At CPAC, Rand Paul announced that the Facebook generation is ready for the message of freedom. He is absolutely right, but does the Republican Party really understand how most of the Facebook generation view Republican policies relating to freedom?
The Republican Party has stood in the way of a single-payer health care system and is trying to dismantle Obamacare. So apparently, according to Republicans, freedom is paying taxes for the health insurance of the retired while not having health insurance yourself. Freedom is being able to only afford health insurance by working for the government or a large company. Or freedom is working hard to pay for the one health insurance option your employer gives you only to have treatment for your child’s disability deemed not covered or to find out that the birth control pills for your cramps aren’t covered by the policy your employer chose for you. You are then free to write your state’s insurance commissioner and local congressman to be told that the (nonexistent for you) “free market” in insurance allows you choice so regulations aren’t necessary.
A Republican administration led this nation into the Iraq War. The war cost $1.9 trillion and at the rate we are paying, it is expected to cost $6 trillion. Every major American war in the past has had a special tax to fund it, but during this war, the Republican Party cut taxes. Instead of paying down the debt with taxes they’d rather cut taxes and the budget.
These same cuts will reduce the retirement and insurance benefits people are paying for now. Apparently freedom means to not pay as you go but to instead pass along debts to your kids and grandkids.
The Republican Party blocks efforts at spending tax money on rail service and public transport that would allow people to live and work closer to home. Yet they fully support tax money going to roads and sewer lines to build up suburbs that create yet more commuter-congested traffic and makes it so people must own a car and buy fuel just to have a job. If the commute bothers you, just pay extra for a Peach Pass. Apparently freedom is having tax dollars support private car ownership and fuel consumption.
The Republican Party has consistently fought against gay marriage. During medical emergencies only legal family has the right to see those who are ill. It doesn’t matter how long a couple has lived together; unless legally married, they simply are not considered family.
When homosexuals are deathly ill, many times family members will deny their partners the right to see them. This is especially traumatic for someone whose love is dying. Banning gay marriage allows this to continue. So apparently freedom is controlling who can hold someone’s hand while they die.
The Republican Party has long stood for local control, which it equates to freedom, especially of education. Yet at all levels of government, the party has consistently defunded education and waited for the federal government to provide leadership and money with regard to education reform. When schools fail to perform as hoped, they blame the “meddlesome” federal government, as opposed to their own lack of leadership.
With the immense failures we see in public education is it any wonder so many people don’t trust or believe the mantra of local control. Apparently freedom is the ability to blame local failures of leadership on the federal government.
Previous generations received generous Pell grants and were able to complete undergraduate degrees with which they could find jobs that paid enough to live a middle-class lifestyle. Now students are expected to take out loans to finish the graduate programs required in today’s economy. Apparently freedom is only being able to become educated enough to provide for a family after taking out thousands of dollars in student loans.
Would it be surprising if “the Facebook generation” doesn’t quite trust Republican offers for freedom? This generation is left with a future in which it can’t make the minimum payment on a national debt it didn’t create while paying taxes for services it won’t get. Its members can work themselves to death for a middle-class lifestyle they will lose after their first illness that is not covered by insurance.
Of course, they could just refuse to work all together and leech off the corpse of an already dying system.
Brandon Givens is a Hall County resident and frequent columnist.