Letter to the Editor (Oct. 16, 2012)

Dear Editor,

In a wretched display of what passes for political discourse for some people these days, a t-shirt on recently on display outside the Alpine Republican Party headquarters portrayed a caricature of our President clutching a golf club and stomping on the U.S. Constitution and the American flag.

Of course when your national party’s record includes starting two unpaid wars, a huge tax cut for the richest Americans, turning our country into a surveillance state, favoring Wall Street bankers over Main Street taxpayers, starting “the Great Recession”, causing the first ever downgrade in our nation’s credit rating, and making opposition and gridlock in congress a priority even for measures that rescue economically battered American families, distracting voters by making fun of your opponent is probably an appealing strategy.

Like a corporation selling a defective product, this party relies on voter suppression and a high dollar advertising campaign to persuade voters that our country is “on the wrong track”, but insist that has nothing to do with the above-mentioned laundry list of failures.

This means that our local Republican Party can’t be honest about how a Romney/Ryan presidency would affect our regional economy. Food Stamps, VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, college loans, and federal assistance to cities, counties, states and universities are all slated for cuts under Paul Ryan’s budget blueprint. These programs support our neighbors throughout the Big Bend, but also have a direct multiplier effect when spent in our local communities. Cutting these options of last resort during difficult economic times makes even less sense than the notion that it is somehow virtuous to repeal the law that finally gives all Americans undeniable, cost-effective health care coverage. (Based on Romney’s plan in Massachusetts, which he bragged about as governor but now seems to hate!)

Anytime a politician asks for your vote but avoids talking about specific plans, you can count on being double crossed once they’re in office. So far Romney has been a “liberal republican” governor, a “conservative” primary candidate, and became a “moderate” for the first debate. He refuses to give details of his major initiatives (or his taxes), but it’s clear that the hard-right wing of the party is in charge, as when they had Romney’s staff “walk back” recent non-committal abortion comments. As for Paul Ryan, if Romney had a heart attack on Inauguration Day, does anyone really think that Ryan is at all ready to be President?

The dirty little secret that the Republican Party is hiding from voters is that they need this term in office to finish rigging our system of laws and regulations in favor of the ultra rich and the party’s corporate and hard-right sponsors. As past is prologue, expect to see familiar faces from the Bush administration under Romney, working to regulate women’s bodies but not Wall Street, packing the Supreme Court with more ultra-conservative, activist judges, sabotaging any premise that supports consumer protection or a healthy environment, including doubling down on fossil fuels, and once again denying objective science in favor of religious influence and corporate profits. Also expect repeal of laws that mandate a fair and safe workplace, and the shredding of the social contract that our parents and grandparents built for us over the last century.

The choice in this election will resonate for generations to come. On the one hand we can continue to be led by the same self-interested, brain-dead white men who can’t see past their profit margins, and who always leave a trail of broken lives in their wake. On the other hand, we can reclaim our nation’s future by voting for an inclusive administration that sees America as a poly-ethnic mix of strivers, who create a more resilient nation by working hard to build good lives and strong families.

A generation of very talented, racially colorblind, tech-savvy young folks is coming up in our country right now. If educated well and turned loose, they will solve many of the problems that are holding us back as a nation and unlock our country’s potential in this new century.

We owe it to them and their kids and grandkids to reject the false promises of a Republican Party overtaken by corporate money and divisive, intolerant ideology, and whose policy priorities damage countless innocent lives.

This is the most important election of our lifetimes. There are no excuses for not voting.

Pete Smyke, Alpine, Texas


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