BY WENDY COOPER ON MAY 7, 2015 NEWS, POLITICS
Republicans need to take responsibility for the rights they hold dear as well as the rights they do not
Fringe groups of the Republican Party are quick to point out the rights afforded to them under the United States Constitution. Freedom of religion and the right to bear arms are two of their favorite topics. Anyone who dares to regulate either one is in for one hell of a fight. Yet the very same group is loath to admit that with any set of rights comes an equally important set of responsibilities.
Every American citizen is born with “rights’ under the Constitution. For example, we have a right to free speech. However, we also have a responsibility not to threaten people or to yell “Fire” in a crowded theater. When choosing to live in any society we are charged with certain expectations to help that society thrive. Yet it is the groups that yell the loudest about their “rights” that in turn are the most selfish about giving back to the country they claim to “love” so much. It is this denial of responsibility that is taking its toll on our country.
No one enjoys paying taxes. However, American corporations and freedom loving Tea Party groups have taken this dislike to the extreme. Who can forget the several days standoff withCliven Bundy, the right-wing nut who refused to pay taxes for his grazing cattle for over twenty years and is estimated to owe the U.S. Taxpayers over $1 million dollars? Rather than pay the tax he issued a call to arms and gun nuts from across the country ran to his side in an effort to fight for his “freedom” to screw the government out of his fair share of taxes.
American corporations in turn are not much better than Bundy when it comes to freeloading. A corporation will go to great lengths to reduce its tax burden to the lowest percentage possible. Corporations such as Boeing and General Electric paid no income tax at all over a five year period. While the average citizen pays anywhere from 5-35% in taxes each year. Meanwhile we struggle with ways to pay for repairs to our crumbling infrastructure and provide decent public school education programs to our youth.
When Obama introduced his signature healthcare plan nearly 47.3 million people lacked health insurance. Nearly 1 in 6 people were forced to declare bankruptcy due to mounting medical costs from a catastrophic illness that left them unable to work. Several years after the passage of “Obamacare” 9 out of 10 Americans now have some form of health insurance. The burden to hospital emergency rooms mandated to treat patients regardless of ability to pay has been greatly reduced.
Yet despite its success the Republican-controlled House has vote to repeal “Obamacare” 56 times to date. The reasons why they are so hell-bent on its repeal are many. Mostly it boils down to the simple formula that government-mandated healthcare amounts to taking from the rich to give to the poor. Even though every advanced country has some form of universal healthcare simply because it’s the right thing to do and it lessens the overall burden to society.
There are 206,072,000 people eligible to vote in America and of that number just 146,311,000 are registered to vote. In a presidential election year just 64% of registered voters turn out to vote. In primary elections the percentage of voters is drastically lower and estimated near 20% or lower. The result of low voter turnout has far reaching consequences for everyone.
Primary election voters decide who will run in general elections and when voter turnout is low special interest, fringe candidates often advance to run against the chosen candidate from the opposing party. In heavily controlled Republican districts, this radical candidate will win easily. It is how candidates like Senator Ted Cruz and Texas Governor Greg Abbott manage to win elections even though both have clearly broken with reality.
Abbott recently convinced himself that the Federal Government was set to take over Texas. He has mobilized the Texas National Guard to “fight” off an invasion meant to seize the guns of law abiding Texans. Abbott’s panic stems from routine exercises performed by military personnel over seven states. Abbott believes that this is a cover by Obama for an invasion staged from Walmarts in Texas that are closed for remodeling. Keep in mind, this is the governor…
Not to get lost in all the nuts, but the bottom line here is voting rights. If Republicans really cared about the people in this country and their so-called rights, you would think they’d be making it easier for people to exercise the most fundamental of rights, the right to vote. It is well understood that Republicans have been doing the opposite with voter ID laws, gerrymandering districts, etc.
It has become clear over the years that the Republican Party isn’t really quick to defend their rights so much as they are quick to defend their own interests. That’s why they are always willing to defend your right to own a gun and preach the gospel, but could care less about your right to an abortion or get married to a member of the same sex.
It is equally clear that the Republican Party has little desire to be responible. Their misguided beliefs in favoring war, the wealthy and trickle down economics has led to enormous deficits, massive income inequality, crumbling infrastructure, and the American corporate oligarchy.
So, when a Republican gets in you face about their rights, be sure to ask them about their responsibilities. I wonder how many will tell you it isn’t their problem. For Republicans and Libertarians, it’s always someone else’s responsibility.