In the Land of Cotton
Yesterday, in an interview on CBS This Morning, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-OK) was asked about how the Trump trade war with China could end up hurting farmers, particularly those in Cotton’s home state.
His response was...well, surprising. It was perhaps even more surprising than if he'd given the normal GOP response to one of Trump's disastrous, cold and heartless programs and denied there was any concern and said that all will be well. But in the face of too much evidence to the contrary, Cotton clearly didn't feel he could risk his entire credibility (or what counts as "credibility" among Republicans today) andget away with that, so instead he took a different cold and heartless approach and hoped he could sneak that one through the cracks. He tried the concept of perspective.
“There will be some sacrifice on the part of Americans, I grant you that,” Cotton began, but then swerved and took a sharp u-turn. “But also that sacrifice is pretty minimal compared to the sacrifices that our soldiers make overseas that are fallen heroes or laid to rest.”
According to Republican Senator Tom Cotton, your sacrifice and pain really isn't too bad at all because you're not dead.
Y'know, in the grand scheme of philosophy, he does have a reasonable point -- along the lines of the kind of "Whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger" philosophic bromides you get embroidered on sofa cushions.
Mind you, if we go by the Cotton Standard, one would be hard-pressed to find much of anything in life that isn't "pretty minimal" compared to dying, so suck it up and move on. In fairness, Cotton isn't suggesting that all personal tragedies that people face are "pretty minimal," though to be equally fair, he's the one who made the comparison to dying, so that is his bottom-line standard. And by it, pretty much everything is "pretty minimal" as long as you haven't actually died.
Still, even if we play the game with a graceful gentility and only look at the financial sacrifice Cotton was referring to, rather than human tragedies, it's still pretty cold and heartless. Putting aside low-income Americans for whom the rising cost of food and goods will put them in a financial difficulty that is, in fact, "pretty minimal" compared to death, there will still be farmers and other businesses who are so problematically hurt that they could risk losing their farms and livelihoods and the futures they've been building for their children. And while even that too is "pretty minimal" compared to dying ("because, kids, your mom and I love you, and we still have each other"), it's small comfort that someone is dead and you are only destitute.
But there's another problem here that's too easy to overlook.
Since when have Republicans started asking Americans to "sacrifice"?? That isn't part of the GOP credo. Indeed, one could suggest that the same argument here about making a "pretty minimal" sacrifice could be given towards most Democratic and liberal proposals for the betterment of the country that Republicans revile -- higher taxes, food stamps, increasing the minimum wage, protecting the environment, foreign aid, civil rights, workplace protections, saving endangered species, safer gun laws, affirmative action, voters rights, and on and on -- all of them requiring "pretty minimal" sacrifice for Americans compared to dying.
But the Official Republican Playbook for the past several decades has largely been: "If I don't benefit from it and most-especially if I have to sacrifice anything personally so that others can have a better life, then I'm against it, it's bad for America because it's bad for me, and it's probably socialist."
Yet now, according to Tom Cotton, and it appears the Republican Party in Congress since they are supporting Trump in this (like everything), Americans should sacrifice for a trade war with China because it's "pretty minimal" compared to...well, forget what it's compared to -- Republicans now want Americans to just sacrifice, whatever the reason, period.
By the way, I'm all for personal sacrifice on behalf of the Greater Good. I just haven't seen Republicans believe that for a very long time. And I find it an utterly disingenuous position by Mr. Cotton and the GOP.
Also, to be clear, while I'm all for personal sacrifice on behalf of the Greater Good, I don't find an insane trade war with China based on increasing tariffs against all reasonable economic advice which could push the U.S. economy towards a Recession and maybe even increase the national debt if Trump does what he says (a long shot, admittedly) and gives back subsidies to be something that is actually for the Greater Good.
So, it not being for the Great Good but rather for Republicans to continue enabling Trump at his most manic, that whole "sacrifice" Cotton gambit because, hey, the sacrifice is "pretty minimal" compared to death seems a really cold and heartless idea. And idiotic, too.
5/14/2019 07:43:01 pm
It was also spectacularly stupid (which is a wide and deep body of water with Cotton), because Arkansas grows a lot of soy beans. Guess where most of the crop winds up? The area where my mom's family comes from has been mostly soy bean farming since WW2. It was mixed soy beans and cotton before that. One would think that the good senator would be more sensitive to anything that impacts the selling of the soy bean crop.
5/14/2019 11:15:52 pm
I suspect that was behind the reporter asking him the question.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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