What if we said yes to Republicans?Published 8:37am Friday, September 21, 2012
Column: Notes from Home
Editor’s note: Last week, David Behling bashed Democrats. This week he takes on Republicans.
Let’s say that the Republicans make a clean sweep this November – Romney in the White House and Republican majorities in House and Senate – and receive a mandate to govern the way they want to. What would America look like under Republican rule?
Unlike progressives, Republicans see government as a negative. For example, if Republicans ruled Albert Lea, after a big storm blew down trees and branches, city residents would be on their own to clean it up, taking time off work to do it themselves or hiring someone to do it for them. Government wouldn’t have gotten involved because property owners need to take responsibility for what happens on their property and shouldn’t expect taxpayers to bail them out.
Oh, wait a minute. That’s exactly what happened.
Anyway, at the federal level, government agencies, if they aren’t abolished altogether by Republicans, would reduce their regulatory fingerprints and probably switch to promoting government-business alliances when it came to food and consumer product safety. The union-busting tactics of Republican governors make it pretty clear that the federal government would be on the side of taxpayers and employers — the job creators — not with workers (including the ones who also pay taxes).
The richest Americans would benefit the most under Republican rule. No surprise there. But letting the rich take control of America is not necessarily a bad thing. In at least one important way it would make us all more honest: most members of Congress are already millionaires anyway. We’ve been letting the rich make decisions for us for a long time.
Under Republican guidance, and with their hands on both the levers of government and in control of corporations and industry, the richest Americans may be better positioned to make the hard decisions about deficits and entitlements that the rest of us find so difficult. They might also be able to get the American economy expanding again, with the benefits of employment — albeit at lower salaries — trickling down to those in the lower classes.
Republicans won’t shred the safety net of government programs, but more of the federal safety net will probably be outsourced to states and faith-based organizations (which would mean Christian).
Health care will return to the hands of private insurers and consumers, with decisions about coverage made by corporate managers instead of civil servants. Turning decision-making over to individuals will probably mean the freedom to again go uninsured, perhaps even the necessity to go without if costs continue to increase.
What’s going to be difficult for many Americans to live with — moderates included — is that unlike the hands off policies in economics and job security, Republicans will be invading privacy on a regular basis when it comes to social issues. The values of conservative Christianity will guide policy and laws that will govern the choices and rights of all Americans, regardless of their beliefs about God.
Civil and legal rights within marriages and families? Limited to “traditional” heterosexual married couples. Contraception? Restricted and more expensive. Abortion? Not available, probably even when rape is involved or where the life of the mother is endangered because of the pregnancy.
I’ll echo what others have said much more eloquently: Republicans are the radicals in this election. They want to change a lot of the things about government that Americans have gotten used to in the last 80 years. With a yes to the Republicans, the America that would emerge will be different than the one we grew up with, perhaps more like the America of the late 19th century, only with computers and automatic weapons.
Ironically, if you are someone who admires the Confederate States of America (without the slavery), you are more likely to enjoy the changes the Republicans would bring to the United States. If you believe in the kind of America that has evolved since the 1930s, you probably won’t.
David Rask Behling teaches at Waldorf College in Forest City, Iowa, and lives with his wife and children in Albert Lea.