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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/27/13

Get Out of My Town

Message Veena Trehan
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"Public service". To serve the public. Republicans, you refuse to do that so you're DQed from Congress. Get out of DC. Just go. 
Yeah we heard you. DC is the most messed up bubble of people who don't know what's happening in the "real America". Except that you want to pretend you don't know what's happening in those towns you represent. When was the last time we heard you say something intelligent about helping the poor, sick, or downwardly mobile people in your district? That's right, never. Click your heels, already, and hark to the heartland.
Let's take government that you budget. It does two things: tax and spend. Since almost all of y'all signed Grover Norquist's pledge to block any new taxes, you're unwilling to do half of your job. Another F in your performance review.   And who's that "taxpayer protection pledge" really for: a) your corporate friends paying taxes at a 40-year low, b) the top 1 percent who just sucked up 95 percent of the recovery's income gains, c) those six heirs at Walmart who own as much as the bottom 42 percent in America? Oh, d) all of the above. This while the average family earns less than in 1989. So stop telling your constituents there's no money for their healthcare or retirement unless you're also telling them about that giant money machine you've set up to rob wealth from the 99 percent and give it to the rich and corporations. Reverse Robin Hood, get a job you'll actually do. Juggle, paint, or pack meat  -- we'll pay for the job retraining (unlike you).
I went back to DC, but my city was gone,
There was no aspiration; just a shutdown.
The common good had disappeared; no policy debates.
My city had been taken down, reduced to nihilistic hatred.
Hey ho, way to go, right-wing-o.

(My apologies to the Pretenders)

Then there's that climate that you pretend not to notice is changingA/C addict, it's cost us tens of billions of dollars to pay for 401 - count 'em - recent climate-related natural disasters. Forget the apocalyptic scenarios in the lifetime of those kids you pretend to love; Sandy, Rita, Katrina have already done their damage (so unfair, they should be named after climate deniers). Your solution? Shut down cap and trade and refuse to pass a straightforward carbon tax, thanks to that evil tax pledge. Hot, dangerous, and destabilized? Your plan for the Middle East; your promise to America.
And who the heck is against health care? Not you. We don't see you turning down cushy federal plans or "opting out" of Medicare for your Mom or Grandma. But the people in your district? They get the "unrationalized" "best health care in the world". Fact check, my friend. World Health Organizations ranks our health 38 in the world after  countries like Oman, Iceland, Cyprus and Costa Rica, even though we  pay the most.    Not so exceptional, huh? Yet when Congress adopts YOUR (the Heritage Foundation/Gov. Mitt Romney's) plan, you shut down the federal government and almost crash the world economy. Your Confederate-flag-toting protestor and House Republican leader who said, "I can not even stand to look at [Barack Obama]" really just hate affordable health care, right? Heal your mind and get going.
Congratulations, dipsticks, for basically causing a major terrorist attack and freaking out the world. Imagine Al Qaeda doing $24 billion worth of damage to the USA to prevent a law being implemented to help Americans.    "Bomb those terrorists who hate democracy," you'd say, and do it too.

And have you looked around and noticed the poor people in your towns? Probably not, they aren't schmoozing at those prime rib fundraising dinners (though they might be taping your next speech).    Almost half the country lives in poverty or is low income. More than half the kids in public school are poor; the states above 50 percent are almost all Red States, Repubhead.
Plenty of adults that are struggling too. The majority of jobs that came back after the recession were minimum wage; about 1/3 of those who lost their jobs dropped from mid-wage jobs to low wages. The wealth gap almost doubled between white and blacks during the recession. Many poor workers just get by, thanks to your hated government. In fact, 52 percent of fast food employees rely on federal assistance. So you must be behind a higher minimum wage to cut government spending? No? Or do you want to create a full employment program through green jobs or the something like the Works Progress Administration? Did you read Sasha Abramky's recently published book "The American Way of Poverty" and pull out some policy prescriptions? I see, your plan is to cut Headstart, and the food stamps that are skyrocketing in your districts. Riiiiight.   
As for gun violence. We're worst in the developed world, with about 20 times more firearm related murders than its average. But we can learn, right? Countries like Scotland and Australia had tragic shootings too, then they took action. Instead you backflip into votes that kill gun background checks after your colleague Gabby Giffords and 20 little kids are killed. Tell us again how you're pro-life.
What about regulations? We thought we'd never have to hear your "free market" and "capitalism" rants after the financial banks evaporated $25 trillion from asset prices worldwide, BP trashed the Gulf Coast, and the Big Branch mine collapsed on 29 workers.    Your corporate contributors are looking a lot like our own worst enemies.
And too bad that "democracy" you love to export doesn't start at home: 13 percent of African American males (24 percent in swing-state Florida) are disenfranchised.    But few of you speak up for them or fight the voter ID laws that can keep millions from the polls in search of the "voter fraud" boogeyman.   
Your inspiration must come from a higher source. That God you're best buds with must want kids to starve and people to become homeless, poor, jobless, and sick. Then why does the Pope say, it ain't about living well; it's about caring for the vulnerable, weak, and the environment?
The shutdown may be over but you still have my country's neck under your jackboot, jerk. Let go.
From a kid's book: "Imagination isn't perfect " But imagining being someone else, or the world being something else is the only way in. It is the machine that kills fascists." (John Green's "Paper Towns"). You want to make my city a paper town with no value on the humans you represent. You imagine -- and make real -- a system that takes money from most Americans to fund the hyper-luxurious lifestyles of the rich and the bottom lines of companies.    Fill the public in on your plan, and go home. 
Sayonara, cowboys.
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Veena Trehan is a DC-based journalist and activist. She has written for NPR, Reuters, Bloomberg News, and local papers.
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