The Trouble with Republicans
by Fred E. Foldvary, Senior Editor
The Republican Party of the USA has now selected its candidates for president and vice president. They have given rousing speeches, and now the voters should carefully analyze the substance of their proposed policies.
The main problem with the Republicans is that they have two contradictory goals. They seek to prevent governmental interference with private enterprise and individual liberty, but they also as conservatives seek to uphold traditional morality. Where these goals conflict, liberty gives way to conservative values. The Republican rhetoric about freedom thus becomes empty, bombastic propaganda.
A hot topic in this election is equal rights for homosexuals. Married couples have tax, inheritance, and other exemptions and liberties that non-married couples lack. Domestic partnership laws that give a homosexual pairage rights equal to marriage would reduce government burdens to the couple. They would be less restricted and in some cases less taxed. But conservative morality regards homosexuality as bad, so Republicans oppose removing taxes and restrictions on gays.
Traditionally and by the U.S. Constitution, the states have been responsible for family and criminal law. Small-government conservativism should oppose the centralization of power into the federal government, yet Republicans wish to intrude on state law with a Constitutional amendment on marriage. If they wish to keep marriage as the traditional union of a male and female, they should pursue this on the state level rather than expand the role of the federal government.
The President claims to be a compassionate conservative, but where is the compassion in denying suffering cancer victims medical marijuana? The Republican opposition to legalizing medical marijuana constitutes a denial of individual freedom and intrudes into criminal law that is Constitutionally reserved for the states. It shows cruelty rather than compassion.
Republicans chant that 'freedom is on the march,' but they increased restrictions on what radio programs can say, with greatly increased penalties that have chilled free expression on broadcast radio and television. Some Republicans now want to extend this unconstitutional restriction of speech to cable television and satellite radio.
Republicans claim to honor the U.S. Constitution, but Republican presidents have started wars without the Constitutionally required declaration of war by Congress. Republicans have also expanded the role of the federal government in education and medical services. They claim to want people to have control of their lives, yet they have centralized more power in the federal government, which reduces the power of parents, workers, and entrepreneurs over their lives.
The President and his Republican supporters claim they seek freedom and democracy in Iraq. But instead of holding local elections that would provide Iraqis with true sovereignty, the U.S.-led coalition gave power to exiles. The U.S. occupation restricted freedom of the press and imposed taxes on the incomes of workers. Iraqis have endured continuing occupation with no real democracy and continuing violence and insecurity.
Republicans cheer that the U.S. invasion of Iraq has helped make the U.S. and the world safer. They claim that it is better to fight terrorism over there than here at home. This is an absurd proposition. Having troops in Iraq did not prevent the terrorist attack in Spain. The boast that the Republican administration has kept the U.S. safe is very dangerous. It tempts the terrorists to attack just to show that America is not safe, and that attracting terrorists to Iraq does not prevent them from also attacking the US. For the safety of the country, the President and his supporters should cease boasting that their policies keep the U.S. safer. Stop saying that!
If Republicans mean it when they chant, 'freedom is on the march,' they must legalize medical marijuana and let homosexuals have equal legal rights. They should repeal federal restrictions on the content of radio programs. But they won't, because the enforcement of traditional values has a higher priority for them than liberty.
Republicans claim to want to reduce poverty with opportunity zones in low-income neighborhoods. But if development grants bring in enterprise and raise incomes, landlords would raise the rentals. The federal subsidy would go to the landowners, not the workers. Wages would be no higher in these zones, because there are plenty of workers outside willing to work at the prevailing wage level. Most folks do not realize that such zones are really rental-increasing landowner-subsidy zones, because they don't see the economic cat.
The prime issue for Americans today is the threat of a terrorist attack, and the response by government is on spending ever more billions to build huge data bases where government snooping is recorded and processed. Yes it is good to inspect cargo that enters the country and have defensive capabilities, but all this just treats the effects and does not eliminate the cause.
To eliminate the threat of foreign terrorist attacks, the U.S. needs to change its foreign policy. Bring home all U.S. troops in foreign countries and stop interfering in other countries' affairs. Then the terrorists would have no more reason to attack the United States. US policy does not excuse or justify the terror, but it is the cause of it.
Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats seek to make the fundamental changes necessary to make the U.S. safer and more prosperous. Neither party truly respects the U.S. Constitution and the American heritage of liberty. Fortunately, U.S. voters have the choice of voting for several of the non-establishment political parties. So, I say, vote for the minor party of your choice. Because if you vote for one of the two establishment parties, you vote to perpetuate the policies that have led the U.S. to the brink of destruction.
-- Fred Foldvary
Copyright 2004 by Fred E. Foldvary. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system, without giving full credit to Fred Foldvary and The Progress Report.
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