Saturday :: Apr 29, 2006

Government Is Not Supposed To Work For You Or Me


by Mary

As Digby noted, Avedon Carol gets right to the point of what is the current GOP governing philosophy: Government is not supposed to work for the average American.

Bush, like most Republicans, has no interest in actually making government work. Government is a means by which our money is collected and handed over to corporations and cronies. That's all. It's not supposed to work.

...We can still get the story if we dig deep enough in the papers, but you won't see the front page telling us that the purpose of this administration is to eliminate any competence in government to serve the public. No, let's just make sure the EPA doesn't do it's job so Republicans can say, "See? Government can't do anything! You pay taxes for this and you don't get it!" After which they can safely eliminate the programs without lowering your taxes. Eventually, the programs will be gone and you won't be hearing all that anti-tax rhetoric anymore - it will be patriotic to pay taxes, again.

In the meantime, they'll demand that we fork over huge amounts of money in the name of national security (or "fighting terror", she laughed bitterly), while making sure that any measure that would actually protect our security is round-filed. I mean, it's not like we should worry about nuclear materials being illegally imported into our country, undetected, by people whose purposes are not friendly to our citizens.

So first you wreck the program, then you claim its failures are the result of the fact that "government programs don't work" - relying on amnesia about the fact that it worked just fine before they started "fixing" it - and then they decide we need to abolish it rather than putting it back the way it was when it used to work.

Americans have finally decided that they don't like Mr. Bush, but they've been so screwed around during the past five years that they've become extremely cynical about government. Right after the 2004 election when I reflected on what happened, I realized that much of the problem was the cynicism that I heard when I talked to people. As I wrote then:

It is also important to recognize that the way that the hard right Republicans gained their control of Congress and the White House was by a long termed campaign designed to undermine people’s confidence in their government and in Democrats who believe that government can be a force of good for people. Certainly since the time of Ronald Reagan, the Republican mantra has been “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” The Republicans and the right wing media have spent much of the past twenty years using propaganda to first make the word “liberal” a dirty word and now they are doing the same to Democrats.

This campaign has been very effective. One of my coworkers told me that both parties were out to scam the middle class Americans so why even bother to vote? Another woman who voted for Bush said that she didn’t believe that Kerry could fix the problems in our country because no politician could fight against the factors that cause the problems. And furthermore, because no politician can really fix the problems, Bush was not to blame for any of the worsening problems due to his policies. What this shows is that the Republicans benefit from a growing cynicism about our government, while Democrats need people to believe that it is possible to make government work for them.

Even now, with all the evidence that Bush's administration has been a disaster, people I talk with have become more cynical. They can't even imagine that we could use government to solve some of our problems such as fixing the health insurance crisis. They are convinced that government is fatally broken because of those who have bought and paid for our politicians will never give up their hold on things. And it is this cynicism that we have to counter if we want to have a chance to fix the problems we face today.

Mary :: 1:06 PM :: Comments (15) :: TrackBack (0) :: Digg It!