Republicans today are cartoon villains – posing a serious threat to the health and safety of the United States
Today’s hottest Republicans almost look like cartoon villains: they are obvious in their ploys, exaggerated in their evil, sociopathic, and anti-social group, and mean for sheer glee. Yet they are still able to imagine themselves as noble and misunderstood victims. Donald Trump, the acknowledged master of cartoon villainy, has become a model of such behavior for the entire Republican Party.
Consider how Republicans reacted to President Biden’s speech to Congress last week: It provided a national stage for their cartoonish villainy.
During his speech, Joe Biden said lead – and by implication other harmful materials – should be removed from the country’s drinking water. This position is hardly controversial and should have nothing to do with “liberal” or “conservative” political views. But Republicans as a group sat in silence, largely refusing to applaud such a basic and common sense proposal. Lead poisoned water shortens life and can lead to developmental delays in children, as well as other emotional and psychological illnesses. Environmental pollution is deadly: Scientists estimate that air pollution alone probably kills at least 200,000 people in the United States each year.
Biden also condemned gun violence and mass shootings. Biden also advocated for common sense gun laws – laws supported by a majority of Americans, including a large proportion of gun owners – to help alleviate the scourge of gun violence in the country, which is believed to have killed at least 38,000 Americans in 2019. Gun violence is estimated to cost the US economy at least $ 229 billion each year. Republicans again sat in silence and refused to applaud.
Biden advocated for expanding access to health care and other social protection programs. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, such programs are essential to help save lives and mitigate the economic and social devastation caused by what we must hope to be a once in a generation event. Additionally, expanding access to healthcare saves lives by helping to mitigate risk factors such as pre-existing conditions that facilitate the spread and lethality of diseases such as COVID-19.
Again, Republicans – well, I hardly need to say this – have shown little to no enthusiasm.
In one of the greatest crimes in recent human history, the Trump regime and nearly all of the Republican Party have engaged in acts of criminal negligence in refusing to respond properly to the coronavirus pandemic. Their actions presumably led to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans who might otherwise be alive today.
During his speech, Joe Biden also presented an ambitious plan to tackle child poverty, subsidize child care and early childhood education, and provide two years of free university education. Such policies have long been advocated by a wide range of experts because they would boost the economy, improve wealth and income inequality across the color line, improve life chances and improve upward intergenerational mobility. In addition, these policies are likely to pay off in the long term; they represent an investment in the future of the country.
Again, Republicans have largely sat in brooding silence.
Biden also summarized the successes of the American Rescue Plan, saying that if current trends continue, child poverty will be reduced by nearly 50% in America. The vast majority of Republicans did not applaud the prospect of fewer children being forced to grow up in poverty.
Such behavior by elected members of Congress was immature and childish. But don’t let this obscure a basic fact: Today’s Republican Party may be made up of cartoon villains, but it makes its policies no less dangerous to the American people and the world.
It is a fact, not an opinion, that the policies advocated and adopted by the Republican Party cause more illness, death, shortened lives, and overall human suffering here in the United States than democratic policies – flawed as they are. surely are.
It can easily be shown that Trump’s Republican Party today uses pain as a type of political currency and an instrument of power.
Chris Hedges’ most recent essay – published first in ScheerPost and then in Salon – details the larger relationship between sadism, politics, and America’s struggling culture and society:
Sadism now defines almost all cultural, social, and political experiences in the United States. He speaks in the greed of an oligarchic elite who saw their wealth increase during the $ 1.1 trillion pandemic as the country suffered the largest increase in its poverty rate in more than 50 years. He speaks in extrajudicial executions by police in cities like Minneapolis. It is expressed in our complicity in Israel’s massacre of unarmed Palestinians, the humanitarian crisis engendered by the war in Yemen and our reigns of terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. This is expressed in torture in our prisons and black sites. It is expressed in the separation of children from their undocumented parents, where they are held as if they were dogs in a kennel.
Later in the essay, Hedges returns to this theme:
Historian Johan Huizinga, writing about the twilight of the Middle Ages, argued that when things crumble sadism is seen as a way to deal with the hostility of an indifferent universe. No longer tied to a common goal, a torn society retreats into self-worship. He celebrates, as Wall Street businesses or mass culture do through reality TV shows, the classic traits of psychopaths: superficial charm, grandiosity and self-importance; a need for constant stimulation; a penchant for lies, deception and manipulation; and the inability of remorse or guilt. Get what you can, as fast as you can, before someone else gets it. Such is the state of nature, the “war of all against all” that Thomas Hobbes saw as the consequence of social collapse, a world in which life becomes “lonely, poor, wicked, brutal and short”. And this sadism, as Friedrich Nietzsche understood, feeds a perverse and sadistic pleasure.
Almost at the right time, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Tuesday that he would suspend all local COVID-19 public health emergency orders, turning Florida (like other red states) into a bedroom of incubation for the coronavirus.
Today’s Republican Party is a cartoonish political organization. It is also a death cult and a serious threat to the public health of all Americans. It is an enigma but not a contradiction. His opponents must understand that both sides of the coin are equally dangerous.