Normal or crazy? You decide

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Sanders, Trump’s former White House press secretary. was chosen (for complex reasons) to deliver the GOP rebuttal to Biden’s state of the union speech on Tuesday, February 7, 2023. Here’s part of what she said (courtesy of Raw Story here):

“In the radical left’s America, Washington taxes you and lights your hard-earned money on fire, but you get crushed with high gas prices, empty grocery shelves, and our children are taught to hate one another on account of their race, but not to love one another or our great country.”


“Every day, we are told that we must partake in their rituals, salute their flags, and worship their false idols … all while big government colludes with Big Tech to strip away the most American thing there is — your freedom of speech. That’s not normal. It’s crazy, and it’s wrong.”

Last I heard, Republicans were complaining that rich people pay most of the federal taxes, which is true (although this is largely offset by the fact the poor and middle class pay a disproportionate share of state and local taxes). She’s literally saying that paying our military personnel and providing health care to our veterans is “lighting money on fire.” The tax money she claims the “left” is torching also includes air traffic control, federal highways, disaster relief, school lunches, and food safety inspection, among other things. Sanders is implying this spending is wasteful. You decide whether it is.

Note that while Social Security and Medicare are included in the federal budget these programs are self-sustaining through payroll taxes. All workers pay those taxes, but they’ll get income and healthcare benefits in old age in return, provided Republicans don’t scuttle those programs or take those benefits away.

Gas prices were crushingly high for a few months last spring after Russia invaded Ukraine, but have fallen back. Grocery shelves aren’t “empty” and Americans aren’t struggling with food scarcity. Sanders equates teaching black history to teaching “hate,” and apparently wants schools to imbue students with nationalistic fervor.

Her complaint about “flags” apparently refers to Black Lives Matter flags and LGBQT rainbow flags. (Her counterpart, Gov. Ron DeSantis, has banned rainbows from Florida schools; will she follow suit in Arkansas?)

The Black Lives Matter movement only wants police to stop murdering black people; and LGBQT people only want to be treated like human beings. Republicans vehemently oppose both of those agendas, which is their privilege (albeit a vile one), but nobody is making them “salute” BLM or rainbow flags.

Perhaps she meant “salute” metaphorically. Maybe we should interpret this to mean she and her party feel offended when black people object to being murdered and LGBQT people object to be victimized by the GOP’s hate campaign against them.

In our country, “freedom of speech” means the government can’t exercise censorship. It doesn’t mean Fox News has to provide a platform to socialists. Private companies can censor anyone they like, any way they like. Twitter doesn’t owe Trump an account, and Elon Musk can (and does) block anyone who criticizes him. If Sanders doesn’t like it that Mother Jones doesn’t publish rightwing propaganda, she can start her own magazine. That’s how freedom of speech works in our country.

(On February 8, 2023, Rolling Stone reported Twitter constantly received demands from senior Trump administration officials to take down user posts in a story here, and Raw Story reported a GOP congressman threatened ex-Twitter executives with “arrest” for “suppressing” links to a conservative publication’s promotion of false conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden, read that story here.)

A lot of what Sanders said isn’t true, and the rest is wild exaggeration. Is that “normal,” or crazy? You decide.

Photo above: Angry and hostile, Sanders lit into letting schools teach black history and allowing social media companies to keep bigotry and hate off their platforms

(Click on graph to enlarge)


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