On Monday I talked the babies, Nancy and Michelle, to sleep by explaining what’s at stake in the 2012 elections. I then apologized to Mrs. Squirrel. Much to my surprise, she was delighted. “The babies needed to go to sleep anyway,” she said, “and it was nice to understand why you’re so passionate about your research in 21st Century Political Nuttitude.”
Even Regis chimed in agreement, saying that listening to my rant helped him relax for the first time since he auditioned and was cast for a lead role in BPI’s spring theatre production of The Gardener’s Lament. “Everything felt normal again,” he said.
“Thanks, I think,” I replied.
This morning the babies were running Mrs. Squirrel ragged again. They can already scamper up and down our tree and love to run around the
hot tub faculty lounge squirrel bath, so Mrs. Squirrel has to watch them like a hawk to protect them from actual hawks, who also watch them like hawks but for entirely different reasons. So I called the girls up into the tree and explained that there’s even more at stake in 2012.
Take human rights, for example. This year, Republicans in Congress and in state legislatures across the country have waged an all-out war on women’s rights. It got so bad here in Florida that a state legislator repeated his wife’s joke that she should “incorporate her uterus” so the state government would stop trying to regulate it … and they chastised him for using the word “uterus.” A Georgia legislator proposed a bill to make abortion a death penalty offense, and require criminal investigations for all miscarriages.. And Republicans in Mississippi proposed a life-begins-at-fertilization amendment that would have criminalized the most common forms of birth control.
It’s not just women. Republicans tried to block the repeal of the military’s Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy, and were outraged that President Obama has said his administration will not defend the anti-LGBT Defense of Marriage Act. Republican voters booed a gay soldier who asked a question at a GOP presidential candidates debate. Then-frontrunner Rick Perry told a Liberty University audience that he believes the U.S. should be run by “Christian Values” – as he interprets them. And a Nebraska pastor endorsed Republican Ron Paul because he hopes Paul’s libertarian ideology will clear the way for a Christian takeover of state governments, including the death penalty for LGBTs.
Then there’s the ongoing tragedy of the commons. That is a long-recognized economic concept that says people will use up and wear out environmental and infrastructure resources until they collapse, unless government makes rules and collects taxes to maintain those resources. Yet Republicans want to abolish the Environmental Protection Agency and block any effort to curb global climate change. Many even deny climate change is a legitimate issue, although Mitt Romney disagreed, until he agreed. I think. It’s hard to keep track.
Add Ohio Governor John Kasich saying that oil and gas fracking shouldn’t be stopped because of a “byproduct” – that would be earthquakes – and it’s hard to see Republicans caring whether our grandchildren have an earth left at all.
As for infrastructure, Gov. Kasich and other Republicans blocked efforts to create more energy-efficient high speed rail, as well as President Obama’s American Jobs Act that would have rebuilt roads, bridges, and airports, all to protect millionaires from a small tax increase. Their presidential candidates won’t even answer questions about infrastructure. Well, except for the Keystone XL pipeline. Republicans are for that, if it will damage President Obama. Maybe they think infrastructure is only okay if it threatens to poison the freshwater supply for the entire Midwest. Like a negative karma koan or something.
Well, by that time the babies were asleep again. That’s okay. They’re babies. They’ll have their own political battles to fight when they’re adults, assuming we don’t ruin things for them first. And that’s why I’m going to stay busy this year.
Good day and good nuts.