BEBE SANTA-WOOD, Political Columnist
At one point, I know that American conservatism was based in real ideology, right? So, at what moment did conservatives become cartoon versions of themselves, like some blown up character from Ayn Rand’s wet dreams? I could point to certain historical factors *COUGHREAGANCOUGH*—but that still leaves us where we are now: stuck in a political system where Republican conservatism has reached dizzying new heights.
On the other hand, one would think the Democrat party would respond in kind—by getting super radical in the other direction. Instead the Democrat party line could be considered moderate at best and Republican-Lite at it’s worst. (In other news, Republican-Lite is my new line of political themed alcoholic beverages. Please keep your eyes peeled for “Santorum Fresh” and “Gingrich Ice” at your local convenience store.)
There are many specific moments where I could say I lost my faith in the American political system and any promises of empathy for citizens. Specifically the fight over Obamacare, the war on women, the continued open racism in our country, the fact that “We Bought a Zoo” happened, the persistent prevalence of Doritos Tacos, etc. Most recently, in Republican Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget that was passed in House, we see the final shreds of empathy within conservatism being completely thrown out the door.
Ryan’s “Path to Prosperity,” effectively ends Medicaid, turning it into a voucher system, cuts welfare programs to nothing, and, in turn, creates bigger tax cuts. These tax cuts would give the top 1 percent over $200,000 and the average middle class family about $130. Cool. That’ll be real helpful. I suppose as a way to get more money, the U.S. government will have to find money in other ways, perhaps selling advertising space on the Washington memorial, get that Dennis “Sexpot” Kucinich to release his own adult films, or make the Obama girls go out and sell cookies and lemonade to end the deficit. I guess Republicans figure that money will just magically appear.
Cutting these programs that already exist on shoestring budgets isn’t benefiting anybody. We live in a culture where social welfare is problematized and demonized, and where those who use it are truly in desperate circumstances. By further demonizing it by trying to get rid of it, we create a culture that not only leaves people out to rot, but forces them to believe it’s their own damn faults that they just can’t get it together. On the other end the tax cuts are essentially rich people high-fiving each other on how awesome it is to be rich. And I’m totally sure that every person who gets that $200,000 back is totally going to use it help the poor. Definitely, because when Republicans support this kind of selfish atmosphere, it has got to lead to kindness and goodwill. But that won’t happen, because it’s pretty much politically and legally valid to be as selfish as we want.