The GOP’s Cruel Act

On January 19, 2017, Wayne Barrett died. He was 71. Barrett was a singular force in New York City journalism, taking on everyone from Mayor Beane to Rudy Giuliani. In 1978, he first told the world of a then-scion of the small courtier of real estate developers in the Five Burroughs named Donald Trump.  His father, Fred, was a small fish in the largest city in America (next to Harry Helmsley, everyone in NYC was small) who had control of several properties in Queens and Staten Island. His article in the Village Voice,

“How a Young Donald Trump Forced His Way From Avenue Z to Manhattan”

was reprinted two years ago, shortly after Trump announced his run for President. Here is the link if you care to read it:

The reason I bring this up today is because Barrett, who not only wrote about the Libidinous One for years, even writing a book in 1991 about him, died the day before he became the 45th* President of the United States. Which, in a way makes him lucky that he hasn’t seen the first 105 days of his attempts at the total destruction of it.

We, quite unfortunately, are still here. For the time being. Today the House passed a bill dismantling the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, because the GOP wanted (perhaps) a symbolic victory over the objections of just about everyone else. It guts the ACA and Medicaid, Medicare and CHIP and every other program designed to make people a bit less sick.

Mostly though, what it does is reminds us of the cruelty, out in the open for the world to see, of the Republican Party. It reminds us that for the rich and powerful, there will always be a cure, but for the rest of us, not so much. As Charles Pierce put it today, “This was a bill constructed to be as cruel as possible to as many people as possible for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans and to give a “win” to an incompetent and vulgar talking yam that flukes and circumstance have placed at the head of a once-great republic. It is an altogether remarkable piece of American political history that should follow the people celebrating it to their graves, to which they will be proceeded by thousands of their fellow citizens, who might not have, had there not been so much to celebrate on Thursday, in Washington, among all the tomb-white monuments.”

I’m not going to be as nice. The “vulgar talking yam” is a moron. Who learned at the feet of Roy Cohn, one of the most despicable human beings in history.  If you have cancer and don’t have $2 million to get it taken care of, tough shit. If you were born with a pre-existing condition (like me), your life expectancy just dropped from X to day-to-day, as one Vin Scully would follow “then again, aren’t we all?” Trump isn’t as shrewd as Cohn, but he mirrors him in so many ways – no sense of humor, takes umbrage at any slight, real or perceived, flaunts his (supposed) wealth, threatens people who dare shine a light on their secrets or misdeeds.

Cohn died in 1986, from AIDS. Much like many men of wealth and fame of that era, Rock Hudson, Liberace, Cohn used his influence and fear to silence those around him. Liberace’s original cause of death was “liver cancer.” Several former lovers (and his family) complained and the cause was changed to AIDS. Here is a scene from “Angels in America” where Cohn, played brilliantly by Al Pacino, browbeats and threatens his doctor (James Cromwell) into keeping his diagnosis a secret:

Screw these people, screw the people who vote for them and send them back to Congress for 40-50 years. Screw Paul Ryan, who is writing his political obituary with this vote. The GOP has stood for nothing since 1980, except giving money to the super-rich and screwing over everyone else. It has to stop. Otherwise, there will be nothing, nothing at all for all but 400 people. That’s not America. That’s a third-world country.


2 Responses to “The GOP’s Cruel Act”

  1. Bob Quinn Says:

    Thanks Kent.

  2. Dan Riley Says:

    We are a badly broken country.

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