Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Republican Hypocrites

Don’t you just love the Republicans? Here we have the party of pure selfishness and self-enrichment and every man for himself (they characterize it as self-reliance), the party that gave us the Reagan years of “trickle-down” economics (where just about everything trickled UP), the party that has saddled us and the world with privatization (i.e., the crippling of every government program save corporate welfare), the party that presided over the greatest destruction via neglect of a large American city in history—and they are now preaching the gospel of togetherness, of “Country first,” of “we must devote all our efforts to helping the unfortunate victims of Hurricane Gustav.” Suddenly, all these Gucci-clad conventioneers eager to indulge in caviar and fine wine at fat corporation parties, have found the religion of restraint, of “we’re all in this together.” For it would be unseemly to be seen scarfing up fancy hors d’oeuvres while New Orleanians were once again drowning in their impoverished soup. So nominee McCain announces he might not ever make it to the convention—but rather might have to pipe in his acceptance speech from ground zero, with ‘the people.’ And George W. Bush makes a show of rolling up his shirtsleeves and posing with emergency managers in Texas—allowing all Republicans to breathe a sigh of relief that they won’t, after all, have to pretend to cheer him after he inevitably reminds America of his last hurricane fiasco.

And we, the American public, are supposed to buy it. ‘See,’ we’re supposed to opine, ‘Republicans are big-hearted Americans after all, concerned over their fellow men, and even women. Even dark skinned ones.’ That first storm, that Katrina, was just an aberration. Like Iraq. Like torture. Like the greatest debt in American history.

And who knows, it might work. Just as that other massive hypocrisy of this convention season—the selection of a woman, no less, to be McCain’s vice-presidential running mate—might work to paper over the years of Republican contempt for women’s rights. Why just look—the party of macho really does have its gentler side. And what a feminine side it is, she is. A beauty queen. A gun-toting Alaskan mama. A mother of five—including one she insisted on birthing despite the negative of Down’s Syndrome. A woman who challenges the establishment at the same time she caters to Big Oil, a no-nonsense, pro-life Palin’ woman who isn’t afraid to thumb her nose at environmentalists (much less those over-population fear-mongers), and campaigns for oil drilling in the Anwar wildlife refuge. Wildlife hell, is her motto: I hunt and fish and will have no truck with polar bears as an endangered species. Or, most of all, sex education in the schools. Abstinence is the only teaching we need. Teach your young ones abstinence, and all will be well.

Except, of course, when it’s one of OUR young ones. Isn’t this always the Republican way? It’s always, with Republicans, “You people”—you ghetto people, you welfare moms, you oversexed over-proliferating dark-skinned peoples. But when it comes to “our” people, our good Christian people, why then it’s a different story. We’re human, after all. No one’s perfect, say our preachers. And surely not little 17-year-old Bristol, 5 months pregnant and unmarried, yes, but isn’t she a woman after all? A natural, human woman? Human like us all, after all. And determined to keep the baby. And marry the baby’s father. What’s the problem?

The problem is your bottomless hypocrisy. The problem is your abstinence-only program masquerading as sex education. Which, as your own daughter proves, is no program at all. The problem is that here, in the United States in the 21st Century, we can’t risk a vice-President so retrograde, so out of touch, so hypocritical that she can’t even see a problem when it hits her own family. That’s the problem. The only question being this: can enough Americans summon enough common sense, enough outrage to send this party of hypocrites packing, once and for all?

Lawrence DiStasi

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