Article first published as Indictment of the American People on Technorati.
The 2010 midterm election is more an indictment on the American people than the politicians of either party.
The Democrats spent the last 22 months trying to save our nation from the ravages of Republican rule. They made mistakes along the way, but everything they did was a move toward helping and protecting average Americans. Meanwhile, instead of helping to create jobs and restore the economy, the Republicans did everything possible to force extended suffering for their political advantage — tragically, the American people have rewarded them for their treachery.
Way to go America!
For the record, President Obama and the 111th Congress inherited the worst American economic collapse since the Great Depression. The average American household had lost a quarter of their wealth, $13 trillion in all. The Dow would close at a low of 6,547, with stocks overall dropping from a high of $22 trillion to $9 trillion. Job loss was at 3 million for 2008, and the economy was still shedding more at a rate of over 600,000 per month.
The first action the new Congress took was to stop the hemorrhaging with the federal Stimulus. Split between $228 billion in tax cuts for 95% of Americans, $224 billion in funding to help the unemployed and prop up Medicaid, and $275 billion for direct investment in job creating infrastructure, energy and technology projects, the legislation passed the House without a single Republican vote.
The very same Republicans who had voted in favor of spending $700 billion to bailout Wall Street bankers just three months prior, suddenly became budget conscious and adopted intransigent positions against spending to help average Americans. Republican leaders, including John Boehner and Eric Cantor, rallied to the aid of Wall Street but dug in their heels and fought against helping Main Street.
In retrospect, it’s obvious that the writing was already on the wall the moment that President Obama took office. The initial action of a Republican minority to oppose the Stimulus grew into unrelenting opposition to any form of legislation that would help the American people, impede the unfettered profiteering of Wall Street, or slow the offshoring of jobs.
While the Democrats continued striving to keep the average American’s nose above water, the Republicans did everything they could to make sure they kept choking.
Democrats attempted to address the issue of more than 45 million Americans without healthcare insurance. And instead of working to ensure that any legislation was effective, instead of embracing reform to deal with skyrocketing costs, the Republicans blocked all attempts without compromise. They fought to maintain the profits of healthcare insurers and Big Pharma and instead of helping to govern, seized the opportunity for political advantage with fear-mongering sound bites about the “government takeover” of medical services, death panels and the coming of Armageddon. All incidentally complete lies!
The Democrats later attempted to pass Wall Street reform to prevent a future round of too-big-to-fail collapse and bailout. The Republican response was to meet with the Wall Street bankers and plan their strategic opposition. The bill passed the House, again without a single Republican vote, but it was in diluted form in order to gain any minority support in the Senate.
For 22 months, the Republicans fought every action taken to create jobs. They opposed legislation to address the rising costs of education. They attempted to block Democratic efforts to close tax loopholes and stop the bleeding of jobs overseas. They fought against repairing our infrastructure, against small business aid, against unemployment insurance, against saving the jobs of teachers, nurses and firefighters. They argued against the President’s attempts to hold BP responsible for destroying the ecosystem of the Gulf and blocked efforts to increase their liability limits. They battled against climate legislation, clashed on the issue of gays in the military, and resisted all attempts to require disclosure of campaign funding sources They even opposed legislation to lend aid to 9/11 first responders and stood against extending the Bush tax cuts unless the extension included the richest 2%.
The bottom line is that the Republicans did everything they could, from gross distortion to outright lying, from uncompromising rhetoric to unprecedented filibuster to stop any form of legislation that might improve the lot of average Americans. Their aim was to make things as bad as they possibly could for the American people in order to leverage their misery for political gain — and they were rewarded for it.
Manipulated to feed the source of their exploitation, the American electorate deserves an indictment for societal insanity. But there’s no sense in convening a jury, because all evidence points to the conclusion that the defendant is already brain dead. This is a sad day for America.