In reference to the commentary of Feb. 13: “The battle lines have been drawn,” I immediately thought of a recent show on VPR. The researcher was questioned about changes in the electorate since 2016. It appears that, thanks to the “tea party” right wing of what used to be the GOP, we now have a sizable bloc of voters who just vote against people/party without any regard to platforms or ideas. Like that commentary, they do not point out solutions, nor do they appear to recognize the seriousness of the problems we and our descendants are facing.
Their balance beam of the scale of justice is always heavily weighted toward the status quo. Their horror of limits being placed on inequality, of the consolidation of material, physical and psychic wealth and health for the few not being our society’s goal, always has other names. Fighting against a livable minimum wage (and not “entry level” as claimed) is misguidedly portrayed not as an attempt for Americans to raise families, buy homes, start businesses, spend more back into the economy, have less crime and a stronger nation, but rather as taking away the “freedom” that we find placed under the author’s article-centered name.
Perhaps, I could have my name centered with “commonsense” under it and a footname identifying me as the president and sole member of The Tom Paine Institute. We advocate the policy of tax and spend. Government will receive reports of income, hopefully without all the tax loopholes that allow multi-billion-dollar companies to pay zero taxes, as they do now, nor the lower tax rates for people who shift paper around while producing nothing but low-taxed profits, no massive tax cuts that only consolidate more wealth in a zero sum game, that only make skyrocketing deficits while increasing the buy-back of their own stocks. This government then spends its taxes on defense, security, health care, education, roads, rails and human services. Our nation is healthier, better educated, stronger and better able to compete economically while exerting positive pressure to protect ourselves and our allies — whom we do not desert — and project a sense of democracy and humanitarian values. Big banking conglomerates do not pay millions to executives off of the money being made on our children’s education, leaving them burdened, delaying families and not buying homes. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) dropped the number of uninsured Americans from 46.5 million to 29 million. The number should be zero, as it is in most first-world countries that provide it as a right, as well as affordable drug prices. (A friend just came back from college in Germany. He had to have an emergency appendectomy while there: Transport, ER, surgery, hospitalization, meds, nursing care, labs, radiology — cost him 200 euros. 200.)
Back to the environment. And labels. The writer’s “Green Police State” (try being anything but white male and find yourself at risk of arrest, beating, rape, jail, death or deportation — a nice dog cage if you are a child — that’s a police state), “the Menace of Climate Change,” “social justice” (horrors) or the very idea that people who can understand science and weigh differing opinions and actually care about people today and tomorrow would be “highly energized by its growing outrage over Trump’s unwillingness to even pay lip service to their great cause” — by the 20th of this January, Trump had lied or misled more than 16,000 times. When the investigations started, the president’s own lawyers said he could never testify under oath because he would certainly perjure himself. A poor witness, indeed.
The basic fact is we are experiencing a rapidly accelerating degree of change that will have global effects leading to mass migrations — we know how warmly greeted refugees are, starvation, sickness and warfare along with floods and fires. The will that galvanized a nation during WWII should be called forth now, and yes, we all need to contribute more than delay and obfuscation. The odds of going the other way — a very bad bet.
Michael Meninger lives in Worcester.