Guest columnist Jonathan A. Wright: All in against Republican project, for Democratic ideals


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Published: 02-09-2024 9:00 PM

Throughout our country, rigged legislative boundaries sponsored by Republicans over recent decades, and now upheld and legitimized by a twisted Supreme Court that does not believe in enforcing voting rights for all, have spawned legislatures with unprecedented power to do what is neither in the spirit of our country’s founding, nor in the interest of any majority within their districts.

The micro minorities are in charge. The Republican office holders across this country have ceded the privilege of participating in democracy. Their Jan. 6 insurrection, described as “discourse,” and the fascist intent of Donald Trump are deeply relevant milestones of this failure and collapse.

Howard Dean — remember him? – railed about Democrats needing a “50 state solution,” and he was both right and largely ignored.

As a party and group, Republicans have stood for dismantling public health, weaponizing disease control and defunding critical research, and have spent 10 years trying to tear down the only national health care system we have ever had, however imperfect it may be.

Years of pollution and disregard for laws, as well as resistance to providing government with adequate enforcement authority, have led to thousands of toxic components in our air, soil, water, food and bloodstreams. By any measure, Americans’ health status worsens slowly and ominously. Maternal health is in decline.

Republicans want to defund the IRS, so that even the richest can hang on to more of their money. What public purpose is served by institutionalizing white-collar crime?

As a party of senators and legislators, with tiny exceptions, and while railing against government “overreach,” they are committed to spreading politics and oppression of rights into the classrooms, curriculums, and standards of public schools. They are focused on degrading public schools further by peeling off revenue for religious schooling, which is a blatant violation of constitutional protections.

In some places, schools are being asked to teach creationism as an alternative science, which it is not. It is a religious point of view. Sponsoring wonder and amazement at our world and universe is good and should lead to expansions of worldviews and curiosity, not teaching dogma as truth.

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Banning books is old and terrifying news. The goal is not to protect children but to prevent stimulating ideas from being part of their education. The goal is to create another generation of docile citizens with little resistance to authority, unaware of the race roots and trajectories in our society, erasing history and ignoring past lessons. The Nazis were expert at this.

The forced march of law enforcement into the physicians’ offices, hospital ERs, and citizens’ bedrooms and homes is an outrage. White Republican men have absolutely no business with or authority over women’s bodies. The outrage of carrying babies to term when the mother is not prepared to care for them is raised to new heights of irony and “anti-life” by the push to defund and underfund public health access.

The health status for Black and brown people in our country starkly reveals that Republican-controlled governmental bodies, to a fault, have focused on making misery and poverty the law of the land.

And the whole lot of them, to a fault, are not conversant in the science of climate change. We have no more slack in the calendar. We cannot allow Republicans to dictate climate policy in this country, ever again.

And fiscal responsibility. It is a joke, right? In this country, nearly 60% of the population struggles because real incomes have not kept pace, and services of all kinds are rationed and squeezed. This not inflation. It is wage suppression. And our government has a tax revenue shortfall issue driven by decades of Reaganomics, which funnels tax cut funds to the wealthy and squeezes everyone else.

No nation in history has tried so hard to ensure poverty, against a backdrop of unprecedented wealth, and to make those in the middle think that the poor are responsible for poverty.

I have heard this described as “capital formation.” That is baloney. If we want money for the major investments we need in public infrastructure and functioning, tax for it and pay for it. There is no track record of tax cuts leading to investment in the public good. There are no Democrats pushing this agenda. This is 100% Republican and dismal failure.

All this is before we even get to presidential candidates. Oh my. Nikki Haley. She looks good against the orange monster. However, for example: “We do have a climate problem, and it’s caused by the Chinese, so we need to make them fix it.” Leadership? Facts? None of the above, except race-baiting. Wake up, friends.

Fundamentally, we need to do everything in our capacity to break up the Republican barricades in government, and make knowledge, science, reproductive freedom, universal quality education, universal health care, child care, parental leave, clean water, affordable housing, retirement dignity, healthy food, and climate resilience the touchstones of our beautiful fragile national experiment.

That assignment includes full-on support for our dignified, well-briefed, honest, politically agile president, Joe Biden. No options, no complaints.

Do not wring hands about the work not yet done. So much has been coursed through agencies and a reluctant Congress, including a nearly miraculous non-recession, the first-ever climate bill and funding, and steadfast resistance to all of the Republican initiatives. And a major infrastructure bill that four years of Republican control in Washington could not muster.

Folks, we need to continue to make our tax structure sustainable and our economy beneficial to all.

Republicans cannot govern because they have no vision. They cannot speak because their message is not viable. All they can muster are quips. They look to the top and they see a quavering monster. They do have lots of money and greed to match. And a story that plays well to people’s grievances.

Stop them. Speak the truth, kindly and often. Work hard, tell the truth, buck up, and vote.

Jonathan A. Wright lives in Northampton.