Thursday, January 21, 2016

It's official. The forces of good have no guts.

What happened to the days when our side had guts? Remember Occupy? It was only 3 years ago that Occupy was perhaps at its peak.

It isn't just a matter of ideology but of what the law says. Even when the law is on the side of good, our side won't show any guts whatsoever anymore. Not a shred.

When the Bundys and their Tea Party pals took over that town in Nevada, the law could have lowered the boom. Instead, authorities surrendered to the Tea Party unconditionally. Now the same thing is happening in Oregon.

Something like this is happening in Tennessee now too.

Last year, the Supreme Court ruled that it's unconstitutional to ban couples of the same sex from marrying. That's the law of the land. But right-wing lawmakers in Tennessee have introduced a bill that would defy this ruling outright and reinstate Tennessee's marriage ban.

Right-wing legislators in zillions of states are trying to nullify the Supreme Court's ruling, but the weak response to the Tennessee bill is mind-numbing. The federal government warns that if the Volunteer State passes this bill, the state will lose $8.5 billion in federal funding.

Only $8.5 billion? In a state of 6.5 million people, that's not much. Per person, that would be only a fraction of the monetary limit in a small claims lawsuit. What's worse than this though is that the $8.5 billion would come out of programs for the poor. It's not the poor that elected all these Republicans - but it's the poor that can't afford to pay for the GOP's extremism. For the people who'd actually be paying, $8.5 billion is a lot.

Instead of punishing far-right politicians, the government plans to penalize Tennessee's poorest citizens, who didn't even vote for these public figures. What incentive does this give for Tennessee Republicans to follow the law? The GOP enjoys harming the poor. No question about it. Cutting services for the poor will only encourage Republicans.

If public officials in Tennessee don't follow a binding federal law, why not arrest them? Is the federal government afraid to do so? Are they bullied? I'm sure there's somebody in government who doesn't think Tennessee or any other state should be allowed to defy the marriage ruling - because that's the law, not because it suggests any ideological position. But are they planning to take any real punitive action against officials who won't follow the law? Cutting poverty programs punishes only the innocent.

The long and short of it is that hardly anybody today who actually has the desire to do what is right has the guts to do it. With friends like this, who needs enemies? If they don't care, why should I? If the forces of good had shown even a smidgen of grit since the height of Occupy, we'd be living in a much grander country now.