By Dale Bowling
There is a military term of which I am quite fond called, "Collateral Damage". It's a very nice little expression that means that somebody got hurt or killed who was not the intended target. Civilians dying in war zones are the quintessential examples of collateral damage.
Now, there's a war on here in America: the Republican War on Big Government. Fiscal Cliff, Government Shutdown, Debt Ceiling, Sequestration are all fronts on this war. Republican politicians are fighting a war against the Government which you and I elected and this same government is doing things for you and me. This is why we (and by "we", I mean the majority of Americans) elected it in the first place.
Doesn't matter. They're still fighting on behalf of the minority against the majority. Now it's totally within the bounds of democratic government to say that "hey, we disagree with the majority on this and we're pushing our own agenda and hope to persuade the majority." That's actually fine and is part and parcel with American representative government.
But the GOP is doing something somewhat different. They're out to sabotage the capacity of our duly-elected democratic government to do what we ask of it. They are fighting to make it so our duly-elected democratic government (which they like to call "Big Government" because it sounds way more sinister) can't do what the majority of Americans elected it to do.
A good analogy would be instead of saying that they think one ice skater is better than another and here's why, they prefer to go out with a crowbar and kneecap the other skater and then say to her, "See, you aren't so good afterall."
That's the Republican War on Big Government.
Everything the GOP does is part of this war. This war is their entire reason for being. Doesn't matter if you freely used your vote to choose a government that actually helps Americans. In their view, you're just not as American as they are and that makes your choice just not as American as theirs.
The worst consequence of all of this is that the Middle Class and the Poor are collateral damage in the Republican War on Big Government.
The way the GOP hits the Middle Class and the Poor is by creating fake fiscal crises and using them as excuses to force cuts that don't even make sense. Government can't do its job as well with less money (no brainer there) and consequently, when government can't do its job as well, Republicans chime in, "See, you aren't so good afterall."
The thing is that we (the majority of Americans) think that our government can and should do things to lift up Americans who are struggling.
We should have a government that is concerned with the well-being of Americans and tries to help. Who wants a government that only worships market forces? That only cares about winners and not losers? That only works to stack the deck more in favor of rich people? Does that make America great?
No. It doesn't.
And don't take my word for it. Look around the globe and try to find a single country suffering this Recession that has made itself great by skimping on its Middle Class and Poor. Let me save you the trouble. You won't find it.
The greatness of a nation depends on the resourcefulness and industry of the citizens. Not 1% of its citizens. Not 53% of its citizens. All of them.
And a Great Nation unleashes that resourcefulness and industry by giving its People a chance to succeed and a hand up and a second chance when they fail.
There is a word for nations which don't help their people become the best they can: Failures.
America needs to be a Great Nation and that means that it needs to cultivate the talents and hard work of Americans. No Great Nation got where it was by shortchanging its people. Democrats know that.
If Republicans would stop fighting America for a minute they might have the time to learn it.