Jon Stewart Returned And Found The Perfect Word To Describe The GOP’s Policies
In his brief cameo to highlight how everything President Donald Trump does “always comes with an extra layer of gleeful cruelty and dickishness” on the Late Show, John Stewart used the perfect word to describe not only The Donald’s, but the entire Republican Party’s way of governing. That word was Dickensian, a shorthand for the heartless, callous, upper-crust villains in Charles Dickens’ novels about Victorian England who enjoyed their cruelty to the “riff raff” and blathered at length about why certain classes of people simply don’t deserve to “rise above their station.”
What other words could you use to describe what the GOP has become? Their platform rotates around redistributing money to the already wealthy, dismantling healthcare while ignoring its skyrocketing costs, deregulating financial snake oils and gambling, polluting our parks, rivers, and oceans, terrorizing immigrants and minorities, trying to slash every safety net benefit, worker, and reproductive right they can get their hands on, gut education, and sell off our national infrastructure, built and maintained with public money, to the highest bidder. The robber barons of the Gilded Age would give them a standing ovation for their commitment to pillaging the nation and its citizenry.
With every cut, with every devastating ruling from courts they gleefully packed with regressive, woefully unqualified jurists offered by an unhinged think tank, and every tax giveaway to the 1%, they tell us not to worry, that this is just creative destruction in order to bring us something cheaper and better. And one can almost imagine them snickering about it behind closed doors while miming onanistic gestures after they do. We know they don’t care about anyone but themselves and their donors because so many of them have left their own states and districts to languish with above-average unemployment, pollution, dearth of health services, crime, debt, and opioid epidemics to fight the Culture Wars.
I know that it’s the current trend to call what the GOP has become populist, but that label implies popular support. In reality, it’s a minority party enabled by a system which prioritizes where you vote over how many votes there actually are, and voter apathy, to which they contributed by wiping themselves with every norm, rule, and custom if doing so got them a single additional iota of power. Pick one of their policies and between two thirds and three-quarters of Americans probably revile it.
So really, in that light, what are they other than Dickensian antagonists whose only firm belief is that “might makes right” and whose base has been trained to worship wealth and abuse as virtues, even when they’re on the receiving end? As long as they have someone different to blame, they seem happy to be thrown scraps from above and go after someone younger, or female, or brown when their plea for more is rejected. And that sits just fine with the GOP as they auction off what made this country great at an ever-accelerating rate.
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