Apparently the next two years will be spent arguing about whether investing is the new word for spending. Republicans seem to think they can make all our economic problems disappear by cutting taxes and programs and that tax-code revisions should, for some unfathomable reason, be "revenue neutral." That mindset guarantees there will be no progress in solving our national dilemma and no comity in our legislative bodies.
At the State of the Union speech the president chose to go easy or ignore several contentious issues, but he stuck to his progressive guns by bringing up the subjects of high-speed rail travel and fast broad-based, internet access. But investing in advanced technologies and expanding our educational horizons struck no responsive chord among Republicans; Speaker Boehner's demeanor clouded over at the mere mention of such things. The great irrational premise that cutting and dismembering program after program has gained credence among people who have no original thoughts and no vision for America in the 21st Century. Of course we can't be the world's most prodigious spendthrift but neither can we afford to turn our backs on the future by planting our feet firmly in the quicksand of yesterday's failed policies.
How often has the mantra of lower taxes and smaller government been pounded home by conservatives of all stripes? But what does that actually mean for the future of the country even if it were possible to achieve those goals in any efficient or timely way? There's always some smug pitchman serving up the same tired old drivel whether it's Grover Norquist, William Kristol, CBS leftover Bernie Goldberg, or new semi-pundits like Freedom Works president Matt Kibbe with his absurd facial whiskering. But all the earnest smooth talk lacks the logical foundation needed to effect real change. In fact far from disarming, their dulcet tones leave an uneasy sense that we're about to be had again.
There's something positively frightening about the factually bereft pronouncements right-wing pols make as a matter of course. How is it possible that we have nurtured a population so in needy in terms of proper educational foundations, so shallow in its understanding of our national heritage and the basic values inherent in our institutions? The fact that a Michele Bachmann is capable of raising large sums of money to support a loony-tunes approach to national politics and the world is one of the more alarming aspects of today's political discourse. Do her followers accept without reservation the preposterous comments she set forth in her State of the Union rebuttal?
Is it possible that her audience is so dangerously unenlightened as to believe her assertion that the founding fathers "worked tirelessly" to end slavery? For someone who uses the original Tea Party protest against "taxation without representation" in a totally different context for a latter day political purpose and then aggressively rewrites history again to make a point about racial equality is almost too bizarre to contemplate. That her supporters and some news organizations provide even a moment's consideration to such ignorance is a disheartening commentary on the state of our union's educational bathos. It is stunning that someone with so little to offer has the effrontery to offer her opinions in counterpoint to the president's but Bachmann is apparently uninformed by the lessons of our past, dispensing with historical fact, the civil rights movement and the human foibles of those who went before us.
We are once again deluged by ignorance and insulted by the least able among us. If ever there were a time to rise up and make our voices heard that time is now. How about a giant movement to assert the rights of intelligent humans who work tirelessly without guns or propaganda to re-establish honesty and decency in our body politic, to say nothing of something resembling intellectual authenticity?