How Republicans Transformed Us Into a Can’t-Do Nation

You know what? Everything in the above video had a different answer a generation ago.

If this was 1954, or even 1964 and Russia or the Soviet Union had declared climate change to be real and man-made real and they planned to fill their country with solar panels and wind turbines to fight it, Democrats would have jumped on the alternative fuels bandwagon and kicked major ass to make sure we beat them to it. It wouldn’t even matter if it was real. If the Russians thought it was real, it would be real. Period. Look at what we did when it came to the space race. We did what was necessary to meet a goal that was largely no more than a point of pride. We got a whole lot out of the space program, but that wasn’t the point. The point was to do it first and brag to everyone else how great we were. And there is nothing wrong with that.

What the hell has happened to us? Why is it that we can’t seem to do anything worthwhile about any of our problems? We used to address problems we saw. Prior to 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president and we started going down the unfortunate path we find ourselves on, we were actually on our way to weaning ourselves from our oil addiction. By the time he took office, we had been through two oil supply crises, both caused by the fact that oil was no longer a market-based commodity, but a tightly controlled product that was dirty and which had the potential to ruin our economy. And we were taking care of the problem. The federal government had instituted a number of conservation methods and they were investing heavily in alternative energy production, including solar, wind, geothermal, and other resources. As of 1981, it was projected that we could reduce oil production by between 3-5% every year for decades. which would have put us in excellent shape heading into new century. It would also have prevented the price volatility we experience now.

However, most modern-day Republicans are pure cynics. They understand the cost of everything and the value of nothing. The first thing Saint Reagan and the Republicans in Congress did with virtual control of government was to roll back almost all of the energy initiatives Democrats had passed previously, and which were working. They sent us backwards on conservation and renewables and we ended up with a government that was encouraging us to drive gas guzzlers and treat gas consumption as if it is our right. Republicans essentially crashed the oil economy, causing record low gas prices, and insinuated that there was so much oil, we’d never pay over $1 per gallon again. They actually perpetuated the precarious situation and lied their asses off to protect oil company profits. Our situation with regard to energy continues to be precarious, primarily because we can’t do anything about it.

Add to that the specter of climate change and the dangers that brings to our coastlines, our farms and a great number of other industries, not to mention human life in general. Oil prices are also more volatile than ever (the current prices won’t last), and after 34 years of Repubicans runing our government, our economy is as dependent on oil as ever. Meanwhile, other countries, including China and most of Europe, have decided to increase their focus on replacing oil, and new industries are popping up in those countries. Recently, I read an article about how China is now the largest producer of solar power in the world, while our Republican Party is trying to promote coal, which is quite literally done as a fossil fuel.

There was a time when just the mere mention of China being the king of solar power would have moved this country to act to take the trillions in profits away from them and invest like hell in solar power. But that was back when Democrats ran things. Under Republicans, that just won’t happen. They shrug their shoulders and tell us there is nothing that can be done. They swear to us that climate change is a hoax and use that as a pretext for doing nothing about the overuse of fossil fuels.

Since 1980, the GOP has transformed this nation, and not in a good way. we’ve been told by Republicans that we can’t do anything about any of the problems we face. We can’t afford to wean ourselves from oil because everything else is too expensive and impractical. We can’t afford to do much of anything except waste hundreds of billions of dollars on building a war machine we will never use. Think about all of the things we’ve been told we can’t do by Republicans, that other countries are doing as a matter of course. Every other industrialized nation in the world has a universal health insurance system, and we finally have the beginnings of one, but the Republican Party would rather kill that than improve it and make it more efficient. Consider that piece of shit bill they tried to push on us last month. Their primary goal is to erase anything good Democrats have done; they don’t even seem to care about doing great things for America and outperforming the Democrats.

And with Republicans in charge, we are now a “cant-do” nation.

The vast majority of industrialized nations have built or are building robust transportation infrastructures, including better highways, but also including other modern public transportation projects, including high tech energy efficient rail projects. Yet, despite the fact that we have more wealth than any of those nations, Republican will always killing such projects here, while making the claim that we claiming we can’t afford such “extravagance.” While virtually all other industrialized nations are upgrading and modernizing their energy infrastructure to reflect the realities of the modern world, our Republican leadership tells us we can’t do any of that.

Put simply, nations that have far less wealth than we have are happily investing public money to build out and then support a manufacturing base that is preparing them for a future that features more technology and less fossil fuels, but our Republican Party tells us we do not have the capability to do such things. They tell us we’re broke, when we’re anything but broke. Again, we’re still the richest country in the world, by far. And if we ever are not that in the future, it will be primarily because Republicans keep telling us we “can’t do” anything.

Our Republican Party has cowed us into believing that our best days are behind us. The question is, why doesn’t the Republicanization of the United States piss more people off. If you’re not infuriated by the notion that we can no longer “afford” to build out the most impressive infrastructure on earth, then you have not only bought the GOP bullshit, but you’re not paying attention because we do it all of the time.  We have been conned into believing we are a can’t-do nation at a time when we really can’t afford to be.

Why would anyone believe anything the GOP said, anyway, especially about economy? Their economic ideology caused the Great Depression. Their attempts to undo everything in the New Deal is why our economy crashed in 2008. They believe wholeheartedly in deregulation, no matter how many times it has led to disaster in the past, like the $29 trillion in fake money their unregulated mortgage market produced. You know, that money that we lost when the economy crashed and took everyone in the world with it?

But even if you buy that other crap, how can anyone with a concept of the United States of America believe all of their “can’t do” bullshit? Knowing what you know about this country and its history, what is it about us that makes anyone think we “can’t do” whatever we need to do to make this country into what we all want? Why can’t we make a society in which everyone with a pulse and decent health can get whatever job or career they want? Why can’t we make sure that everyone who works makes enough to have a decent life? Given that virtually every other developed nation on the planet is able to treat healthcare as a right, there is no reason we “can’t do” that, too. We can also wean ourselves off fossil fuels and eliminate our dependence on countries that we cannot safely depend on and we have to stop allowing Republicans to tell us we can’t.

After enduring a generation of this “can’t do” crap, it’s time to say, “Enough!” Just for shits and giggles, compare the 36 years after World War Two with the subsequent 36 years and you’ll see the problems the Republican “can’t do” attitude have caused us. Democrats used to run the show, and we prospered. Since Republicans took way more power than they should have, that has changed. Like I said, they know the cost of everything, but the value of nothing. We used to build entire cities and communities from scratch because we invested heavily in that. Now, Republicans see everything as waste and they can’t conceive of taxpayers “investing” in anything.

When Democrats were running things, we had a strong “can-do” attitude. We believed we could do everything we ever wanted to do. Every family could build a great life on one income and everyone did better. Under Republicans’ “can’t do” philosophy, our country has become afraid to do anything we need to do in order to build a future for the kids and the grandkids. After years of Republlican rule, we’re even failing in basic functions like keeping workers safe on the job and keeping the food supply safe.

As a nation, we have proven that we can do anything. However, with Republicans in charge, we have become a “can’t do” nation. It’s time we replaced as many Repubicans as possible and assert that we can do it all. Because we can. .