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Paula Gordon Headshot

Rule AND Ruin

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We're fighting off a killer infestation. Two, actually. The first is in our solarium and threatens the life of a long-suffering plant. The second is the Republican Party, the party of "Just Say No" and "Kill 'Guvmint'," the Party which is afflicting us ALL -- except their paymasters and cronies, that is.

First we noticed "Oly-the-Oleander" drooping. I figured I'd neglected to water it, much like citizens, inattentive to civic and political responsibilities, have permitted Republicans to impose schemes that undermine democracy. Democracy, like a thirsty plant, withers from inattention or abuse.

The problem wasn't water. Almost-invisible bugs were sucking the green life out of my plant. Republicans and their "Tea Party" surrogates are also vampires, shamelessly draining life from our democratic processes on behalf of their monied-masters. We used to talk about an IGMFY (I've Got Mine, Screw You) problem. The challenge has escalated. We're now faced with Republicans and the corporate interests they represent who are the "IGMIWY Gang": "I've Got Mine, I Want Yours."

Granted, "Oly" had a tough year. Atlanta had the snowiest winter in decades and now one of the hottest summers. It's called "global climate change" (about which we will do nothing so long as the' oil, coal, gas, utility, weapons, security and finance-based plutocrats are in charge). The United States' sovereign people, too, have had a tough run -- 40 years of steady decline for the vast majority of us, while the rich (courtesy of "voodoo economics" and the above-named plutocrats) got much richer and corporations ever more powerful. Oly was susceptible to disease. Americans too. Journalist and historian Thomas Frank explained to us why IGMIWY befits only cannibals, and parasites, while trashing the rest of us.

I realized my plant might well be dying. Insidious little scaley things were intent on fattening themselves, utterly indifferent to the reality that they were killing their host. Sound familiar?

Of course, having identified the problem, I went madly to work scraping off the nasty little things. In like measure, we must do what should be obvious: neutralize the political extremists who are intent on sucking the life out of our duly-constituted government and community. Government is our agent, the means by which the (warm blooded, fully natural, NOT-corporate) people of these United States express our will and wisdom ... or our passivity and ignorance.

Bugs are nothing new on plants. And self-serving forces intent on having things their way are nothing new in the United States. Long before the nation was founded, the economics of "slave power" (modified after the Civil War to "debt peonage" -- as Thomas Frank makes clear, a condition to which the entire nation is being degraded) had its way with us.

Like their slave-power antecedents, corporatists and their Republican shills are certain of themselves. They bully their way around Washington. Their Tea Party is an all too familiar variant on Republican's long-time, poisonous, nativist strain easily carbon dated from the "Know Nothing" party that swelled their ranks 150 years ago. At least those hatemongering forerunners of the "Tea Bangers" acknowledged their ignorance. Demonstrably, as Abe Lincoln drew his last breath, the Republican Party became Big Business' infestation of the body politic. Enough!

I've addressed my ailing plant. We can do no less for our ailing polis. The "Just Say No/Kill Government" Republican Party and their sycophants at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce pose historic and genuine threats to our way of life. In 1968, enough once-idealistic people stayed away from the polls to hand Richard Nixon the White House. We can expiate that sin in this vital mid-term election. Elect a Congress willing to work with President Obama. We got him elected against all odds two scant years ago. He can't turn back 40 years of Republicans' usurpation and Democratic passivity if we don't go the rest of the way with him. Now.

My plant's doing a lot better because I did the work required. How do we scrape the "scale" off the our battered Republic? Get out TO vote. Get out THE vote. And while you're at it, tell the truth about Republicans. Tell them to their faces if necessary, though the breath is better invested in those millions of people who believe that the mainstream media is providing a legitimate view of America and, thereby, have lost touch with reality. Do NOT let lies go unchallenged. Their lies are ruining families and friends, threatening the planet, and killing prospects for generations to come. Speak up. Speak out. And turn out!