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Chris Jepson

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“We’ve had our innocence shattered.” —Jon Huntsman

Irony can be a challenge to illustrate. One man’s truth is another man’s irony. When Jon Huntsman, presidential candidate, uttered (while critiquing Barack Obama) his “We’ve had our innocence shattered” comment during a recent Republican debate, I incredulously thought he was being too clever by half. What Huntsman doesn’t understand is that Americans are now seeing up-close and personal actual Republican Party values, graphically illustrated. And those values exclude many (millions of) citizens.

Americans are coming to understand that we no longer are all in the same boat together.

While watching college football this past Saturday, an advertisement for Russell Athletic was aired and the closing slogan flashed “Together We R.” R as in “are,” as in “Together we are.” What a joke I thought. The nation is unraveling (deconstructing if you will) before our eyes, yet we perpetuate the myth of “Team America.” For a buck, of course. There is no Team America in today’s Republican lexicon. Republicans know one note and they constantly hum it: “Me, me, me, me.”

The poor dears. Upper-end Republicans are all aghast at what they see as the introduction of class warfare. Billionaire Warren Buffet said he should be taxed at the same rate, minimum, as his secretary. “Class traitor,” screamed the Republican effluent, uh, excuse me, the Republican affluent. That the wealthy should pay their fair share? “That’s class warfare!”

Oh, and I hope you’re following Republican efforts nationwide, at state levels, to disenfranchise the young, the poor and all people of color by introducing voting requirements to limit their actual voting. And it’s not a new idea.

A founding father of the modern conservative movement, Paul Weyrich said in 1980, “Many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome: good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now.”

Weyrich concluded with, “As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.”

To that end, between now and the next election Republicans will do all they can to limit young voters, the poor, black voters, Hispanics and Native Americans from participating in our democracy. Cut back such voting blocks by 5 percent or 6 percent and election(s) go Republican. Folks, the bad guys are winning.

The best illustration though is now famously recounted. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul recommended during the recent debate that those uninsured and in a coma, voluntarily of course, be “forwarded” to, oh, the Beneficent Sister’s Home of Dubious Care in Ottumwa, Iowa. No real need for death panels with Republicans, because the poor already die prematurely. They were of marginal value anyway.

Since the ’60s, Republicans have been working relentlessly toward deconstructing the social-safety network established in response to the Great Depression as well as LBJ’s Great Society initiatives. If only, Republicans assert, if only America embraced the rugged capitalism of Ayn Rand’s objectivism, and, of course, let the chips fall where they may.

The chips, gentle reader, are the poor, the uninsured, the unemployed, people of color and the unsaved. They’ve never, really, been part of America anyway.

That Republicans so proudly champion such values, well, is anyone, still, an innocent?

Jepson is a 24-year resident of Florida. He’s fiscally conservative, socially liberal, likes art and embraces diversity of opinion. Reach him at Jepson@MEDIAmerica.US