Participating in local budget discussions, I experienced the same stubborn, irrational stance by ultra-conservatives as President Barack Obama has this week. The Board of County Commissioners has listened to requests asking for the closure of all three public libraries with no consolidation plan-- having no library is an acceptable option in rural Florida for ultra-conservatives. This county has 100,000 citizens, 35% of whom are over 65. They use the libraries but do not speak out about the value of reading and having new books in the libraries. What kind of society do ultra-right wing Republicans seek to create?
Major de-funding of parks & recreation is on the table, with a new plan to charge user fees at sports complexes. Such fees will effectively exclude 35% of local kids living in poverty from these sporting programs.
Property values have decreased by 10%; property taxes will decrease by 10% for most owners. The Tea Party (TP) & anarchistic Libertarians cannot fathom raising the millage enough to fund libraries & parks. The average citizen will pay $100 less in property taxes this year; $6 of that $100 savings will cover the budget for P & R and three libraries. The TP chants "No millage increase!" Is $6 per YEAR (50 cents/month) too much to pay for libraries and parks?
The ultra-conservative Chairperson stated that the librarians have no right to be proud that they offer reading materials not available at retail outlets such as Books a Million. A local newspaper offered the following about the chairpersons' comments on the library :
"There are businesses out there that are struggling," she said, and added it was no wonder that bookstores are folding. Borders and Barnes & Noble have financial problems." ***
A local radio personality called libraries as well as parks and recreation "frills". The radio host and his audience want to keep their $6 -- ideology trumps practicality. For pointing this out, I have been berated consistently, with both moderator and county commissioner tolerating same. The following comments are written after intense interaction with millage idiots:
After speaking out against decimating all that represents civilized society, I know what the President endures first hand. I empathize with the President's frustration because I have had to hold back my own anger in sticking to the facts. The sole response has been disrespect and Republican bullying accompanying a complete denial of the facts.
Should the President remain cool and polite in his anger, or can he be more pointed in his statements? What sound-bite can be developed to repeat over and over that is effective? His speeches and plans require thoughtful attention and response -- the Republican response is to lash out or react by signing pledges and speaking in soundbites.
The current right-wing talking point is that the President keeps "moving the goal post". A simple sports analogy for a political climate that pits individual Americans against each other. The Red and the Blue team are lured into playing a game that nobody ever wins because society loses.
Why didn't the President say that moving the goal post has been the sole Republican tactic since he took office? Why are Republicans allowed to twist reality so that somehow THEY are the victims rather than the President and the American people? Honestly, can the President find someone to create pointed sound-bites for his speeches?!
The only thing that ignorant people understand is force but our President is not a thug. Republican politicians have chosen to become bullies for the Party of "No" this century. In real life, bullies back down when they are pursued and defeated. The time is NOW to go on the offensive with these people. They are not smart and will never understand a nuanced argument. If the President refuses to respond in a fashion that these people understand, and Harry Reid is too soft-spoken, what happened to the fighter in Nancy Pelosi? Or, is there another solution:
The bullying was so terrible against me that others on the thread defended my thoughts and right to post them. Eventually, even some Conservatives came to my aide in subtle ways. What will it take to reach a tipping point for the majority of Americans in their understanding that Republicans are not working in their best interests?
Could the Republican House caucus be called out as members of an anti-government faction -- or at a minimum anarchists?? Is this not the truth about some House Republicans and Blue Dogs? These elected government officials are systematically working to change the role of government. They are willing to risk its destruction and jeopardize most American's economic security in NOT raising the debt ceiling. How is their posture considered anything but anarchistic?
Eventually enough Americans will be aware that we have an anti-government faction sitting in the House of Representatives, but they must be told. I believe we are fast approaching a tipping point but the media and the President have to say just the right things to make it happen.
The local county residents respond by backing down somewhat when called out as the "anti-government faction". Is that too harsh, Joan, when in reality the freshman in the House are threatening to take America down by not raising the debt ceiling?
The local citizenry is living in fear of not receiving their Social Security checks, just as the President noted. Even worse things are happening and are reported on the local level. Suicide is on the rise. People are not spending. Seniors are dying in their sleep or not sleeping at all because they cannot survive without the next SS check.
Holding anarchistic viewpoints should be political suicide for the freshman Republicans. They are willing to gamble that their base can be manipulated by sound-bites and lies because they have a short memory.
Perhaps the President needs to call the Republican bluff and maximize an approach that blames Republicans over and over ad nauseum for the fact that seniors are living in fear thanks to this Republican anti-government stance? These "public servants" are being paid to undermine the economic security of those least able to withstand it? Why is THAT fact off the table as a talking point?
Joan, you have Chris Matthews' ear. Is there anything more you can do or say? Perhaps ask your host to be even more pointed in his criticism of the House Republicans and Eric Cantor -- that is Chris Matthews specialty! Thanks!
All the Best,
*** There is neither a Borders or a Barnes and Noble within 45 miles of Highlands County.