Trivia 101

A recent column by William F. Buckley, Jr. (LA Times, Commentary, March 25, 98) was headlined "The People's Judgment Is Not Always Right". This rather obvious statement is expanded on in the leader when he explains "Morality: Clinton's popular approval ratings cannot be our only guide. Public opinion once condoned slavery". Well, since Mr. Buckley began the comparison, let's continue by reminding him that popular opinion has condoned, along with slavery, other evils such as Ronald Reagan, the Gulf War, the Republican "Revolution", Oliver North, Newt Gingrich, the destruction of any program for the poor while expanding welfare for the rich, racism in the guise of anti-affirmative action and the destruction of most of what was once decent about America. The list of what popular opinion has condoned throughout history shows that the subject is usually based on greed or misinformation and seldom is anything progressive for all so I suppose Mr. Buckley's amazement at America's support of Clinton has a nearly infinite number of precedents.

Another recent column, this time by George Will, that bastion of fairness and intelligence, was an explanation to his readers about his belief that the fact that Clinton was getting such positive support was as mysterious to Republicans as Reagan's approval ratings were to Democrats of the time. I admit that, in some small part, I basically agree with his thesis but with a slight twist. I am far more amazed at either of these people having any popular support, whatsoever. One was a bigoted lover of wealth and celebrity who was open about his hatred of the poor and completely ignorant of any portion of his party's policies, foreign or domestic, and the other is a fake who got elected by pretending to care about America's middle-class and poor but quickly revealed his love of the wealthy and celebrities and willingness to sacrifice the middle-class and poor to increase his chances of re-election. To think that either of these people could ever be regarded by any American as an acceptable substitute for decent leadership is truly depressing.

Wow! The Heritage Foundation, that ultra-conservative "think" tank, has found another extraordinarily inane argument, based on their uncompromising ability to mislead anyone who listens to their silliness, to show the need to destroy another of the few remaining decent programs for working Americans. Trying desperately to show how Social Security will someday be a situation where minorities (Latinos are all they seem worried about, though) will be supporting the white baby boomers and where, according to their convoluted reasoning, Latinos generally only have low paying jobs, they try to show that the only cure for this imaginary problem is to (oh surprise surprise!) privatize Social Security. So, according to these mental giants, because Corporate America pays such menial wages to minorities, the answer is not to begin paying honest salaries but to sell out Social Security to the Heritage Foundation's masters - Corporate America. Whew! I'm all out of breath trying to keep up with that wonderful example of corporate capitalism's illogic on the hoof.

In an earlier column I told you about the absurd decision by Republicans in both houses of Congress to pass legislation to completely wipe out the current tax code as of Dec. 31, 2001. This perfect example of the depths of stupidity your representatives will stoop to please their corporate masters would, as I said, pave the way for Corporate America to rewrite the tax codes without having to subject themselves to the burdens of public debate. According to the Washington Post National Weekly Edition of March 23, 1998, the real reasons for this proposed debacle has been exposed by the Republicans themselves. Other than their craven desire to please their wealthy owners, the entire episode is being pushed, not to make life better for Americans but, rather, because it "offers the opportunity to establish an effective polarization between Republicans and Democrats, giving the GOP an issue to hammer on in this year's House and Senate elections and in the presidential contest on 2000." Republican Sen. Tim Hutchinson of Arkansas gushed, "It's an absolute political winner." Once again we have a Republican Congress which is incapable of any serious discussion on any issues which affect America trying, instead, to create a political circus over an issue which deserves thoughtful and intelligent discussion. Of course, the party of Newt Gingrich and Ronald Reagan and Dan Quayle has never been known for the high IQs of its leaders, so this silliness should come as no surprise to the rest of us. Thankfully, one of the few things these folks are capable of is reading their own poll results which showed that the vast majority of Americans found the entire idea ridiculous and dangerous to everyone in America who hasn't acquired the necessary wealth to write their own tax codes.

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Copyright 4/6/98