My first-grade teacher at Suthermere Preparatory School in Kingston, Jamaica, read us a poem that illustrates all too accurately what’s going on in American politics today. The story went something like this: five children saw an apple fall from a tree and ran to pick it up. Instead of agreeing to share it, they fought so hard over it that it slipped from their fingers and rolled to the bottom of a hill, where a cow ate it.
It’s too bad nobody read that poem to American politicians. Its message is sorely needed in Washington today.
Viewing the squabbling politicians on TV, the impression I get is that the people who are supposed to represent us in Congress are not just looters – they’re selfish looters. Each one wants it all. And while they fight over the spoils of their election victories, the country drifts toward disaster.
Democrats might share some of the blame, but from where I sit, it’s mostly the Republicans who are responsible for this sorry state of affairs. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell let the cat out of the bag when he said his party’s number-one goal was to make Obama a one-term president.
They failed to do that, of course. But they haven’t stopped trying to tear the president down. McConnell and House Leader John Boehner seem dedicated to one thing, and one thing only, smearing Barack Obama’s name.
They refuse to help him run the country. They use every means possible to block everything he proposes, even when it’s an initiative the Republicans once embraced. And they offer no alternative solutions.
My conclusion is that Republicans don’t give a damn about the country’s future. It seems to me that they care only about feathering their nests and making sure global corporations and the super-rich get whatever they want.
And the things these big shots want most is to keep the rest of us down.
I am amazed that America puts up with the current Congress. Few other countries would. As German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble observed today:
If U.S. welfare standards were introduced in Europe, “we would have revolution, not tomorrow, but on the very same day.”
Yet even the inadequate welfare standards that Americans still have are anathema to Republicans and their rich backers. If there’s one thing they yearn for as much as disgracing Obama, it’s rolling back America’s social safety net.
Meanwhile, the American people tolerate chronic unemployment, especially among minorities and the young, derelict infrastructure, soaring college tuition, and – worst of all – thousands of hungry children. And the stock market booms as the rich get richer.
Speaking at the same Paris conference as the German Finance Minister, Italian Labor minister Enrico Giovannini said:
We have to rescue an entire generation of young people who are scared. We have the best-educated generation and we are putting them on hold. This is not acceptable.
He was referring to Europe, but he could have been talking about America. The whole world is teetering on the brink of depression, brought about by misguided austerity programs.
European politicians apparently recognize the urgency of addressing their problems. In America, it’s all about phony “scandals” and the no-holds-barred fight for political power.