By Charles R. Larson
The Republican Congressional agenda is the moral equivalent of terrorism, already responsible for more damage to America than 9/11. Tax cuts, unfunded wars, lax oversight of banks and Wall Street, the massive redistribution of wealth in the country trickling upward (against gravity) from the middle class to the upper class (particularly the super elite)—all these events combined over several decades have done significantly more damage to the United States than the terrorism on 9/11. Even the three thousand plus deaths on that day cannot equal the suicides of traumatized veterans and of the newly poor, the havoc brought to a generation of children living in broken homes, in families where jobs have been lost, and the tens of thousands of people now living in sub-standard housing or on the streets.
And what compassion do Tea Party and Congressional Republicans have for the poor and the struggling or the shrinking middle class? None at all, if recent outbursts of cheers and applause during the Republican debates regarding those who might die because they lack health insurance are an indication of the moral decline of the Republican Party. Their solution to every economic problem in the country? Increase tax cuts for those at the top, slice away at the social services for those at the bottom. Bragging about their Christian piety while attacking Islam for its zealots is not only hypocritical but detrimental to America’s safety net at home while weakening its image abroad. People in the rest of the world—in Europe, Africa, and Asia—cannot understand the recent madness in the United States. You brought this upon yourselves?
It’s not yet too late (though dangerously close) to solve the problems that, left unresolved, will lead to the same social unrest we have seen in the Arab spring countries and other areas of the world. The problems are disturbingly similar: the increasing number of poor, the growing number of young people with a higher education but no jobs or even prospects for employment, the mortgage debacle that will only get worse if left unaddressed. Both parties are at fault, though one has entirely lost its moral compass.
One party of extremists—using the Big Lie to shout down any other position than its own and deciding that the country can be sacrificed in order to bring down Barack Obama—ought to be identified for what it is: fanatical terrorists, armed by hypocrisy, greed, and the absence of compassion.
(Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.)