I know, I know. I’ve been uttering that same, unanswerable question for a number of years now. And actually, the question isn’t “unanswerable” –it just requires a long list of answers, because there’s a lot wrong with them.
So what has set me off this time? Lots of things, actually, beginning with Iowa legislators’ effort to punish people for being poor. (Calling John Calvin…)
Republicans in the Iowa House introduced legislation this month that would impose a slew of fresh restrictions on the kinds of food people can purchase using SNAP benefits,
If the bill passes, needy Iowans will no longer be able to use their SNAP benefits to purchase a long list of items:meat, nuts, and seeds; flour, butter, cooking oil, soup, canned fruits, and vegetables; frozen prepared foods, snack foods, herbs, spices– even salt and pepper.
The bill will end up affecting fewer people, though–the legislature also wants to set new asset limits; those limits would make it much harder for families to even qualify for SNAP. (While SNAP is a federal program, the states administer it.).
Apparently, only two Iowa organizations support this mean-spirited bill: a rightwing group called Iowans for Tax Relief, and the Florida-based Opportunity Solutions Project. That group is part of a national organization of “conservative think tanks and bill mills bankrolled by rich donors who think if you just make poor people hungry and sick enough, they’ll utilize their bootstraps.”
Note for social Darwinists: it you’re going to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, it helps to have boots.
The fact that the referenced opportunity-to-starve project is based in Florida brings me to another jaw-dropping bit of news: DeSantis’ most recent constitutional travesty.
Florida’s Republican governor and presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis has made a name for himself by harassing Black voters, setting up a system to sue teachers for teaching race in ways that might offend Whites, singling out LGBTQ youth (while gagging teachers) and engaging in extreme gerrymandering to reduce the voting power of minorities.
Now he’s gone full-blown white supremacist, banning the College Board’s Advanced Placement for African American studies course from Florida’s schools.
The White House Press Secretary called the move “incomprehensible,” but I find it entirely comprehensible–DeSantis is continuing to pander to the racist base of the Republican Party in his methodical quest for the GOP’s Presidential nomination. I know what’s wrong with Ron DeSantis; what I want to know is: what’s wrong with the Republican base whose votes he is chasing? (Okay, okay–I know what’s wrong with them, too.)
I’ve already reported on several of the Indiana legistature’s insanities, but Hoosiers do have company in the feverish race to become Mississippi. Eleven Red states have introduced bills to forbid transgender teens from accessing health care; and several (including Indiana) are toying with measures to eliminate income taxes (funding teacher salaries and state services, paving streets and fixing bridges–those things are all socialism!)
In North Dakota, Republicans have introduced a bill that would jail librarians for keeping books on their shelves that include images” depicting gender identity or sexual orientation,” and another bill would bar organizations in the state from using trans people’s pronouns.
A Wisconsin lawmaker wants to label single parenting “child abuse,” and Oklahoma Sen. Ralph Shortey wants to ban “food or any product intended for human consumption which contains aborted human fetuses.” (The article says there’s no word yet on whether he’s going to follow up with a ban on Soylent Green…)
Oklahoma also brought what has been called the “every sperm is sacred” bill, for the old Monty Python sketch, which, in the spirit of granting personhood at the moment of conception, would deem any waste of sperm (as in, for example, masturbation) “an action against an unborn child.” This month a local Delaware council approved a similar resolution.
There is much, much more state-level insanity–and I won’t even begin to list what Kevin McCarthy’s Keystone Kop majority has been up to (or perhaps “down to” is more appropriate) during the past week. Or what new revelations have emerged about George Santos–or whatever his real name is.
The available examples range from despicable to ludicrous–and most have absolutely nothing to do with actual governing. The one characteristic they all share is an autocratic belief that elected officials have the right to use their positions to impose their own beliefs on other Americans, including those who disagree–no matter how divorced from the desires of their constituents (or, for that matter, from reality) those beliefs may be.
It makes me wish that Marjorie Taylor Green had been right. If I had that space laser, I know just where I’d use it…