- Views & Opinions
“The sky is falling.”
That’s the tone of disaster that dominated the second GOP presidential candidates’ debate on CNN. In a spate of fear mongering that would have made Josef Goebbels blush, each candidate expressed alarm about the imminent dangers threatening the United States.
The candidates railed about the hordes of Mexicans invading from the south and the “lunatic” leader of North Korea threatening nuclear war. They were apoplectic about the U.S. Supreme Court trampling Christians and their religious freedom by legalizing same-sex marriage, as well as the baby haters at Planned Parenthood supposedly selling body parts for profit.
Reality check: Abortion and teen pregnancy rates in the United States are at their lowest levels in 40 years. That is largely due to Planned Parenthood, whose primary services of family planning — sex education and birth control — are available to millions without judgment and regardless of ability to pay.
Planned Parenthood has been federally funded for decades because it provides an important public service. The federal funds it receives cannot be used for abortions. Fetal tissue cannot be sold. De-funding Planned Parenthood now will result in tremendous costs, both financial and human, in the future.
Seeing danger everywhere, the GOP candidates demanded an increased Pentagon budget, which is currently bloated at $600 billion. At a recent congressional hearing, the Pentagon revealed it spent a half billion dollars training Syrian fighters to oppose ISIS, a program that resulted in only five effective fighters. If you google “F-35 fighter jet problems,” you’ll see how our government is wasting $1 trillion on that boondoggle. The answer to our defense is not spending more money but spending money more effectively.
The GOPers insisted that we tear up our nuclear agreement with Iran and refuse to hold any meetings with Vladimir Putin. But Putin has leverage with the Syrian president that could help to resolve the Middle East conflict and even Ronald Reagan knew it made sense to talk with opponents like Brezhnev and Gorbachev.
The candidates attacked the Affordable Care Act, which has enabled 17 million citizens to obtain health insurance, and they made reckless, unsupportable comments about childhood vaccines causing autism. Can you imagine them overseeing public health?
They said taxes and government regulations (except those on women’s uteruses) are oppressing the American people. Global warming is a liberal plot. And emissions standards and other environmental protections cannot be allowed to interfere with American business.
That last argument was voiced as California was suffering from record wildfires, Texas from continuing drought and Asia from massive floods. The one existential crisis we are actually facing was denied by all the GOP candidates!
I get it. When you’re in opposition, you have to make things look bleak. The world of Barack Obama needs to be a dangerous, scary place from which Republicans promise to rescue us. The GOP, with the 24/7 help of right-wing media, is doing a good job of making the United States seem like a failed, chaotic state with the government — not the racists or the super-rich, or even ISIS — as the most menacing villains.
The Republicans’ extremism and “my way or the highway” divisiveness faces a big test with the budget face-off over Planned Parenthood. It’s not just a war between Congress and Obama, it’s a war for women’s autonomy and for the future.
Will we be governed by reason and compromise or by fear, lies and ultimatums?
Please, contact your representative and senator to make your voice heard.