The Commons is a weblog for concerned citizens of southeast Iowa and their friends around the world. It was created to encourage grassroots networking and to share information and ideas which have either been suppressed or drowned out in the mainstream media.

"But if the cause be not good, the king himself hath a heavy reckoning to make, when all those legs and arms and heads, chopped off in battle, shall join together at the latter day and cry all 'We died at such a place;' some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of any thing, when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the king that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection." (Henry V, Act V, Scene 4)

Thursday, September 01, 2005

9/11 & New Orleans: Small Government Kills

9/11 & New Orleans: Small Government Kills
by ChicagoDem
Thu Sep 1st, 2005 at 13:58:51 PDT

We've known it for a long time, we Democrats. We've known that the Republican efforts to starve government programs in the name of "small government" was a cynical ploy that would weaken us in the long run. And many of us have long been warning that we had cut too deeply, too close to the bone. We had begun to reach a point where our decisions were between wealthy people's taxes and the general well being of the nation. Many of us have worried about the point at which the government could not respond to pressing situations, and could not perform its most vital duties.

It seems many of us are realizing we have reached that point.

It strikes me that both this AND September 11th reflect major problems, not just with this Administration but with the whole Republican view of government responsibility. They live in a universe where memos about probable terrorist strikes and catastrophic hurricane damage take a backseat to low taxes and "small government".

They ask us to reduce taxes ever further on the rich, even at the cost of the mechanisms that keep us safe. They ask us to settle for ever sicker, ever more ineffective services in the name of limited federal power. And ultimately, they ask us to accept the deaths of our friends and neighbors in the name of slack burden on the wealthy.

The disasters of this administration are unprecedented in American history. We have seen buildings toppled because of a distracted and ideologically obstinant security apparatus. We have seen a space shuttle explode because of years of steadily decreasing funding. We have seen soldiers needlessly dying in a war because of a military culture which hemorrhages money on obsolete, defense industry-enriching research while troops go without vital armor.

And now we have a major American metropolis swallowed by the sea due to a crumbling infrastructure. We have dead people floating in a man-made lake of toxic waste, and frantic survivors treading the fetid water in the company of alligators and mosquitos, all of them desperate for the simple necessities of life. We have refugees slowly starving and dehydrating in our major, planned shelter. This is not something that should have happened in America. This is not something that we associate with America. This is exactly what the government is supposed to be protecting us from.

Yet this is the definition of Republican small government. In the name of "personal responsibility" they have chosen to completely abandon government responsibility. People like Grover Norquist or Milton Freidman would undoubtedly say that the dead of New Orleans made it a conscious choice to live in a floodplain, and that the government had no obligation to help them. At long last we have objective proof of the heartlessness and, frankly, un-American nature of Republican "small government" policy. It has not worked, and in the last five years we have seen it make this country less safe, less strong, and less free.

Katrina was a terrible natural tragedy, but its high death toll was a man-made Republican disaster, and it is one that forcibly makes the point Democrats have been making for years. The government does have a responsibility to its people. It must be accountable, it must be responsive, and it must work for all of us instead of simply the wealthy few. This is the case we must make and we must start making it TODAY, because America desperately needs accountability for the debased state in which the Republican party has left us.


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