Sunday, June 18, 2017

Scalise shooting is the latest in US political violence—it's the "chickens coming home to roost"

By SJ Otto
The latest shooting of Republican House Whip Steve Scalise is a logical reaction when a political party simply pushes certain classes of people to their edge. The Republican Party now runs both houses, the presidency and the Supreme Court. And they are using all their power to punish the poorer classes- even to the point of letting them die from medical neglect.
So to some extent the Republicans are reaping what they sow. They follow an agenda that amounts to giving US corporations everything they want at the expenses of the working poor.
The shooter, at the Republican baseball practice, in Alexandria, Virginia, was James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Illinois, who died following a shootout with authorities. He was a supporter of Bernie Sanders' progressive politicsand he hated President Donald Trump. That alone is not unique. A lot of us like Sanders and hate Trump. But few, if any of us, want to go as far as actually shooting Republicans. That's not to say the temptation is not there. It is. But most of us have the will power to hold off of on such actions. Hodgkinson was that one person who simply went over the top. He shot at several Republicans and he hit at least six people, but only Scalise was seriously wounded enough that he is still in the hospital.
One thing the Republicans can not say is that their side is the peaceful one. Just a few weeks earlier Greg Gianforte, who won Montana’s special election, was charged with assaulting a journalist one day prior. Many of us found the election results infuriating. However there have been conservative pundits such as Susan Stamper Brown, who wrote in an article: "I thought Gianforte’s response was kind of sexy. Before the snowflake generation evolved, that’s how manly men resolved their differences. And still do, in places like Montana and Alaska, where men aren’t ostracized for being men." Her column was picked up and ran in our local newspaper, The Wichita Eagle
So there is plenty of blame for Republicans for uncivilized behaviour that has taken our country by storm.
There are those who say we should agree to disagree. But the policies at stake have never been greater. The repeal of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act or ACA) was a real hit for many working poor who relied on that for health insurance. With that repeal many of the working poor will now be without health insurance coverage and as a resultsthey will lack health care. With a lack of preventative treatment, many will now die early in life, because they will only see a doctor after they can no longer ignore the symptoms and it is then too late and their once preventable diseases will now become fatal. When people are facing unnecessary death they have good reasons to feel angry.
And many Republicans are just mean-spirited about it. Governor Scott Walker wants to make Wisconsin the first state in the country to require able-bodied, childless adults applying for Medicaid health benefits to undergo drug screening. He and other Republicans want this move to serve as a national model. On one hand this amounts to a death sentence for people with drug problems. It also amounts to potentially killing off poor people because Republicans don't approve of their life styles. In fact Walker also wants to charge Medicaid recipients with a lot of money if they, as he puts it, smoke or engage in other unhealthy behaviour.
This is both mean-spirited in that the drug users will need some kind of health treatment and it is arrogant to let some one die because their personal habits are unpopular. There is definitely reasons to be angry about this.
There is hostility on both wings when it comes to protesting. Anarchists (or antifas, short for anti-fascist, as they are sometimes called) have gone to attacking Trump supporters and conservatives love to brag when one of their thugs hurt an anarchist. A site called Heat Street  bragged that man from Patriot Prayer, at a Portland political rally, "knocked an antifa guy to the ground." There are many YouTube videos showing antifas and Trump supporters fighting.
We are living in a time when people are fighting over the nation's resources and the fighters are not interested in fighting fair. The country has plenty of resources and keeping those from the lower classes is both an act of selfishness and mean-spirited. There is reason to be angry.

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