, in his first term Barack Obama demonstrated that in spite of the four-year long Republican psychosis, in spite of their so-called strategy of saying no to everything he proposed, he could get many things done.
He was reelected because it is patently obvious that he gives a damn. He cares about us and he considers himself one of us– and he reformed health care, saved the economy, et cetera.
He was reelected because he is reasonable and progressive, while Romney was an unlovely anachronism, a frightening android programmed to condemn and deprive.
Perception is indeed at the heart of all difficulties and divisions. When all is said and done, Obama is perceived by the Republicans as a threat– A threat to everything “American.” He is not respected by the GOP; he is not viewed objectively by a single Republican member of Congress. He is the enemy.
We will never convince the Republicans that taxing the rich and cutting benefits are not a true quid pro quo. To see that reality is too great a challenge for the intellectually deprived. The rich don’t need benefits; they don’t need Medicare and Medicaid.
But the rest of us do. And we did earn it– the social security cache we pay into for all of our working lives helps us survive, but it doesn’t give us enough to buy health insurance, or to keep us in nursing homes.
As a disabled woman, I am someone who is being given lots of “stuff.” I have a Section 8 housing voucher through HUD that pays $500 a month of my rent and doesn’t get counted as income. I have a disability stipend of a tax-free $951.00. I am in a nursing home diversion program covered by Colorado Medicaid which provides me with in-home cleaning and personal care services– a cost-cutting program.
I get sixteen dollars a month in Food Stamps, which pays for my addiction to marked-down yogurt. I get to go to the Foodbank and come home with an amazing variety of useful and not so useful things. Free stuff. Yup.
This week’s haul: Another ten lb bag of potatoes. Assorted artisan breads. A year’s supply of half-gone onions. Tough little carrots. Tangerines on their way out. A bag of Smucker’s crustless peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Stale cookies and so on.
And lo and behold, a big bag of burgundy frozen goo labeled Olive Garden: Red Wine Battuto.
Whoa Nelly! What on earth is this? Stay tuned for my adventures with that item.
In my community, fewer landlords are taking Section 8 vouchers because of their profit margin, not their bottom line. The rental market soared here and is coming back down; things got ridiculous in the fall when one bedroom apartments were over a thousand dollars a month.
I have reason to believe my landlord will be reluctant to renew my lease another year, meaning, reluctant to take the Section 8 again, even though I can pay a little more in rent than I have in the past.
Nothing is certain, stable, or guaranteed in the world of disability and poverty.
But every country has a mandate to take care of its elderly and disabled. This has nothing to do with the deficit. It has to do with the mandate an elected government has to look after its own.
I would like to bring Mitch McConnell out of his psychosis I would like him to spend a day with me and trade lives for a few hours. Let him make the best of a bad accident, mobility loss, the inability to walk more than twenty feet without sitting down. The inability to go where one pleases, for fear of curbs, no parking. Let him contend with agoraphobia, insomnia, grueling arthritis and equally grueling depression.
And, let him see what many of us do who are fortunate enough to have these benefits. We don’t sit around zoning out in front of the tv. We try to contribute to our communities. We volunteer at the hospital or the senior center. We babysit, we tutor, we make things, volunteer in schools and thrift stores.
Some of us even write or paint.
And many of us lost an arm or leg and worse in one of the wars. Would you take away the “entitlements” of our veterans?
The elephant in the living room the Republicans don’t want to talk about is how much it costs to keep a war going. The biggest drain on the economy is the war.
That’s a fact, a verifiable fact.
We should all be vigilant, fine-tune our bullshit detectors for the duration. Negotiation? Compromise? What I believe vs. what you believe?
Never in a million years, shall the twain meet, no matter how cunning the lingo and re-manufacture of the truth.