Editor’s Note: The most comforting thing about not having children is that I don’t have to worry about the sort of world we baby boomers are leaving them. I suspect it will be dirty, dangerous and debt-ridden, but, as our president’s doppelganger, Alfred E. Newman, often said, “What, me worry?” When this piece ran in the Stamford Advocate and Greenwich Time, the editors globally replaced the word “screw” with “forget” — more family-friendly, but definitely less punchy.
Screw the Future ... I’m a Republican
At the 2004 Republican National Convention, Governor Schwarzenegger’s rousing address described how he’d come to the epiphany, “I’m a Republican.” I’ve been a Democrat since college, but two unavoidable facts have convinced me that ― like Arnold ― I too should be a Republican.
First, I’m old. The only way I can continue calling myself “middle”-aged would be if I expected to live to be 108. Second, I’m never going to have children. For years, I considered myself too young to be a parent, but now I have to concede I’m too old.
Needing an appropriately conservative philosophy, I’ve turned to the words of the late NFL coach, George H. Allen, father of Virginia senator and erstwhile GOP presidential hopeful, George Allen. For those too young to remember, Coach Allen took the previously pathetic Washington Redskins to within eight points of the 1973 Super Bowl title by trading for veteran players whom other teams viewed as “over the hill.”
Coach Allen’s motto was, “The future is now.” Similarly, the impetus for my GOP conversion:
Screw the Future. I’m a Republican.
The budget deficit? Spend as much as you want. I’m not sure how economics works (and I’m too old to learn now), but, as Connie Mack, chairman of President Bush’s tax reform panel (and the son of another sports legend), told The New York Times, if we need more money, “we’ll borrow it.” From whom? “Maybe the Chinese.”
Ronald Reagan never lost any sleep worrying about the deficit. He just gave millionaires another tax break and went to bed early. The first President Bush ruined his re-election chances when he saw the deficit going out of control and broke his “no new taxes” pledge. As the deficit began coming down, some called his decision principled and responsible. But Bush the Elder never saw a second term, and his son, without half his father’s qualifications (or brains), has been elected twice (okay, maybe only once, but you get my point).
So, I ask you, who’s the real Republican? For W, no deficit is too large, and by the time the Chinese call in our debt, he’ll be an inarticulate elder statesman blaming our fiscal crisis on those “big-spending Democrats.”
When I’m a senior citizen, I plan to push the debt ceiling on dozens of credit cards, whether I can afford them or not. Let Visa and MasterCard figure out how to get the money out of me after I’m gone. They’re always sending me applications for more cards anyway, so they ― like the American electorate ― will have only themselves to blame.
Energy independence? Fossil fuels are a finite
resource, but there ought to be enough left to get me through my lifetime.
Besides, hybrid cars and good gas mileage are bad for the oil companies, which
is bad for Republicans and America. And I deserve a Hummer. Conservation
means sacrificing today for benefits later on. Give me the Bush agenda, which
pushes all sacrifices over the horizon.
The environment? It’ll take years for our air and water to get dirty enough to matter. I say ban Earth Day and disband the EPA. Tree-huggers hurt profits for big business: Exxon, Halliburton, the Bush and Cheney families … they need those profits now.
Hole in the ozone? By 2050, it could have the same diameter as Rush Limbaugh’s waistband for all I care. The six feet of topsoil I’ll have covering my face will make a fine sunscreen.
Stem cell research? That could take years. By the
time they develop a cure for what ails me, what ails me will probably have already killed
Besides, we’re in the End Times anyway, so none of this matters. I know it’s true, because the GOP’s favorite fundamentalist, Jerry Falwell, said so, and I suspect our president agrees.
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