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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/1/17

The Republican Party's Sickness of the Soul

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Message Richard (RJ) Eskow
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There's a sickness on the land. You know the facts: millions of Americans lives in poverty. The number of Americans in the workforce remains low. Wages are stagnating and inequality is growing. "Deaths of despair" from alcoholism, opioid overdose, and suicide are on the rise.

But it's not just the inequality, or the poverty, or the despair, that wounds us. It's the fact that so many Republican leaders and voters find ways to justify living with these injustices, and are now making them worse.

There's no polite way to say it: they suffer from a sickness of the soul.

That kind of talk upsets the delicate feelings of conservatives like Tucker Carlson, who recently complained about

the unreasonableness" (the) assumption -- and it's held by a lot of people I live around -- that you're on God's side " and by calling them names you're doing the Lord's work. I just don't think that's admirable, and I'm not impressed by that.

With apologies to Tucker and other conservative snowflakes: when your party is calling for the starvation and mistreatment of large groups of people, it's reasonable to describe you in less than flattering terms.

Sometimes people look at the cruelties in Republican policies and ask, "How can these people live with themselves?" Here's how: by telling elaborate lies and fictions so you don't have to face the cruelty and consequences of your own deeds every time you look in the mirror.

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It's also one way to win elections. It's easier to blame the victims of your policies for their misery than it is to tell voters you just don't give a damn about them.

To Hell With Kids

If we judge them by their actions, Republicans and their donors don't give a damn about kids. One in five American children lives in poverty. But House Republicans are now trying to "reform" a free school breakfast program -- by reducing the number of children who would get free meals.

Sick kids would suffer under the Trump budget, which slashes $3.4 billion from the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) -- nearly 20 percent of its funding.

School days at most Oklahoma schools have been cut from five days a week to four, the result of repeated budget cuts by the Republican legislature. The Republican governor called the development "hard for students," but didn't ask for a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for education.

In Kansas, where schools were already reeling from years of budget cuts, Republican legislators nevertheless tried to balance the budget this year by cutting $128 million from education. A GOP leader said he "would prefer not to think of it as punishment. I would prefer to think of it as we have a monumental challenge in front of us and that's what we need to be focused on."

The "challenge" he had in mind was not the education of Kansas schoolchildren. He's "focused on" finding a way to balance the budget while preserving huge Republican tax cuts for the rich.

To Hell With the Disabled

They don't give a damn about the disabled, either.

Applying for Social Security disability benefits is a rigorous process. The waiting period for people seeking a hearing is now nearly a year and a half, thanks to past Republican budget cuts, and more than 1 million people are waiting to have their appeals heard. They include a Missouri woman with debilitating brain tumors who has been waiting for a decision for more than four years. Even the dying are kept waiting -- sometimes until it's too late -- like this Chicago woman, whose friends are raising money for her online.

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Richard (RJ) Eskow is a former executive with experience in health care, benefits, and risk management, finance, and information technology. Richard worked for AIG and other insurance, risk management, and financial organizations. He was also a (more...)
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