Vote Blue to Make this a “Can-Do Nation” Again

This is one of the most famous video clips in liberal history. And it’s popular for one reason. It’s true. 

The thing is, while everything Will McAvoy says in this video is true, it still makes everyone uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it hasn’t made them uncomfortable enough to actually start a movement, even though we can point the finger of blame at one single, solitary political movement and one single political party. The GOP. 

That’s right; if you truly want to make this country great again, everyone who cares about this country will make sure the current version of the Republican Party never wins another election. Face it; the current version of the Republican Party has turned this country into a “can’t-do” nation. 

And no, Bernie Stans; that does not mean we should be embracing your fantasies in which everyone in the country gets what they want for free. That’s a different discussion. Period. 

Let’s go back in time for a minute. Imagine it’s the America of 1952 or 1962 and the Soviet Union has sent people into polling locations to flip switches and rig voting machines. Imagine Russian operatives had gone into city after city to steal the rolls of paper where people recorded their votes and took them out to open spaces to burn them. There is no way the government, which was run by Democrats at the time, would let that slide. They would be imposing sanctions and they would be threatening the Soviets in every way possible because that’s the only thing Russians listen to. 

Now, in 2017-2018, however, we have a president in the Oval Office who is obviously doing the bidding of the Russian President and who is avoiding saying anything negative about Russia following incidents in which they messed with our democracy to a greater degree than burning our votes. And they continue to try to hack the democracy to this day, and the political party in charge of most of the government, the Republican Party, seems to be fearful of saying anything about it. 

Constider climate change for a minute. We all know that, if the Russians and many other countries declared climate change to be real in 1952 and 1962, and they were investing heavily in solar panels and wind turbines to fight it, the Democrats and most Republicans would have jumped on the alternative fuels bandwagon and kicked major ass to make sure we ceded no ground. Yet here we are, in 2018, and climate change is proven, yet, we have a major political party – the one in charge, no less – who has killed a comprehensive agreement on fighting climate change and ceding the entire market to the rest of the world, even as they are led by Lord Donny, who whines and cries about getting back manufacturing jobs in industries that are outdated and damn near dead. What sense does it make to reject the alternative energy industry, which is the future and embrace the 18th Century technology of the internal combustion engine? Yet, that’s what the Republican Party is doing, while stating that we just “CAN’T” move forward with technology in that area. You know, we can all have a watch that tracks our health and can do an ECG on the spot, but we can’t possibly generate most of our power using the sun, the wind, geothermal energy and/or the tides. 

Look at what we did when it came to the space race back in the day. 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. But I don’t believe it’s a stretch at all to say that, had the current version of the GOP been around back then,   we’d never have gone to the moon. Look at what has happened to the space program with Republicans in charge. We went to the moon a few more times, and then we stopped. These days, space has largely been privatized and while once in a while, a Republican will talk about grandly heading to Mars, nothing is actually done about it. Most of the high points of the last 40 years of space exploration have come from ideas and technology that originated in the 1960s and 1970s. Hell; under the Republicans, we have come to depend on the Russians to send our astronauts to the International Space Station. 

Why the hell did we let Republicans do this to us? Why can’t we seem to do anything worthwhile about any of our most pressing problems? We used to address problems we saw and search for solutions, but now, we seem to see problems and try to avoid addressing them. Prior to 1981, when Ronald Reagan became president and we started going down the unfortunate path we are on, we were well on our way to weaning ourselves from our fossil fuel addiction. By the time he took office, we had been through two oil supply crises, both 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. 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 would 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, in which the price of gas is either too much or too little. 

Most modern-day Republicans are pure cynics, which means they understand the cost of everything and the value of nothing. Here in Arizona, they are fighting tooth and nail over a proposition on our ballot in November, which would mandate that utilities use more solar and wind power. Now, I know most of you have never lived here, but I have and I can tell you, the one resource we have in plentiful supply is sun. There’s also a lot of wind year round, but there are maybe 25-30 days every year where we don’t see the sun. Most of us steep our tea in big glass jars by sitting them outside in the sunshine. And yet. with most sunshine than most other places in the country, this state’s most prolific utility gets SIX PERCENT of its power from the sun. 

This is not a new thing. In 1981, the first thing Saint Reagan did 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 god-given right. Republicans essentially crashed the oil economy, causing record low gas prices, and insinuated there was so much oil, we’d never pay over $1 per gallon again. They actually sought to perpetuate the precarious situation we were in and then 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. Recently, China became the largest producer of solar power in the world, and the response by the Republican leader in the White House was to add tariffs to steel and aluminum, thus forcing China to reciprocate by adding tariffs to nearly everything we buy from them. At the same time, Lord Donny is trying to promote coal, and lying to the people in coal-producing states, telling them coal jobs are returning, which is the opposite of true.There was a time when the mere mention of China as the king of solar power would have moved this country to act to snatch many trillions in profits away from them and invest like hell in solar power.

Of course, 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 1981, 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 doing so is too expensive and impractical. We can’t afford to do much of anything except to waste hundreds of billions of dollars to build out 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.

With Republicans in charge, we have become 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 kill such projects here, while claiming we can’t afford such “extravagance.” While nations with far less wealth 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 fewer fossil fuels, our Republican Party tells us we can’t do such things. They tell us we’re broke, when we’re anything but. Our national household wealth recently topped $100 trillion for the first time, and we were, by far, the first nation to do this. We still the richest country in the world, by far, but it’s in spite of Republicans telling us we “can’t do” anything.

Why would anyone believe anything the GOP said, anyway, especially regarding 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. They loved the $29 trillion in fake money their unregulated mortgage market produced so much, they really want to do it again. 

We can wean ourselves off fossil fuels and eliminate our dependence on countries we cannot safely depend on and we have to stop allowing Republicans to tell us we can’t. And we can make sure everyone in this country has access to food shelter and healthcare. We can afford to build out our infrastructure, including a working electrical grid and a national public transportation infrastructure that is the greatest on Earth. 

However, we can’t do it with Republicans in charge. Let’s get them the hell out of government, so we can do stuff again. As a nation, we have proven that we can do anything, but with Republicans in charge, we have become a “can’t do” nation. That has to stop. 


Also published on Medium.