lundi, octobre 03, 2005

misPLACED emPHAsis

Before I get to my main topic “Emphasizing the Wrong Things, a Case Study of Republicanism in 21st Century America,” I want to start by saying that as I type this, workers are adding insulation to my house. Mrs. Duf and I had an energy audit last year, and were planning to do this all summer (but wanted to wait until the patio was done). In August we called and got in line, and boy am I glad (whew). The lead insulation guy told me that anyone who calls now is getting scheduled for February. You see, natural gas prices are expected to rise 73% this winter. Curiously, even as consumption goes down, oil company profits are at historic highs.

Two former oilmen are the President and Vice-President:

Rich oilers are reaping record profits.
Middle class folks are queuing up for insulation.
The poor? Well, better buy (er…um…borrow?) a blanket.

I was reading about the Commission on Federal Election Reform today, and I threw up in my mouth a little bit. One of the primary recommendations of the commission is that we have national voter ID cards. So, in response to a need for election reform, the commission is recommending an initiative that serves Republicans in two ways:

First, Republicans are always going on and on about how Democrats are voting more than once (not really an issue); but never going on and on about how people who might vote Democratic are barred/undermined from voting at all. They must have rejected literacy tests as unconstitutional or else I’m sure they would have mentioned it.

Second, everybody knows that the result of adding more bureaucracy to the voting process is to reduce voting among those who are less likely to vote anyway: include among those: immigrants, minorities, and lower-income Americans. Not exactly GOP all stars.

So, when it comes to the Commission on Federal Election Reform, we are emphasizing the wrong thing. Instead of focusing on Florida and Ohio style theft/fraud, and instead of focusing on flat-out racist redistricting in Texas (spearheaded by the now indicted Tom DeLay), we are focusing on adding layers to an already bureaucratic process when we know those layers will have the effect of disenfranchising many underrepresented voters.

They are emphasizing the wrong things:

Just like they did/are doing in Iraq (while Osama runs wild, no WMDs, no imminent threat, no plan to win the peace, no transition plan, new military under-staffed and under-equipped, we’ll be greeted as liberators).

Just like they did/are doing with Supreme Court nominees (where the prevailing criterion seems to be “lack of identifiable record”). I won’t go so far as to say cronyism just yet. Miers seems more qualified than, say, Michael “Brownie” Brown.

Just like they did/are doing with the energy bill (which focused on preserving fossil fuels sources and foreign dependency and big profits for big oil, but did very little in the way of supporting clean/renewable energy).

Just like in the election when we were busy fighting an unjust war and our economy was going in the toilet, and all we could talk about was same-sex marriage.

Do you see the misplaced emphasis?

Just like when they were cutting taxes to Richie Rich while the defecit was reaching new heights.

Just like when they rallied Congress around the health care needs of one person (Terri Shiavo) while the healthcare needs of millions go unmet.

Just like the band of Kansans riding around the state trumpeting a constitutional amendment for tax reform like it's the most pressing need that state has.

Having an election commission recommend adding ID cards to voting, as a way of increasing confidence in voting is just like a having press conference in the wake of Katrina and suggesting that to pay to rebuild devastated areas, we should cut funding to the Medicare drug benefit, farm subsidies and food stamps but leave unscathed tax cuts to wealthiest Americans.

It’s called misplaced emphasis.

Just like when…

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