Both Sides Do It My Ass

This is the narrative coming out of the Pope’s visit to Congress.  That we just need to listen to each other and solve the great crises that face us.  A talking head on MSNBC was interviewing presidential candidate George Pataki (3-term Republican Governor NY) about the Popes speech to Congress and both agreed that it was a warning to both sides and that both are the problem.  It is the lie that will fix nothing and let Republican dysfunction continue.  And it will continue until we start to point fingers. Let me just give you a summary in the near term:

  • Who refuses to do anything about climate change because they deny it exists or deny we can change anything?
  • Who refused to vote on a bipartisan immigration bill from the Senate that would have started to fix our immigration system?
  • Who wants to build a giant wall and round up all brown people?
  • Who wants to shut down the government to defund Planned Parenthood, when the funding is from Medicaid and shutting down the government won’t defund it, the funding in question has nothing to do with abortions but health care for millions of women, and the basis of their complaints is fraudulent?
  • Who wants to remove the Dodd-Frank limitations that were agreed to after the financial melt down?
  • Who thinks we should not extend the debt limit although they already authorized the spending, so in fact are simply defaulting on money we already spent?
  • Who thinks we can just get tough and cut off dialogue with Cuba, Iran, Russia, and Syria and get our way?  Did not the Pope say we need more dialogue, not more sabre rattling?
  • Who has moved to defund Medicaid and Food Stamps when the primary users of food stamps are the elderly and children?
  • Who wants to move Medicare to a voucher system that will mean less funding to take care of our aging population?
  • Whose economic theory of trickle down is the root cause of economic inequality?
  • Who wants to cut Social Security, one of the most popular and effective programs to prevent poverty in old age (I ought to know)?
  • Who has voted almost 50 times to overturn Obamacare and put about 15 million people on the streets without healthcare?  And they have no plan to replace it?
  • Who continues to block a livable minimum wage and equal pay for equal work for women?
  • Who wants to use government to deny gay rights and prevent women from controlling their own bodies?
  • Who has demanded an austerity program in government spending when our infrastructure is falling apart?
  • Who says no to just about every policy choice we have, yet has no plan to replace them?
  • Who keeps passing bills that have no chance of going into law to make partisan points with their base?

If you do not know the answer to the above, you are an idiot who deserves the government you have. Both sides do it my ass.  We are at a standstill with a dysfunctional federal government not because both sides won’t work with each other, but because one side, Republicans have blocked any reasonable compromise.  What we have seen over the Obama years is that Republicans view compromise as Democrats doing what Republicans demand.  Ask yourself why when the American public favors many of the above programs, can’t Republicans vote for them?  The both sides do it narrative is preventing us from seeing the real problem and doing something about it, and our press is complicit in this lie to “maintain access” for interviews.  Maybe the Pope should have added a section in his speech about moral courage for our media.

The very definition of conservative means not moving forward but standing pat with the status quo.  The Pope’s agenda was decidedly liberal because liberals don’t blame the poor, they want to help them.  Liberals empathize with their fellow man, there by the grace of God, go I.  Conservatives believe if you are disadvantaged, you are lazy and need to work harder.  Somehow they deserve their poverty. Liberals see immigrants as people wanting to improve their and their family’s lot, not a whole lot different than the rest of us.  Conservatives see immigrants as taking their jobs (that’s a laugh) or stealing their tax dollar.  Liberals see global warming as a dire threat to our future, and conservatives see any proposed solution as a detriment to their  business interests.  Who again is the problem?

While the Pope doesn’t have everything right (women’s in the church, women’s right to choose, gay rights), he got most of it right and decidedly liberal.  Claiming that both sides are the problem and they need to work together is a nice homily if we want to change nothing.  Recognizing that we are all in this together is a significant shift away from Republican politics and toward progressive values.  The only thing holding us back are Republicans who we will have to drag kicking and screaming into the present.

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