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On choosing friends, lovers and associates

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By a made-from-whole-cloth example, let's first get down to basics; definitions and logic.

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Two candidates are running for office, and only two issues separate them. Candidate B holds that as baseball has long been the established "National Pastime," he is running on the promise to establish a fund that would enable less economically advantaged citizens to go to at least one professional baseball game a year. Candidate F is just as zealous, but on behalf of the National Football League. And being so, he wants any funding of the sort B is running on to be for NFL games, not baseball.

Would it not be 100 percent logically accurate to then extrapolate to the suggestion that those who vote for Candidate B are baseball fans, and that those who vote for F are football fans? Of course it is. Who a voter votes for is an indication of how that voter feels about the candidates he or she votes for, and, by extrapolation, the issues held by the candidate. Or, what other logical conclusion can be drawn?

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So far we've nothing to get upset about. The issues were baseball versus football. No one's life is placed in peril, regardless. Hopefully, we're all together here, so far; at least insofar as the logical relationship between how one votes and the connection to that voter's basic social orientations.

Let's now make this dicey. No more Mr. Nice Guy.

I have an acquaintance -- an acquaintance only, not a friend -- whose 40-something son has a heart condition so potentially fatal that he truly cannot work, has been adjudged as totally disabled for Social Security purposes, and is therefore receiving Social Security disability income. I also have a 61-year old sister who is so wrapped in physical pain that neither can she work, and has also been receiving Social Security disability income. According to every standard of reasonable probability, were it not for the fact the acquaintance's son and my sister are both receiving Social Security income, it's within the realm of conjecture the very living and breathing existence of both would be seriously imperiled.

It's also interesting to observe that the partner of the son's mother and one of my sister's best friends are Republican voters. Neither the son's mother nor my sister feel the slightest measure of inconsistency or contradiction concerning their respective allegiances.
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Just for the record: As a U.S. Army veteran (June 22, 1964 June 21, 1967; RA 16 805 398), I'm receiving full VA medical benefits.

On March 20, 2003, President George W. Bush began the military invasion of Iraq. Throughout his presidency, beginning with the first tax cut that disproportionately benefited multimillionaires and billionaires, the top two percent of Americans, both George Bush and his Republican congress and senate, cut and continued to cut medical benefits for military veterans by billions, and to underfund the protective vehicle shields that led directly to the wholly avoidable deaths and maiming of our soldiers and marines! ( http://www.awolbush.com/ )

How else can it be read than that those voting GOP in 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2008 supported those heinous, absolutely shameful policies? How else can it be read than that those so voting in those elections felt: "Screw the uniformed fools who stepped forward to serve the country"? And how else can it be read than that those who retained friendships with those who so voted did not also agree with the sentiments expressed by the Republican voters? What other logical conclusions can be drawn?

But now we're upon another election.

I want to bring one op-ed article and one cable news program into the discussion. Both reinforce the other. The op-ed is Paul Krugman's "Downhill With the GOP." (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/24/opinion/24krugman.html?th&emc=th ) Through it, Krugman points out how the Republican end-game is as it has ever been: to either do completely away with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, or to put them entirely in the hands of the private sector. Or, as Sharron Angle, the Nevada GOP candidate for the US Senate says, to "personalize" them through the private voucher system.

The GOP is not and never has been, at least since Hoover, interested in a balanced budget or the elimination of the national debt. It tripled under Reagan! And doubled under Bush 43! The Republicans, rather, are intent on drowning the government in a bathtub, to borrow imagery from Grover Norquist. The extension of the Bush tax cuts, including the cuts for millionaires and billionaires, they extoll (See "Pledge to America"; http://pledge.gop.gov/ ) would make the national debt $3.7 TRILLION deeper! And only by eliminating the government completely could that hole get filled. Think about the desirability of that the next time you board an airplane, or eat some eggs, or spinach, or anything. Salmonella anyone?

NO! What such a debt would -- not might, would -- require is the total dismantling of the country's entire safety net. No more Social Security. No more Medicare. No more Medicaid. No more federal educational assistance. No more repair of federal highways. No more national parks. No more diplomatic wiggle-room in defense. Which brings me to the cable news program: Rachel Maddow's September 23 broadcast. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/ns/msnbc_tv-rachel_maddow_show/#39336386 ) Pay particular attention after the 1:25 mark for the videos of the Republican House leadership and Republican House and Senate candidates expressing their positions on these issues, as well as their desire to privatize VA medical care. YES! That is correct: they also want to privatize VA medical care! They say so!

But of course, none of that privatization of Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the VA would ever pass . . . right? They tried it. They failed . . . miserably, right? Under Bush, right?

But the government under Bush and the GOP wasn't completely broke at the time, remember? Now, add $3.7 TRILLION to the debt; the sum that would be heaped on by extending the tax cuts to the wealthiest of the wealthy. Something's gotta go. Guess what it would be.

Let us now return to the logical conclusion in the argument above: The vote one casts is a reflection of how one feels. Those voting Republican must be in some accord with the positions taken by the Republican Party. I've outlined the most outrageous, and have provided attribution backing the outlines.

If, therefore, an associate or partner says via his or her vote that he or she doesn't care whether you or yours lives or dies, or lives in destitution or dies slowly and miserably, why on earth would you maintain the relationship? Where is the outrage? Why is there none? Absolutely: No one has the merest obligation to tell another how one votes. In the same breath, however, each of us has an equivalent right to know how those we would otherwise associate ourselves with feel on matters that impact us intimately.

It was conservatives and Republicans following long established Republican orthodoxy that thrust the country into the depths of the sewer in which we're struggling to pull ourselves from now. Every word from them promises not merely more of the same, every word uttered by members of the Republican Party is a promise for worse, much, much worse. Read Krugman. View the Maddow video. Then, if you've any GOP-voting associates, ask yourself why you continue to validate what can never be made valid.

 

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An "Old Army Vet" and liberal, qua liberal, with a passion for open inquiry in a neverending quest for truth unpoisoned by religious superstitions. Per Voltaire: "He who can lead you to believe an absurdity can lead you to commit an atrocity."

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