Eyes Tight Shut
We have friends who love wildlife, the outdoors, travel, fine wine, good books. Yet when they watch a wildlife documentary on television, they turn away from any scenes of animals dying, or fighting, or tracking each other. Even the idea of death is too gruesome to contemplate.
In the United States of America today we have millions of people whose eyes are tightly shut, whose fingers are in their ears, who hum or whistle to keep from hearing other people’s voices and ideas.
In effect, we are finally living in President Jimmy Carter’s world of malaise.
To many, there is good reason to try to ignore the reality of daily US life. It’s far too emotional, stressful, argumentative, violent. Better to concentrate on a world that has already passed, or one that may come to us in the future.
Besides, millions of people are worried only about one thing: how to survive economically in the shadows of our dangerous jungle.
Many, if the Republican Party has its way and manages to shut down the federal government, and then subsequently limit the debt ceiling, will not survive.
Seniors especially are at risk, particularly those of low to meager incomes, who rely monthly on their Social Security checks to keep them afloat. Because among the very first things that would happen in a government shutdown is the cessation of the government mailing, or even drawing, checks to Social Security recipients.
To make matters even worse, all this agony on which the Republicans feed and with which they try to frighten the population, the driving force behind their crusade is against Obamacare, a law that was duly enacted and which, it says, will help millions without health insurance to meet the daily demands of reasonable good health at a price they can afford. Without Obamacare’s mandated assistance to the needy, millions of men and women and children will continue to go to bed each night worrying how to survive the coming day.
We have only two questions (actually we have more than a hundred, but two will do for now) for the Republican House. Does any member have parents or family members who depend on Social Security or may have to in the future? Does no member of the Republican House have relatives or friends who cannot pay for health insurance but who need it desperately?
Don’t Republicans grow old, become ill, sometimes even fail to become millionaires?
The Republican House leadership has ceded its duty to protect its citizens to men and women who want in no way to assist in governing the county sensibly, safely, securely. What these people seem to want is (a) power and (b) a new president.
Both of course are available at election time. We had just such an election a year ago. Alas for the Republican House, they have to wait three more years to undo what the American people said they wanted.
Leading the Republican charge against sanity and good government is a figure from our past, the late Joseph McCarthy. Failing that, according to the man himself, Senator Strom Thurmond.
This is a man who can look a television camera straight in the eye and lie with real urgency and apparent sincerity.
This is a man who has been elected to federal office only once.
This is man who is bright, accomplished, and incredibly lazy, who has no resume full of any kind of accomplishment but a few appointive posts in state government.
This man is no industrial giant. He has, in fact, not yet had to dirty his hands with actual physical toil.
This is a man who has no legislative record behind him, has authored or written no bills, has from his election to this very day seemed to believe that the US is in the same posture that Germany was after World War I – without power, without funds, without leadership.
This is a man who seems to believe that only he, as in Germany of the Thirties, is strong enough to lead his country out of a financial and social morass into the light of international solvency and respect.
(And parenthetically a man whose very allegiance to the US may later be called into some doubt, having been born in a different country altogether.)
We’re not being coy here in identifying this Senator whose name is suddenly so well known for having done absolutely nothing, but now, having raised the flag of desperation, suggests that his colleagues in the House stand firm and finish what he has started.
Ted Cruz knows he cannot win, and we all certainly hope he’s right.
Cruz has managed to become a modern Huey Long.
He wants power and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.
On Fox News night after night he offers viewers bread and circuses rather than real intellectual choices between conservatives and liberals.
He certainly isn’t going to trust people to vote for him any longer. They’ve done that once, and God willing will not do so again.
But he really doesn’t care if they do or not. He’s got five more years to harangue and lie and make himself famous enough to be later hired by Republican partisans of enormous wealth.
Worse, or better he has five years to run for president, to harangue the nation at large for its errors as he sees them, to whittle down food stamps, head-start, increase tax breaks for the wealthy.
But Cruz doesn’t really want to be president. He wants to be Dear Leader, ensconced for life, above criticism and above recall.
He seems to be a man of clear vision and common sense, witness today’s statement that it may take more than the next election to do away with Obamacare. This, after every breath he’s taken for eight months, after every speaking date arranged for this purpose by the Heritage Foundation, he’s folding his tent (for a time) and getting out of the way. This is not only prudent, it’s chicken.
This is a man who in no way wants to improve his country, make it safer or more economically sound. He wants to be a figure from nineteenth century Russian, a Czar, the infallible leader of millions who must obey him or be sent to gulags around the world.
This man is a threat to American democracy. Forget that he went to Princeton and Harvard. Forget that he acted as a clerk to a Supreme Court Justice. Forget that his long string of govenmental appointments has done nothing to help him understand the plights of his fellow citizens.
In Ted Cruz’s mind, he has no fellow citizens.
Which partly explains, once again, why millions have turned their eyes, ears, and hearts away from today’s American problems. A still crumbling economy, a failure of respect in international relations, the collapse of our educational system, the increasing numbers of poor people struggling day to day for stability. They and their families see little but disaster ahead. All they can do is take whatever defensive action their pocket books allow, and pray.
Cruz is completely uninterested in fixing any of these problems. We for our part should be completely uninterested in Ted Cruz.