The great thing about politics in a democracy is that, try as a politician might to obscure their political party's agenda, the rank and file almost always comes along and reveals the true face of the politician's policies.
This kind of unintentional exposure is in large part behind the pathetic failure of President George W. Bush to gather support for his schemes to deprive Americans of the Social Security benefits that they've earned through their decades of hard work.
President Bush says that he wants to reform Social Security. But, economists and policy experts point out that President Bush's plan would actually drain all the money out of the Social Security trust fund, essentially destroying Social Security. Under this reckless Republican scheme, all the money that working Americans have spent decades building up to help them make ends meet during their old age or in case of tragic accidents would be siphoned off into the accounts of Wall Street financial firms. The Bush Republican plan would make financial executives filthy rich while impoverishing working Americans - and the executives would hardly have to lift a finger to make the money. President Bush would just send it flowing their way.
That sounds like a pretty harsh policy, and the sincere, trustful part of my personality hoped that it was all just some kind of tragic mistake. I'd hate to think that America's top political leaders would knowingly steal money from working American families just to give it to rich Wall Street Executives. Surely, President Bush and his Republican followers couldn't really intend to destroy Social Security, right?
Unfortunately, it does appear that destroying Social Security is what President Bush and his Republican followers have had in mind all along. Take a look, for example, at what Bush supporters are wearing these days:
Your eyes are not deceiving you. This is a Republican t-shirt I found at a Republican political store that calls itself Crusade Clothing. Up above the photograph, there's language urging Republicans to support President Bush's plans for Social Security "reform". But what's that graphic on the t-shirt? It's got the words Social Security crossed out! It looks like these rank and file Republicans got the message that President Bush's so-called Social Security reform is really just a plan to eliminate Social Security entirely.
Apparently, Crusade Clothing is selling quite a number of these anti-Social-Security t-shirts. However, when I saw this photograph, it seemed to audacious to believe. Would Republicans really come right out and declare open war on Social Security in this way? Maybe, I thought, this guy has just taken some fabric marker and crossed out the words "Social Security" himself. I wanted to believe that Republicans would not be so intentionally cruel to America's most vulnerable citizens. So, I took a closer look.
This is the graphic that Crusade Clothing shows as a closeup of what their t-shirt will look like. Here it is, plain to see, that Social Security is crossed right out of existence, on purpose. And there again, you'll see, is President Bush's motto: Reform Social Security. There is no mistaking it - these Republicans are trying to eliminate Social Security.
It seems they didn't remember the message from their leaders to keep this Republican agenda hush-hush. Oh, but Republicans are so used to waging all-out war these days, it must be difficult for them to restrain themselves when contending with their enemies. Apparently, Republicans think that Social Security is the enemy. Is this part of the War on Terror, I wonder? I'd like to hear the Bush White House explain that one. Are senior citizens and widows supposed to be terrorists now?
If the outfit selling these shirts is called Crusade Clothing, then what exactly is it that these Republicans think they're crusading against? Are they crusading against the ability of people who have worked for decades to have a little financial security in the last few years of their life? Are they crusading against the ability of widows and orphans to eke out a basic living based on the hard work of their deceased husbands, fathers, and mothers? What the heck is wrong with these people?
Whoever this young fellow is, wearing a t-shirt with Social Security crossed out in an angry act of elimination, I want to ask: What do you want to replace Social Security with? Social insecurity? Please stand back and think a little bit, young fella, before you go nesting with people's nest eggs.
Memo to George W. Bush: Don't try to sell us on your Social Security schemes after giving your rank and file Republicans the straight skinny on your reform. The secret's out, and we're not going to put up with your attacks on the Social Security benefits that we've earned through our own hard work.
It's the free speech right of the economic fanatics at Crusade Clothes to put their messages of rage against Social Security on as many t-shirts as they want. But, as long as our democracy persists, and the Bill of Rights survives, we have our right to talk back. So, we're offering the following items in defense of Social Security:
Two Social Security bumper stickers and a small poster to boot.
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