Editors 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.”

And when the bill comes due? Mr. Mack said, “I’m not worried about that,” and neither am I. By then, like Mr. Mack, I’ll be taking the big dirt nap. Deficit hawks obsessively worry that our children and grandchildren will be stuck with the enormous debts from Mr. Bush’s profligate spending, but I say, “What, me worry? I don’t have any children.”
Screw the Future. I’m a Republican
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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.
Screw the Future. I’m a Republican.

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.

Global warming? Who cares if temperatures go up a degree or two now and then? By the time the oceans boil, I’ll be long gone. Besides, at my age, warmer weather sounds nice. Mr. Bush knows exactly how to control global warming: fund more studies. The oil companies have plenty of willing scientists, and, while we wait for the results, maybe people will forget about all that Kyoto Treaty nonsense.
Screw the Future. I’m a Republican.

Melting polar icecaps and rising oceans? So the Blue States flood, and the Red States get some nice waterfront. Besides, God wants Sodoms and Gomorrahs like New Orleans and San Francisco underwater anyway. I know this because I heard it on right-wing radio.

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 me.
Screw the Future. I’m a Republican.

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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