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Where Have all the Family Values Gone?

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Recent items in the news demonstrate the fact that conservatives have completely dropped any semblance of promoting real family values. Today it's all about corporate interests at the expense of the well-being of the majority of Americans. Consider:

Once again, the highest-ranking executives, whose policies were a major factor in the economic meltdown, are receiving even more money than they did in the good times, when they were already robbing the piggy banks blind. Not surprisingly, the income of the bottom 90% of the population--that's all the rest of us--has shrunk in the last ten years.

During the last decade, tax rates have been at an historic low. That means only a few extra dollars for low-income taxpayers, while families in the middle class get to keep a few hundred to maybe a couple of thousand extra tax dollars per year. But for the highest earners, lower tax rates net them hundreds of thousands and even millions more dollars per year than they would have paid back in the 1990s.

Even before the economy began to tank in the late 2000s, governments at all levels, from the feds to the smallest communities, made up revenue losses from lower taxes and higher defense spending by cutting services, especially those that help the neediest citizens get by. In spite of this discrepancy, House Republicans insist they can balance the budget by cutting more services. On the other hand, raising taxes for the highest earners and corporations is completely "off the table."

Among government services the GOP wants to axe our Medicare and Medicaid, decades-old programs which provide medical services for seniors, disabled people, and the poor. They also want to limit the growth of alternative-energy programs and oppose laws that would protect the health and well-being of ordinary citizens from abusive business practices.

Republicans seem determined to absolve corporate responsibility for damage done to the environment and people's health and well-being resulting from illegal waste dumping, injuries due to lax safety practices, and failure to fully fund insurance and retirement plans. Other right-wing policies show a complete lack of consideration for the rights of members of most minorities.

They're against policies supporting women's health, marriage rights, and other protections. Their immigration policies often paint the majority of Hispanics with the same "illegal alien" brush. And they oppose same-sex marriage, gay and lesbian adoption, and employment and housing protections for gays and lesbians.

Overall, to members of the right-wing, corporations are sacrosanct while human lives, at least those of the poor and middle class, are totally expendable.

When I was young, the major complaint about this country's traditional two-party system was that we couldn't tell the difference between Democrats and Republicans. That's because the art of compromise prevailed in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. During the middle years of the 20th century, members of both parties were known to cross the aisle, confer with one another on favored bills, and even have a drink together after grueling legislative sessions.

It's no accident that during that time, civil rights we now take for granted were enshrined in law, many for the first time in human history. Members of the working class were given legal assurances that they could rely on benefits promised by their employers. It wasn't a perfect world, but compared to the current slippery slope that's leading us back to the 19th century, people were beginning to understand what was meant by the "era of good feeling."

What lessons are we to take away from the current situation? We must understand that progress is usually measured in inches rather than miles. Rather than demanding perfection from the human being who wins the office of president, we should stand by the person who's willing to struggle with the rest of us for the long haul. We should understand that even the most gifted leader can only work on so many things at once, so a priority list is a necessity.

As for the current situation, it's past time for impatient left-wing Obama-bashers to grow up and smell the accomplishments of the past couple of years. Otherwise, we could all be talking about President Trump and Vice President Palin. Or it could possibly turn out to be vicey-versey.


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Debbie Jordan is the author of The World I Imagine: A creative manual for ending poverty and building peace, a collection of 47 essays originating in the column she writes for the Arizona City Independent Edition. Jordan writes about her solutions (more...)
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Where Have all the Family Values Gone?

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