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Life and Times of a Working Cowgirl

The Scorpion and the Frog go to Vegas

 

Las Vegas is such an American icon. Nowhere else on the planet can you find a place that embraces debauchery, excess, and greed quite like Vegas. Situated in the middle of the desert without any way to sustain itself it sucks resources from far and wide. It’s a world where cash is king and tomorrow is seldom considered. Behemoth casinos entice visitors out of the desert and into their windowless timeless labyrinths which are designed to keep patrons wandering, playing and unaware of time or any reality other than the one created for them in the casino. Staff dressed ins skimpy themed costumes deliver alcohol to help customers suspend belief in reality while they spend their very real money. Everything is inviting, interesting, easy and intended to systematically ensure patrons are so entrenched in the Las Vegas experience that reality becomes meaningless. Las Vegas was built on two principles: the house always wins and people want to believe in the impossible. Over the years the casino owners in Vegas have become increasing sophisticated at creating and controlling the environment and the odds ensuring that even in the midst of the greatest recession our county has ever seen the house not only still wins it thrives.

None of this sounds like anything conservative, christian, GOP member, fitness buff and family man Paul Ryan or Mormon family man Mitt Romney would want to be part of. So what on earth was a good son of Wisconsin doing in the modern day Sodom and Gomorrah, just two days after being named Mitt Romney’s Vice Presidential pick? Was he trying to cause a scandal by making Las Vegas his first campaign stop? Quite the contrary. The vice presidential pick for the GOP was in Vegas to have a “private meeting with Sheldon Adelson about the campaign” or in other words, to meet the man behind the GOP’s bottomless supply of cash. I’ve heard that politics makes for strange bedfellows but this has to be one of the strangest matches. Sheldon Adelson was a Democrat raised in Boston by working class jewish immigrant parents. He attended and dropped out of a public college to start his first company selling toiletries. He became a republican after he became rich because he “didn’t see why he should pay more taxes than anyone else.” He became one of Americas super rich by investing money in Macau China to build a casino, a casino with a reputation for being controlled by the Chinese mafia and a haven for the international sex trade. Sheldon Adelson is not exactly the kind of guy you bring to the potluck after Church to discuss real American values of the Republican party. So why would this guy be willing to donate $100 million or “whatever it takes”  to the GOP for the 2012 presidential election? I think it’s safe to say it’s not out of the goodness of his heart and not to promote conservative christian values in America. The reason is simple, it’s an investment. Sheldon Adelson has been making big risky investments for years and they have paid off. $100 million dollars is a lot of money  but nothing compared to what he stands to gain by having Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan in the White House. Remember where I started with this article and the principles that run Las Vegas? Rule number one the house always wins and Sheldon Adelson owns the house.

The Republican party’s platform is really long, 79 pages, of dry reading, but I soldiered through to the very end and in the last three or four pages they list the values that the GOP wants to protect and promote. I won’t offer any conjecture as to why it was at the end just the fact that it’s the last part of their platform. I’ll list them in the same order they did so as not to create any bias: Upholding the Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms, Ensuring Equal Treatment for All, Protecting Our National Symbols, Freedom of Speech and of the Press, Maintaining The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life, Preserving Traditional Marriage, Safeguarding Religious Liberties, Preserving Americans’ Property Rights and finally  Supporting Native American Communities. I listed these values because after I read them I was perplexed. While these values reflects what I’m seeing in the political ads and these are the talking points for the pundits, none of these values are so endangered or so financially important that a billionaire casino tycoon would invest a $100 million to protect them. So I went back to the top and read the platform again and after a thorough reading I found several items sprinkled throughout the platform that could make a billionaire smile. Things like: “But the nation’s labor laws, to a large extent formed out of conflicts several generations ago, should be modernized to make it easier for employers and employees to plan, execute, and profit together”, which sounds a lot like rewriting of the union laws. How about this  “We support a tax code that encourages personal savings. High tax rates discourage thrift by penalizing the return on savings and should be replaced with incentives to save.” This one in particular must make a man with 25 Billion dollars giddy. Can you imagine what he has to gain by getting tax incentives to save that kind of money? This is not a stipulation for those of us trying to save enough to retire on this is designed for and by people with more money than they can physically spend in a lifetime. Finally this gem “Because the problem is too much spending, not too few taxes, we support a supermajority requirement in both the House and Senate to guard against tax hikes”. So no hope of ever raising taxes this is very good news for a man with assets like his. So now I better understand why a casino tycoon with investments off shore and questionable business practices is supporting the GOP. Since money talks I understand why the GOP is accepting his money, but what I still don’t understand is why are conservative christian Americans who believe in the values set forth in the republican party are allowing this to happen? Being seen anywhere near Sheldon Adelson should cause a riot within the core of the Republican party.

This is not a Republican vs Democrat question this is a scorpion and the frog question. Why are morally conservative Americans rafting greedy, amoral, business tycoons through our political system? Sheldon Adelson is a member of a very exclusive club. He is number 8 on the list of top 400 richest Americans who control more wealth than 50% of Americans combined. This handful of super rich individuals have little in common with 99% of republicans even though they are almost exclusively Republican. But in a country of  311 million people with free democratically held elections, 400 people no matter how wealthy still only have 400. So Sheldon and the other members of the top 400 people need some why to turn their 400 votes into 156 million. That would seem like an untenable task for most of us but for people who built their fortune by getting people to gamble in the desert it is as simple as doing what they do best. Create and control reality, make everything easy and inviting and most importantly make voting an emotional experience.

In 2007 4 out of 10 republican voters voted based on social issue. The republican party can say they are the party that promotes smaller government and job creation despite facts like: Every Republican President since Hoover, including Hoover has increased the federal governments size, scope or power or all three, Republican Presidents have been responsible for overseeing 74% of our national debt, or that private sector jobs grow significantly more under democratic Presidents, because a large percentage of their party are not voting based on facts but based on emotions. So back to my question, why are good conservative christian Americans voting for a party that is promoting and protecting the interests of the very few and the few that don’t share their values? What would happen if 156 million Americans decided to vote for what was best for the majority of Americans instead of just the top 400? What would happen if everyone voted based on facts not emotions, not pre-concieved ideas, not rumor or propaganda but on the reality they hold to be true. If people voted that way would 156 million Americans still ferry those 400 scorpions to higher ground?

 

2 Comments

  1. why are good conservative christian Americans voting for a party that is promoting and protecting the interests of the very few and the few that don’t share their values?

    That’s a question I ponder pretty regularly. If you come up with an answer I’d really like to hear it. I have a few suppositions (because people really want to be lead like sheep, because many lack critical thinking skills, because that’s what their minister is telling them to do) but haven’t come up with what feels like the whole truth. It’s a question that really bothers me though and one that I try to wrap my head around frequently.

  2. Brilliant writing and very good questions. I am so sad every day as I watch friends or others that I truly respect get sucked int the GOP web of lies and deception. It really breaks my heart to see my female friends swayed by Paul Ryan’s pretty blue eyes. All I see is Eddie Munster.