Since Mitt Romney emerged as the frontrunner, the Republicans have been marching toward an election likely to be decided more by ideology than by the hard economic issues facing We the People. They have now locked on that course by the choice of Rep. Paul Ryan to complete their ticket.
It is now the ticket of the Two Empty Suits.
Mitt was always the perfect fit for it, in light of his wholesale reversal of ideals he stood for as governor of Massachusetts. Missing now from one pant leg is his lost stand for full freedom for women, i.e., pro choice. Gone from the other pant leg is his support of health care for all, the plan he got enacted in Massachusetts.
One empty sleeve is his abandonment of equal rights for gays. The other empty sleeve is his mostly missing tax returns, which could tell us whether there were years in which his income ran eight or more figures but he did or didn’t he pay any income tax. His promise that he’ll release one more tax return by October 15, barely two weeks before the election, is an empty bow to conservatives who believe the voters are entitled to see all his returns, from his fattest years with Bain Equity, in which he cashed out struggling companies and cut jobs by the thousands, to net his millions.
His suit coat makes a handy hiding place for all those missing returns. The picture is completed by a flip-flop pinned to the bottom of each flapping pant leg.
Congressman Ryan is an empty suit of a different weave. His career is void of real-world experience. From his college days, he only game has been politics. He was a cofounder of the GOP Young Guns, and by 28 he had been elected to the Congressional seat he has held for 14 years.
Since the only life he has known is the life of privilege, it seems natural that as Chair of the House Budget Committee he would fashion a highly partisan federal budget that shreds the safety nets for the under-privileged, while it lines the pockets of the One Percent, yet fails to shrink either the chronic deficits or the national debt. It deepens the drift toward oligarchy that started with President Reagan’s promise of “trickle down” prosperity. Democracy works in the long run only from “trickle up,” the will of a majority who understand that freedom isn’t handed down, but must be earned by honest labor.
What has been growing steadily, and unabated, from trickle-down is the Vulture Culture, in which human rights are seen less and less as natural rights but as limits increasingly defined by the corporate power at play in globalized markets. Multinational corporations are no longer bound by national bodies of law, or by our Constitution. They live increasingly by rules of their own making, because they have the wealth to hire as much legal counsel as they need to paralyze any court and to live by their own rules. In his devotion to privilege, Ryan stands with the Vulture Culture.
Ryan typifies the ideologues who expect the world to live by their principles, however inconsistent they are with the Constitution and its bent upon justice. Without equal protection, under the rule of law, neither justice nor the rule of law can be perfected. He paints with the same paint and the same brush as his constant soul mate, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri. This pair leaves the non-zealots of the Republican Party red-faced over women’s rights. Neither the mental nor physical health of an impregnated women counts for as much as the pretended personhood of the fertilized egg.
With Ryan and Akin, the caveman lives on, borne on the belief held since the stone age that when a woman says no she really means yes. Thus, rape is never rape, because it comes down to the word of a woman. Women simply cannot be trusted where there is any question of pregnancy. Men must have the last word, because that’s the way the world has always worked. So where’s it gotten us: a world that knows less real security and more crime and corruption that it has ever had before. With natural rights meaning less and less every day. With the enslavement and exploitation of women, the flesh trade is still growing globally.
And, nature itself threatened more and more by overpopulation and commercial exploitation. The Environmental Protection Agency is consistently frustrated in its mission and mandate by federal courts dominated by the right-wing jurists elevated to federal benches by Presidents Reagan and Bush I and Bush II, jurists who confuse corporations with people. Corporations exist by law solely for money. Money is not people.
At a time when the USA is struggling grimly to meet the increasingly competitive world in the three Rs, which are more than ever the key to economic and technological security, the GOP gives us a ticket of the two Rs. Is this a bad joke? Depends on what the ticket of Two Empty Suits can prove it November.
If the Empty Suits should win, the Vulture Culture is certain to keep growing, and the middle class will be shrinking more. In such flourishing oligarchy, the rule of law and the promise of equal protection will mean less and less.
– Frank Mensel, September 2012