Writings and observations

Where’s the outrage?

rainey BARRETT
RAINEY

 
Second
Thoughts

Anyone who doesn’t believe the U.S. Congress – and more than a handful of states – aren’t screwing us over big-time isn’t paying attention. From student loans to national defense to control of our own health decisions – we’re being politically raped.

Taxes are being shifted to the least able to pay – personal rights are being attacked as never before in our times – anti-abortion Republicans are acting like safecrackers in the night – legislatures are running amok creating and passing bills with no prior public notice – Congress has turned its back on our repeated requests for action on dozens of issues we want solved – politicians at both levels are acting with a “voter-be-damned” attitude because they’ve perverted election districts to assure themselves near-lifetime job security.

No one – no one- can argue with these statements. Proof is overwhelming. Much of the congressional and legislative system is unresponsive to the electorate. And yet – something’s not happening. There’s no significant outrage. Anywhere. No one’s taking to the streets in numbers large enough to affect change. Recall petitions aren’t circulating by the hundreds. Few new faces are coming forward to challenge the bad guys – and bad women. Tens of millions of people are being hurt – some severely – and yet – silence.

Though I’ve been silent, too – stewing about this for many months – the North Carolina legislature finally sent me screaming over the edge this week. Late at night – with absolutely no advance notice – even to Democrats in the same legislative body – NC Republicans attached another Draconian anti-abortion rider to a motorcycle safety bill – a motorcycle safety bill – and rammed it though. No notice. No hearing. Not even on the agenda or bill reading calendar. Just whipped it out of the committee chairman’s drawer, slapped it on the table, waived the legal requirements for public notice and public hearings, and shot that sucker into the system. As we used to say, “wham-bam-thank you, Ma’am.”

North Carolina Republicans have used dishonest – and I’d bet illegal – maneuvers before in their handling of legislative matters. But never like this. And never with a subject that is of such deep, personal interest to millions of people in the state. Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan and Texas “lawmakers” have used this same underhanded “bum’s rush” scheme, too. All Republicans. The subjects are always the same: anti-abortion or limiting voting access for minorities. And many of them look you straight in the eye and say, “We’re doing the Lord’s work.” Yeah, if your lord’s name is Vader.

My Republican ancestors would be shocked to witness the type of conduct we’re seeing in the GOP these days. Many Republican friends don’t talk about politics as much as they used to. And I find my challenges to them on these scurrilous dealings getting a far less aggressive response – sometimes no response at all. That’s because – regardless of party – such conduct in public office is not defensible by thinking people. Were it Democrats, Tory’s or Whigs – I’d be just as pissed. You should be, too.

To our everlasting good fortune, Oregon and Washington legislatures have a reasonable balance of the two major parties. And it works. Idaho, alas, is a fiefdom for the elephants. From time to time, legislators there act like royalty dealing with the rabble as they ramrod some piece of partisan B.S. through to the governor’s desk. Democrats – being an endangered species within those borders – can only grimace and wish for better days. But – even there – the Republican heavies haven’t been as deliberately underhanded as their sisters and brothers in the Carolina’s, Ohio, Florida and elsewhere. Yet.

As for the Potomac minions, their legislative sins against the citizenry continue to mount. Probably none so cruel as the sequestration – or maybe it should be called “economic castration.” Literally millions of Americans are being affected – some by loss of housing – some by loss of jobs – some by interminable layoffs – some by not getting to eat regularly – and all of us by a reduction in our military defenses and other government services.

New evidence surfaces daily of the tightening economic noose that exists simply because those who thought up this Frankenstein monster don’t have the guts to mount an honest effort to kill it. An end that could come with one simple piece of legislation. If the founding fathers – the ones our politicians are always quick to praise – had so little care for the country and operated in this manner, we’d all be speaking with a damned British accent.

Given the failures are real – given the tactics in some states have become legislative “hide-the-ball” deception against other legislators and voters – given women have become targets of wrong-headed, sanctimonious zealots masquerading as politicians – given many states are passing obviously unconstitutional prohibitions disenfranchising voters – given what used to be an open political process has now too often become a shell game played by do-gooders under the guise of “Christian” ethics – where is the outrage?

A friend tells me voters are just lying in wait – ready to pounce at the next national election – 2014. I doubt it. History has repeatedly proven off-year elections are low turnout. And a paucity of voters usually bodes well for incumbents – the despicable species that has perpetrated these grievances. They’re almost guaranteed renewal-by-election if history repeats itself.

So – again I ask – where is the outrage? Where is the anger? We are saddled with a congress and several legislatures savaging our rights, attacking our freedoms, ignoring our problems, creating barriers to economic growth and allowing our national defense to suffer because of child-like behavior as they fail to solve our nation’s financial problems.

But – where the Hell is the outrage? What the Hell are you going to do about it? What are WE going to do about it? Well?

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