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Ralph Nader: Big Campaign 2022 Issue Is GOP’s Cruelty To Children – OpEd

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Republican Party leaders didn’t have a Platform in 2020.

Their Senate leader, Senator Mitch McConnell (Rep. KY), presently tells reporters inquiring about the GOP agenda if the Republicans regain a congressional majority: “I’ll let you know when we take it back.”

Pretty smug and arrogant.

But the GOP’s actions speak louder than their words. In no western democracy is there such a party that so slams its own country’s children. Wasting no time, the GOP starts right at birth with opposition to adequate neonatal and maternal care, opposition in GOP-controlled states seeking available Medicaid coverage for poor families, opposition to universal health insurance for all children, opposition to paid family leave, maternity leave and child care, opposition to federally increasing the frozen minimum wage now at $7.25 per hour. All other western democracies meet these basic necessities.

The Republican Party’s rulers go deep with their viciousness. Had they not, in 2017 under Trump, radically cut taxes for the wealthy (including Trump and McConnell’s family) and giant corporations, the tax revenues from the 1 percent under-taxed super-rich would have paid for vital services and protections for all Americans, regardless of the political labels.

Moreover, in 2011, the GOP in Congress deliberately kept the IRS’s budget so low year after year that the agency, according to its Trump-appointed IRS director, cannot collect about one trillion dollars in uncollected taxes a year! The Democrats can fairly accuse the GOP on Capitol Hill of actively aiding and abetting massive tax evasion.

Madcap McConnell openly calls himself “the Grim Reaper”, “the Guardian of Gridlock” and brazenly declares that he wished he could obstruct more. Kentucky voters, wake up! The Reaper goes after you, too. Hundreds of thousands of your children (plus 58 million children nationwide) are, since January 2022, no longer receiving the benefits of the $300 a month child tax credit because the congressional Republicans blocked its extension.

The GOP knew this one benefit reduced overall child poverty by one third! They could care less.

Every day the Democrats should be exposing such GOP child abuses.

The GOP, ignoring their human benefits, keeps saying all these programs increase the deficit. Yet by cutting to a new low the taxes of the rich and corporate, and by their support of hundreds of billions of dollars in annual corporate welfare—subsidies, giveaways, and bailouts—they are creating this harsh deprivation for our children.  We know their drill, year after year.

Historically and presently, the Republican Party has placed corporate greed over children’s need. Even greed that radically undermines parental supervision and directly markets health harming products like junk foods and violent programming to children. Under Trump, the callous Republicans even pressed to have more junk food in school lunch programs. (See: Susan Linn’s new book: Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Business, and the Lives of Children.)

This corporate GOP, this fossil fuel party, this enabler of corporate assault against family interests, has blocked pro-family votes and pushed for corporate anti-family policies as a routine, predictable way of infesting the U.S. Congress.

The Democrats have piecemeal gone after their Republican opponents on their family-impact cruelty. But they haven’t clustered the egregious assaults into a major, daily articulated campaign drive for November. Such a unified compilation has much greater impact. This platform would reach Republican parents who are concerned with real conditions, not distracting ideologies and slogans, when it comes to protecting their family where they live, work and raise their children.

The challenge in this election was put very well last July by Law Professor Robert Fellmeth, director of the effective Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego Law School (www.sandiego.edu/cai/):

Children, of course, are our legacy. They’re what we leave behind and what should be a leading frame in this year’s campaigns. We prize our forebears who risked everything for us in the Eighteenth century. How are people 200 years from now going to view us? That’s what all the candidates should be talking about. ‘We’ve got the future of our children and country at stake here.’

Not the GOP who are taking big campaign money from the likes of the oil (Exxon/Mobil/Chevron Axis), gas and coal profiteers. Republican politicians are working overtime to block congressional policies directed against fossil-fuel driven climate disruptions including massive storms battering their own GOP-controlled southern states. Talk about not caring about the future of our children.

As children march and demonstrate for a faster transition toward renewable energy (solar, wind, etc.) they make this repeated poignant plea to adults— “We are children and you are not protecting us.”

To the Democratic candidates, I say: go on the offensive against the daily fake rhetoric and lawless behavior of the GOP. Make this last stretch of the November campaign a vibrant commitment to protect and nurture our children against the corporate-tied Republican Party trafficking in anxiety, dread and fear. (See WinningAmerica.net/notes for examples of how to counter the cruel GOP)

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader is a politician, activist and the author of Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!, a novel. In his career as consumer advocate he founded many organizations including the Center for Study of Responsive Law, the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), the Center for Auto Safety, Public Citizen, Clean Water Action Project, the Disability Rights Center, the Pension Rights Center, the Project for Corporate Responsibility and The Multinational Monitor (a monthly magazine).

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