Killing Hope: A Fable

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Remember Obama’s campaign slogan in 2008? Hope and Change? The GOP seems to have embraced change – calling for apocalypse – but hope? Unless you’re one of the elect 144,000 who God will come home, you’re out of luck. They’re in the business of killing hope, not building it.

Shakesville has this quote:

“We just passed a bill—$1.2 trillion in cuts. If it were about reducing the deficit, the statement has been made about seriousness to do that. This isn’t about that. This isn’t about reducing the deficit; it’s about destroying the public space. It’s about destroying federal involvement in education, clean air, clean water, food safety, public safety. You name it, they’re there to diminish it, destroy it.”—House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, on the goal of her Republican colleagues in Congress. (Melissa links to a petition to demand revenue increases and jobs creation be ‘on the table’ at the supercommittee.

It’s intentional. It’s GOP policy to destroy hope. Why? When the people lose hope, the party that is ‘out of power’ wins elections. But the GOP has forgotten one small detail. The US people don’t really see them as ‘out of power’. We see them as controlling both houses of Congress, for all intents and purposes (thanks to the filibuster, the Senate is crippled) and the Supreme Court. Only the President is a Democrat, and his fetish for ‘compromise’ clearly cripples him in this environment.

The voters in the US aren’t always astute enough to pick up on intentional sabotage, though. Clearly, the economic policies of the last thirty years have been supported on the backs of economic illiteracy and disinformation (that means lies, for those who don’t like big words) from the ‘free market’ gurus. The rhetoric of incompetent government has the not unintentional secondary effect of killing hope in democratic solutions.

Something’s happening now, though. People who have voted Republican their whole lives, who pride themselves on their ‘fiscal conservatism’, are seeing the practical effects of GOP policies and realizing that the real fiscal conservatives in Congress are the Democrats, and are crossing the aisle.

And the social conservatives? Those who ‘cling to their Gods and guns’? They’re beginning to realize that Obama isn’t after their (our) guns, and are beginning to understand that the core Christian values of compassion and love for one another are better embodied by the Democratic party, and they’re crossing the line too. Their fellow evangelicals who have always seen the ‘sugar coated satan sandwich’ of GOP policies are welcoming them with open arms (thank you again, Congressman Cleaver, for that gem).

You know what gives you away, GOP? It’s the glee. The twirling mustaches, the hands rubbing together, the cackling laughter. The classic villain mistake in all the B flicks. You have the hero tied up, the train is coming, all is lost, but you just can’t help yourself, you have to talk about what you’ve done, brag to your victim of his coming doom. Brag about killing hope.

But you’re not paying attention behind you. That guy who was walking down the road, minding his own business, on the way to his job or his home? He overhears you talking, and maybe he doesn’t  understand everything you’re saying, but he understands that his cousin who is a quadriplegic can no longer have home health visit him and now must live in a nursing home and give up his part time job.

He understands that his sister’s unemployment benefits were just cut off, and he’s fielded dozens or hundreds of calls from her about her frantic job search, so he knows she’s not ‘lazy and unmotivated’ like you say.

His daughter wants to go to college, but financial aid has been cut, and he’s terrified of letting her go into the military because he does contract work at the local VA and he sees what a catastrophe the wars and the VA budget cuts have left behind.

He sees people whizzing by in Mercedes and BMWs, and he sees that high end stores are doing a booming business, so when you keep talking about ‘shared sacrifice’ he’s beginning to wonder if he’s the sacrifice and the ‘shared’ part is the forks and the barbeque sauce the rich are passing around.

He has long been skeptical of ‘socialized medicine’, but its been in the news so much he’s read up on it, and he’s really not seeing the downside anymore, after doing the research.

So there you are, with our hero Hope tied to the train tracks, the train bearing down, and this guy, this ‘average Joe’ who couldn’t give two shits about politics hears you bragging about how you’re taking him down, ‘reducing government to the size of a bathtub and drowning it’, and suddenly you’re on the ground, Hope has been pulled off the train tracks and released from his bonds, and the train passes by harmlessly, the engineer waving out the window.

With Hope released, Joe continues down the road to his home or his work, and leaves you to your mustache twirling and hand rubbing. Hope gives you the side eye and dares you to try again. Your hands move nervously to your sides and your mustache droops as you realize that Hope is not going to go anywhere, is not going to die, is, in fact, in such contempt of you that he leaves you there without retaliating and hitches a ride into the future as you stare aimlessly into the future with your pain and rage and fear burning a hole in your guts and killing you from the inside out.

You see the future, and with Hope in it, there is no room for you. You can either change, and give up your rage and fear, embracing Hope, or you can sit by the side of the traintracks and pray for God to choose you as one of the select few who will be called to his side. It’s your choice. What do you do?

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