Delenda Est Carthago

Why not delve into a twisted mind? Thoughts on the world, history, politics, entertainment, comics, and why all shall call me master!

Location: Mesa, Arizona, United States

I plan on being the supreme dictator of the country, if not the world. Therefore, you might want to stay on my good side. Just a hint: ABBA rules!


If you lack values, don't worry - the government is here to tell you what's good for you

Remember the days when Republicans could honestly say they wanted smaller government? Good times. Liberals are probably looking back on those days with fondness, because Republicans who believe in less government are far better than those who believe in running your lives, which our current crop of Republicans wants to do. Look at it this way: Democrats want to take all your money and give it to welfare cheats, right? Grrrr, that angries up the blood! Republicans, however, want to spy on you in your own home and throw you in jail if you don't do what they say. Which is the lesser of two evils? However you answer, that's your party affiliation! It's sad that we define ourselves by negatives these days.

The latest attempt by our paternalistic Congress to tell us what's good for us is a comprehensive package of legislation known as the "American Values Agenda." What a fine title! Everyone loves America, right! And everyone loves values, right? So nobody can object to this, right?

Krys first read about this in Wednesday's newspaper and ranted about it for a while. The story is about the legislation both sides are using to spur voters into action, so it includes stuff by the Democrats that conservatives might find offensive. But the Democratic stuff dealt with, I don't know, less contentious issues, I suppose. The vote on minimum wage. You can argue economics all you want, but the minimum wage is not something that, if Republicans vote against it, Democrats will say they're going to hell. Another piece of Democratic legislation was about allowing federal officials to negotiate directly with pharmaceutical companies on drug prices, hopefully driving down Medicare costs. Again, something we can disagree about, but something that actually has a tangible purpose. I don't mean to lionize the Democrats, but those two pieces of legislation make sense. They deal with the running of the country. I suppose the Republic, a relatively conservative paper, could be going all liberal on us and not telling us about the crazy Democratic legislation about forcing all women to get abortions (because that's what they really want), but I doubt it. So, I'm sure the Republicans have all sorts of legislation about the nuts and bolts of running the country, right?

Yeah, okay. It's called the "American Values Agenda," people. As long as we're forcing everyone to have good values, the rest will take care of itself. Don't you know that? So, what's on the Republican agenda?

The usual suspects: a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, a prohibition on human cloning, votes on tax cuts - all those things that make Republicans grin creepily. There's some other stuff, too, which is a bit more creepy. First, the Republicans want to strip the Supreme Court and other federal courts of jurisdiction over cases challenging the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance. Wow, that will take care of the problems in the country! I'm sure all those old-timers who can't afford drugs won't care because they can still say "under God" in the Pledge! Listen, I think that atheist dude who sued to get the "under God" out of the Pledge is an idiot. If you're an atheist, it doesn't really matter if you say "under God" or not - you don't believe it anyway! But, as usual, the Republicans are making a mountain out of a molehill. Or creating a tempest in a teacup, even. If you take this away from the Supreme Court, whose only function is determining the constitutionality of things, you might as well get rid of the Supreme Court. Wait a minute ... nah, Republicans couldn't want that, could they?

Moving on, the Republicans want to block the payment of attorney fees in challenges to the display of the Ten Commandments in public areas and other, similar church-state lawsuits. This frightens me even more than the first one. Well, maybe just as much. Simply put, if you object to a the state using your tax money to erect a monument to a religion you may not believe in on land that is technically "yours" (public land belongs to all of us, doesn't it?), you won't be able to sue, because no attorney will take the case because they won't get paid. In other words, the Republicans want to destroy free enterprise, which they have always lauded, and establish a theocracy. Does that sound paranoid? I didn't come up with this bill.

There's a measure about informing women seeking an abortion that the baby will feel pain, as well as one that would prohibit the confiscation of legal firearms during national emergencies, in response to events during Katrina. The first one - well, the abortion thing is old hat, and every time the Republicans try something like this, I think they galvanize the pro-choice people a little more. The firearms thing is fine, too - let them keep their guns, because we know the local, state, and federal governments aren't going to do anything to help. I still find it ironic that the only amendment the Republicans have enshrined as holy writ is the second. That's weird.

The quotes by the Republican leaders are worth checking out, too. Dennis Hastert, everyone's favorite House Speaker, said:

Radical courts have attempted to gut our religious freedom and redefine the value system on which America was built. We hope to restore some of those basic values through passing this legislative agenda and renewing our country's commitment to faith, freedom and life.

In other words, we don't need the Supreme Court! Don't worry, though, we'll have a group of good Protestant evangelical Christians to decide what's right and wrong, based purely on their interpretation of the Bible. That's never caused any problems in the past when it's been tried, right?

Meanwhile, Roy Blunt of Missouri said:

Family, faith, patriotism and hard work bind us together as Americans. Our laws should reflect those priorities, and House Republicans are committed to the American Values Agenda, policies that stress the core values on which our nation was built.

No mention of making sure that faith doesn't overwhelm sober law-making, which is also something that binds us together as Americans. Again, who needs new laws when we have a nice, 2000-year-old book written for a foreign culture in a foreign language, the original of which we don't have and which has been altered thousands of times in its history? Laws? Pah!

It's not that I think these things will pass, because I have a feeling the Republicans have overstepped their bounds a bit and are Icarusing toward the sea these days. I do wish some Democrats would stand up and call them out, but that's neither here nor there. The problem with this is that I can't imagine "normal" conservatives, the ones who actually believe that less government interference will lead to more freedom, aren't rebelling more. It has become increasingly clear that this Administration and Congress are far more concerned with extending their own power into every aspects of our lives than with effectively governing the country. This kind of thing never lasts, because despots always get toppled, and here in the U.S. we tolerate this sort of thing even less, but before it happens, a lot of people could get hurt. I look forward to the elections in November because even if the mealy-mouthed wishy-washy Democrats take back either the House or the Senate (probably not both), at least then we would restore some balance to the proceedings. A government frozen by inactivity is better than one that decides to dominate everything in your life.

If you do a Google search on "American Values Agenda" you can find a lot more. It's fun, I guess, for the Republicans to deliberately try to divide the country. Fine governing, that.

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Blogger Roxy said...

Brain: Provided by The Man for your Protection.

Don't worry America - you don't have to think anymore! (fear, terror) We're here to shelter you, to provide you with health care and fair living wages. Don't worry about your grandparents who are spending over a thousand dollars of their retirement every month for health care. (evildoers) Don't worry that your parents, who own their own business, spend nearly two thousand dollars a month on the crappiest health care you've ever seen. (freedom, terror) If you have an emergency, we'll take care of you! That's why we have FEMA! (WMD)

Just surrender to the loving grip of our wonderful democracy. You voted for Freedom (to invade countries for oil so you can drive your precious 10 mpg automobiles) and that's why our troops (and the thousands of innocents that remain faceless over seas) are dying!

all superpowers eventually fall...

2/7/06 3:00 PM  
Blogger john sweet said...

Republicans... Democrats... it's why I've been looking into the Libertarians. "Why vote for a sure loser," you ask. Well, it seems to me that any way we vote these days we get a sure loser.


3/7/06 4:07 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

John - the biggest problem I have with the Libertarians is that no government intervention one way or another means that the haves continue to be haves and the have-nots get pushed even further down. I like Libertarian philosophies in the same way I like anarchic philosophies - as something to admire while admitting it could never work in the real world. What we really need is for more viable parties - Libertarian or whatever - because it's obvious the Big Two aren't getting it done.

3/7/06 5:35 PM  

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