By Lynn Paris
Five Things That Drive Me Crazy
- Tea-party supporters and other conservative Republicans who swallow EVERYTHING that FOX News, Rush and the right-wing bloggers feed them. I admit to reading and enjoying liberal blogs and sometimes watching MSNBC; I even admit to taking great comfort in the fact that there are millions of people out there who view the world the way I do. But, I’m discerning enough to realize when they are skewing the facts, taking something out of context or playing with statistics to make their point. In other words, I don’t believe everything I read just because it’s on a progressive/liberal site or TV show. And I certainly wouldn’t post something on Facebook or tweet out a quote unless I’d fact-checked it a dozen ways.
The right-wingers do that all the time; if they read it on Drudge or hear it on FOX it must be true. Seemingly without hesitation, and certainly without even going to snopes.com to verify that what they’re posting hasn’t already been discredited, they rush to post another distortion or outright lie about Obama – his birthplace, policies, religion, intentions, desires for the country, patriotism. It’s almost as if, even when they can’t possibly believe the comment they’re spreading, it makes them happy just to spread it and hope that the gullible out there accept it. Which they invariably do, without having the slightest idea what they’re talking about or that they’re making total fools of themselves.
- Conservative Republicans who loudly proclaim their Christian values while opposing affordable healthcare, food stamps, increasing the minimum wage and other programs designed to help those who truly need help. I have never understood this reasoning; to me it has always seemed like the ultimate hypocrisy. Where is the compassion, the loving of thy neighbor?
I got some insight into the way a self-avowed “good Christian” looked at it the other day when I was reading through a fascinating 54-post “conversation” among four Facebook “friends.” One was arguing in favor of the Affordable Care Act by pointing out how it would not only help him and his family, but also the millions who had not been able to afford healthcare under the current system.
His friend then let him know that, as a good Christian, he followed the teachings of Jesus and was exceedingly generous with his money, giving to his family, friends, church and to those in need with whom he came in contact . . . he also donated to numerous charities. His point was that he did as Jesus instructed; he gave freely just as all his Christian friends did. He went on to say that he knew Jesus was not in favor of the ACA because Jesus believed in free will, and that to force people to give to others was the antithesis of being a good Christian.
His liberal friend responded that he was glad to have finally met a person who actually knew what Jesus thought about the ACA! However, he didn’t take his response far enough. I would have asked him if he and his Christian friends wanted to give freely to those in need then what was stopping them? How did he account for the millions of hungry children, the homeless, those without healthcare? What about the millions of seniors who depend on Social Security and Medicaid? Don’t any of them have Christian friends? Why weren’t they giving freely to all of them so the government didn’t have to compel people to do good things?
- Pro-lifers who seem only to care about the lives of the unborn. If you believe in the right to life so deeply, shouldn’t that include the lives of children after they are born? Does the compassion stop once the infants and children need some form of government assistance, like food and proper nutrition, to hang on to that life you fought so hard to save? And, for all those who love saving the lives of unborn children, why do you always seem to be the ones who don’t seem to care about saving the lives of victims of gun violence? Or giving those children a chance with programs like Head Start? Or making sure they get good health care? It almost seems as though your responsibility to save lives ends once a child is born. Sadly, in too many cases, if it weren’t for the government many of those children would go hungry; some would die. But the pro-lifers would be too busy closing another Planned Parenthood clinic to care.
- The Affordable Care Website Debacle. Yes, I hate it that the Obama administration and those charged with the design and development of this site messed it up so badly. I know this is technology and technology always has to work out all the bugs and glitches, but that thing should have been beta-tested for months before rolling it out; in fact, major problems were identified quite some time ago. I also know that it is only partly due to technical glitches and too much traffic; the coding and logic of the site architecture are deeply flawed. If it’s any consolation, from what I’ve read, other massive social programs were also plagued with problems when they began. For example, Medicare Part D’s web-based plan finder launched almost a month late and didn’t have the bugs worked out for many months. Nevertheless, by the end of open enrollment 11.5 million people enrolled in what is considered a successful program.
Nevertheless, it makes me crazy that Obama’s signature legislation to provide health insurance to millions of previously uninsured Americans, having withstood at least 34 ludicrous efforts by the right wing to get it repealed and/or defunded, having been voted for by a majority of Americans when Obama won his second term and upheld by the Supreme Court (although stripped of the critical mandated Medicaid expansion to the states) could ultimately face defeat because of a poorly planned and implemented website.
- What drives me crazier than anything else is that our elected officials are not addressing the pressing issues of our time. We face monumentally tough challenges: hunger and homelessness, disgraceful income inequality, the need to find alternative energy sources, extremism, terrorism and threats to our security on multiple fronts, the lack of a highly skilled workforce to meet the demands of the 21st century, an education system that continues to fail so many of our children, a crumbling infrastructure, racism, sexism, . . . the list is endless.
This country should be leading the way, but our legislators are paralyzed. It’s impossible to govern when all you care about is scoring political points with your “base” and winning re-election. It’s crippling to try to fix things when the right has brainwashed everyone into believing we need more austerity and deeper spending cuts, when what we should be doing is investing in our future. We have so badly lost our way in the bitter and divisive battle over political ideologies that no one can get anything of value accomplished. It drives me crazy that the petty, inane posturing by egotistical self-serving politicians like Ted Cruz take center stage for weeks, costing the economy billions of dollars, hurting millions of people and wasting precious time that we could be devoting to trying to find solutions to issues that actually matter. It drives me crazy that we let him get away with that. It should drive us all crazy.
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