Mayfield: GOP ducks responsibility for a broken nation
Are you crazy?!” I shouted through my windshield as the rusting hulk of an 18-wheeler came roaring by me on the right. It happened just as the road narrowed from two lanes down to one. Forced to slow down or watch as the big rig sailed off into the Blue River, I spent my braking time muttering some more, less printable, thoughts while continuing to muse over the trucker’s sanity. It was then that I noticed the sign attached to the Peterbilt’s rear-end: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN WINDSHIELDS.
This surely certifiable semi-driver had nearly removed the front end of my car with his overloaded and under-steered gravel truck and yet, according to the placard, he was not to be considered responsible for his irresponsible actions. I was stunned by the lack of simple reason announced by the sign and marveled at the utter gall of the company that displayed it.
Who else could be responsible? If not the trucker with his wildly veering vehicle, who else would bear the blame for the consequences of such ill-begotten behavior?
Now I’m sure most of you are already way ahead of me, but it was precisely at this point that I realized what was occurring before me was a perfect metaphor for the Republican presidential campaign. Just as the unnamed trucking company divorced itself from any responsibility for its own actions, so, too, have Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin sought to separate themselves from these eight disastrous past years.
With all their anti-governmental rhetoric, one could certainly surmise that the current administration was headed by members of the left-wing, liberal elite rather than a good ol’ boy from Texas. Why, to listen to this plebian-claiming pair complaining about the way things are done in Washington, only the insane or legally incompetent could assume that the people in power were cut from the same compassionately conservative cloth.
When the leadership of your own party has managed in eight miserable years to mire this once-admired nation in an unwinnable war, engendered a staggering debt that will be a curse to our children’s children and beyond, alienated long-standing allies with our arrogance and left the free-market financiers to make up their own rules as our economy teeters on the brink of ruin, we can all certainly understand the desperate attempt to put more than a little distance between G.W. and Mac and P.
But the metaphor holds. Who else is responsible? Certainly not the average American citizen whose wellbeing has been roundly ignored by an administration that has done nothing to provide for a system of affordable health-care or to shore up our faltering infrastructure or make the world a safer place for generations to come. And yet that seems to be precisely the policy the current Republican ticket plans to follow into the future. Responsibility be damned. Get the hell out of the way! It’s full speed ahead!
I thought Mitt Romney’s bizarre boast at the Republican convention: “We need change all right ” change from a liberal Washington to a conservative Washington!” ” was an aberration, but listening to our presidential and vice-presidential candidates from the right I’m not so sure. I can’t help but wonder how they account for our current sorry state of affairs. According to the history books I read, for six out of the last eight years all three branches of our federal government have been in the control of the Republicans. Again, who do they think is accountable? All the signs that are waved at Republican rallies lately seem to be implying much of what that trucker proclaimed: NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR BROKEN NATION.
So here’s the logic: If you didn’t like the way Republicans ran our country the last eight years, vote to have them run it for the next four. And if that sounds reasonable to you, let me offer this friendly reminder from Albert Einstein: “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again expecting different results.”
Are you crazy?!
Rich Mayfield is the author of “Reconstructing Christianity: Notes from the New Reformation.” E-mail comments about this column to email@example.com.
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