May 11, 2010

What Lies Beneath? (Posted on Toe in the Water & short-lived DCP blog)

Today I read on the Huffington Post that according to USA TODAY, "Americans paid their lowest level of taxes last year since Harry Truman's presidency." Further, the newspaper reports that while personal income fell 2%, paid taxes dropped 23%, excluding Social Security. While it's true that spending has increased in order to help the country climb out of the recession, it's also true that among those polled by Gallup last month, those who believe taxes are too high are the same taxpayers whose taxes remain "near a 50-year low."

What lies beneath that sort of disconnect? Yesterday a YouTube video posted last September enjoyed a resurgence. The video, which features two candidates for Texas governor who belong to the secessionist movement, seem to advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. government. Indeed, what stuck in my mind as I watched it [again] was hearing Debra Medina announce, in response to shouts of "We hate the United States," that, "We are aware that the tree of freedom is occasionally watered with the blood of tyrants and patriots." Hearing Thomas Jefferson's words come out of this woman's mouth sickened me.

It was my daughter who actually alerted me to the video. She very much objected to the video's title at YouTube - Texas Filled With Insane Christian Republican Terrorists - particularly because the link was provided by one of the the other Dallas Coffee Party Movement admins on our Facebook page, and a core value of the Coffee Party Movement is to eliminate the name-calling that passes for political discourse these days.

I agree that the video's title was unnecessarily incendiary; its contents make the case without resorting to name-calling. That said, those heard on the video are actively shouting their hatred of the United States, bastardized the words of the man who wrote our Declaration of Independence, and by doing so advocated the violent overthrow of our government.

When George Bush took office, the projected 10-year budget surplus he inherited became a deficit that ballooned as a result of tax cuts combined with increased spending, as well as two unfunded wars, one of which was supposed to pay for itself. Interestingly, the same individuals now calling for the blood of tyrants and patriots to water the tree of freedom, were not doing so until Barack Obama was elected president.

It seems to me that the vehemence directed against Obama's "socialist" government grew out of proposed health care reform. In March on my personal blog, I wrote that in the rest of the developed world, citizens share health care while in the U.S. it's something we horde. They see it as a basic human right while we see it as a privilege, even though nearly 2/3 of personal bankruptcies, historically, are a result of medical bills. Could it be that all the money the health care industry spent lobbying Congress and with advertising aimed at the public against reform were successful in convincing the same people who believe their taxes are too high that, as reported in Salon, "healthcare reform helped 'other people' and not themselves"?

I can't help but wonder whether "other" is coded language that feeds into the worst impulses of a certain segment of Americans, perhaps those who preach that "others" don't have "small-town values." Is what lies

If you feel so inclined as to comment, please do so on the Coffee Party Blog...I'm hoping somebody will actually visit. It's very, very lonely!


1 comment:

Atkins said...

Thank you so much for the last word of your blog. I was hoping you'd make that exact point. Racism is the root of the vitriolic rants about taxes, health care reform and birth certificates. That ugly, uniquely American worldview rears its heinous head in the face of progress. Indeed, literally, in the face of our President. We have elected to move forward. The majority has indicated change has come to America. This lashing out will run its course and dissipate, and we can greet our future with loving kindness for all. Yes, we can.