LaClair: Rogers should check the mirror to find the root to America’s greatest problems

Yet again, Steven Rogers has taken us on a bizarre trip through the looking glass. We agree on one thing: our country is in deep trouble. However, the Republican Party is at the heart of our problems, not a solution to them. Here are the facts.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan pushed through a bill that taxed social security benefits, so that he could give a tax cut to the rich. Every time a Republican has been elected since then, there has been yet another tax cut for the rich. As a result of these tax cuts, and Republican trickle-down economics, the vast majority of us who are in the middle class have been trickled on. We are now paying Elon Musk’s taxes, thanks to the Republicans.

When the Framers wrote the Constitution, economies were local and regional. The Industrial Revolution took us into the era of national economies; we burned through that in roughly 150 years. Now we are in a global economy, in which privately owned corporations dictate to governments, because if governments do not accede to their demands, they just take their business to countries that will play along.

Capitalism is a great system, but like every system of human invention, it is imperfect and can be abused. Pope Francis nailed it when he said that “unfettered capitalism is the new tyranny.” Democrats understand that. Republicans do not care, because they are bought and paid for by corporate interests.

They have stacked our federal courts, including our Supreme Court, with right wing ideologues who rule in favor of corporate interests almost every time. “One person, one vote” has been judicially transformed into “one dollar, one vote.” Turn enough power over to the giant corporations, and see how much freedom we have left – if you can find any.

Income and wealth inequality is at dangerous levels, and becoming worse. A few multi-billionaires control the wealth and our industries. Free market competition no longer exists. Adam Smith, who was the father of free market theory warned of this in 1776, warning specifically of the dangers inherent in the corporate form; instead of heeding his warning, Republicans have turned it upside down. Fascism is state-sponsored corporate control of everything. The United States has become a fascist state, led by the Republicans.

Under President Biden, on the other hand, we are rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure, and restoring our industrial base, all to the benefit of the common people. This pattern has been consistent for the past 90 years: Democrats stand for the majority, Republicans stand for the rich few. Will the people have the good sense to make choices that will reverse our dangerous slide into fascism?

On individual rights, Republicans have shut down a woman’s right to choose, stacking our courts to do it. They oppose the right of people to marry whom they love. They are banning books, just as the Nazis did. In Mr. Rogers’ bizarro fantasy world this is called freedom.

On school boards, Republicans have been promoting radicals who do not wish for our children to hear the truth about our history. We can and should be proud of our country but let us also be honest about it. The Framers were slave-owners, and wrote slavery into the Constitution. The land on which we live was stolen from the Native peoples. These are facts. We in our generation owe no apologies, because we did not do it; but if we lie to future generations about it, these evils will never be put behind us. Go ahead, Mr. Rogers, tell us that these things never happened.

One political party recently tried to overthrow the government to keep its candidate in power, even though he lost the election; and now they want to nominate him again. This is insanity. Mr. Rogers and the other Republicans should stop talking about “freedom”. Obviously, they do not know what it means.

We will not address these problems by singing songs but by doing the hard work of citizenship. This includes studying the issues, learning the facts, and paying attention to all of them, not just the ones we like.

Mr. Rogers’ letter does not merely ruffle my feathers — it infuriates me.

The tyrants who are now trying to turn all of us into their slaves cannot succeed without popular support. In my wildest imagination as I was growing up, I would never have imagined that one of our major political parties would openly support fascism and tyranny, and oppose democracy.

Mr. Rogers may be a fine fellow who means well but if he wants to understand what the true threat is to our freedom, he should look in a mirror.

The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Observer newspaper.

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Paul L. LaClair | Kearny

Paul L. LaClair is a Kearny resident and is a frequent contributor to The Observer's opinion page.