Political Opportunism and the Sheer Sliminess of Lacking Principles

Every now and then, I think about Anthony Scaramucci. The Mooch. That guy that lasted about six days before being fired – before his official start date, at that. Today, it was because of his comments regarding parent child separation at the border. They reminded me just what it is about him that bothers me so much.

Scaramucci disgusts me. I find him an appalling excuse for a human being. The reason for that is that he doesn’t have any real beliefs. Or at least, none that he won’t cheerfully throw aside and argue against if it serves him. He supports gun control and same sex marriage. He thinks that family separation at the border is inhumane and that it can’t be pinned on the Democrats. Those are positions I agree with! And as such, it makes me even more repulsed by Scaramucci, because he holds these beliefs, but still chose to work for this administration, however briefly, knowing full well what it stands for. He believes that human lives are worth less than what he can get for himself . It’s a sign of an utter lack of empathy, a lack of compassion for other people. He doesn’t have the courage of any convictions. He lacks principles of any kind. He can be bought. Maybe not with money, but certainly with attention. He’s painfully opportunistic.

People like Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio repulse me for different reasons. They’re spineless cowards. I find their beliefs and personalities awful. But they still believe things. They’re bigots, even if they’re less open about it than the Trumps of the world. They may accept NRA blood money, but they don’t say the complete opposite of what they would say without it. They have the same disregard for human life as Scaramucci, they’re equally opportunistic, but their opportunism stems from callous beliefs and bigotry, not an impersonal lack of consideration as to how their words or actions will affect others.

Back during the week when he was part of the Trump administration, I thought Scaramucci was kind of funny. And that’s for the same reason I – like a lot of people – used to think Trump was funny. He said outrageous things that blatantly contradicted what he’d said earlier, things so stupid I didn’t get how anyone could take him seriously, things that were clearly more because they were politically convenient than because he actually cared. But that’s not funny. That’s just despicable, and the reason I can no longer even think about Scaramucci without getting upset. A person that defends a bigot is a bigot, and that makes Scaramucci one of the worst.

The United States and Mass Shootings

For years now, The Onion has published the same article every single time there’s a mass shooting. The only change they make is the place and time where it happened. Because it’s always the same story. People die, Republican politicians say there’s nothing to do prevent it, we hear that it’s too soon to politicize it! And then the cycle starts again.

Somewhere along the line, we decided that we don’t care. Not about people going to church, not about people that just wanted to enjoy a night out at a club, not about elementary school children. For some people, the ones that aren’t in public office, it’s out of desensitization. That’s understandable. It’s exhausting. After all, how many times can someone scream and yell at a Congress that won’t do anything to act before all the shootings start to blur together? Before the countless deaths turn from tragedies to statistics? But for the politicians that have accepted blood money from the NRA, it’s not because they’re desensitized to anything. It’s because they honestly don’t care about the people they’re supposed to be representing. They’re actually willing to trade the live of children for campaign contributions.

This is a country that banned Kinder Surprises because they have small parts and someone might choke on the small parts. After 9/11, the reaction was to ban liquids and scissors, stop letting people without tickets through to the gate, and check people’s baggage. But shootings? Nah, gun rights are more important than lives. The families can have thoughts and prayers, of course, but concrete action? Anything to stop something like this from happening again? Of course not. The victims aren’t worth that much.

Every time, it gets blamed on mental health, because it’s easy. Because it’s convenient. As if they’ve ever cared about mental health and the lack of access to health care for the mentally ill at any time other than immediately after a shooting. As if the mentally ill aren’t more likely to be victims of violence than the perpetrators. This country has a gun problem that we refuse to face. This is exhausting. How many more people have to die before Congress decides that enough is enough? How many more tragedies do we have to face? Human life has got to be worth more than money from gun lobbyists.

It brings to mind the old joke about a drowning man that refused all help because he’d prayed to God to save him. Upon drowning, he demanded to know why God hadn’t helped him. God responded by saying that he’d sent him two boats, but he hadn’t gotten in. Actions have power. This country doesn’t need anyone’s thoughts and prayers to solve its gun problem. It needs Congress to actually do something about it.

 

Healthcare and the AHCA

I can’t find words to describe the inhumanity of the GOP’s idea of a good healthcare bill. Yes, the vote has been delayed, but that doesn’t mean it’s over. It seems very probable to me that it will pass. And when it does, it’ll cause huge harm to our most vulnerable people.

The Canadian healthcare system is far from perfect, what with it not including universal pharmacare and dental. There are other systems in the world that are better. But compared to the US, its closest neighbour, Canada’s seems like a dream. I grew up there. I know the flaws. I also know that the flaws American politicians claim exist in the Canadian system either don’t or aren’t nearly the problem rhetoric would claim them to be.

The GOP has a lot to say about freedom and individual responsibility and liberty from a tyrannical government that oversteps its bounds, but when it comes down to it, this bill shows us pretty clearly what their values actually are, what they really believe – that life is a privilege that should only be afforded to the wealthy.

The Affordable Care Act was a step towards a greater goal. It was flawed and imperfect, but it was something. We can debate its effectiveness, and we can debate how to improve it, and we can debate whether other systems would be better, but what we shouldn’t debate is whether or not the goal was a worthy one. Health care shouldn’t be up for debate. What conservative value is there to justify this?

By crying socialism whenever someone suggests universal coverage, by claiming that it’s a violation of individual freedoms, the GOP demonstrates that they are more afraid of a word than they are of living in a country where people get sick and die because they cannot afford insurance. If affordable health care is a socialist ideal, then so be it. I’d rather live in a socialist country than one where our leadership is cruel and regressive enough to allow something like this to pass.