That’s right. The Republican Party is trying to kill us.
Ticked off about the Republican Party’s stubborn stance on (not) ending gun violence? That’s just one of many ways they’re trying to kill us. And before you dismiss this claim as way over-the-top, you may want to take a long hard look at the effects of their policies. This three-and-a-half decades-long experiment has clearly been a disaster for most of us.
And, seriously, the Republican Party is literally trying to kill us.
In the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, many of us embraced right-wing policies and centrist Democrats’ “third way” with good intentions. We wanted to help people on welfare return to work. We truly believed government spending had spun out of control. We thought NAFTA and other trade deals would benefit us and our trading partners. We were convinced that regulations (and unions) were irrelevant to the “new economy” and were holding us back. We agreed that paying taxes is bad. And worst of all, we felt confident that an ever-rising stock market would replace our fraying social safety net.
Then the economy collapsed in 2008 and we plunged into a recession most of us never recovered from. We’ve since learned the hard way and realized that everything is broken. The safety net, rights, resources and legal protections we’ve long taken for granted are no longer there. And while we were struggling to stay afloat, corporate interests took over our government and have run amok.
While centrist Democrats are waking up to the fact that we’ve wrecked our country with decades of budget-cutting, tinkle down economics and “small government,” the Republican Party keeps doubling down.
These 10 causes of death are directly linked to the Republican Party’s policies.
If you think the Republican Party’s policies aren’t killing us, then how do you explain this? We have by far the lowest life expectancy among all the other wealthy (OECD) nations. Seriously. Here in America, we can only expect to live 79 years, compared with 82 years in more civilized countries that actually give a damn about their citizens’ standard of living.
10. Gun violence: The Brady Campaign reports that “Over 108,000 (108,476) people [yearly] in America are shot in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, unintentional shootings, or by police intervention.” And while Senate Republicans blocked and then voted down not one, but four gun bills, over 500 more people got shot in the week after the Orlando shooting. Yet the Republican Party — at the Federal and state levels — still refuses to pass any common sense gun laws.
9. Untreated health issues. If you do survive the next mass shooting, and if the right-wingers in Congress have their way, you might die anyway. Why? Because if they finally manage to repeal Obamacare, and you can’t afford health insurance, your local hospital will leave you to bleed out on a stretcher from the gunshot wounds you can’t afford to have treated. #ThanksPaulRyan.
8. Hunger: Those of us who manage to avoid getting injured or killed in an accidental or on-purpose shooting may die early due to hunger. A shocking 17.5 million households are food insecure, according to a 2015 report on Hunger in America. That means they can’t afford to feed themselves and literally don’t know where their next meal is coming from. 3.7 million of these families have children. Many of these people work full-time but still rely on food stamps because their jobs don’t pay enough. Meanwhile, the average SNAP benefit consists of only $1.48 per meal. This forces people to buy cheap food that’s high in calories but low in nutrition, which leads to increased rates of diabetes and obesity and can lead to early death. Yet the Republican Party keeps cutting food stamps and other welfare programs while staunchly refusing to raise the minimum wage.
7. Thirst: Here in the good old US of A, we’ve long taken our clean drinking water for granted. Alas, thanks to the Republican Party’s scorched earth budget cuts at the federal, state and local levels, that era is over. In Flint, old pipes, lack of environmental regulation, and constant cost-cutting put thousands of children at risk for lead poisoning. Meanwhile, the struggling city of Detroit has been taken over by a so-called “emergency manager” who privatized the water supply, hiked water prices, and shut off people’s water hookups when they can’t afford to pay. And guess what? Lead in the drinking water isn’t just a problem in Flint. Thanks to decades of neglect in cities across America, it’s a national problem.
6. Drowning: While some of us suffer from thirst, others are at severe risk of drowning or losing homes and entire communities due to rising sea levels. Why? Because the Republican Party refuses to address climate change or even admit that it exists. Towns along our coasts are feeling the dire consequences of not curbing our carbon use as they slowly sink into the sea. Folks who’ve lived in Southern Louisiana’s Isle de Jean Charles for generations are getting so waterlogged the feds have offered them a $48 million grant to move. PRI reports the state of Louisiana’s coastline is vanishing “at the rate of a football field per hour.” Meanwhile, Miami may soon get swallowed up if we don’t do something. Yet the right-wingers running these states shrug and say, “What, me worry?”
5. Poisoning: The Republican Party’s relentless focus on budget cuts, deregulation and letting the people who run our nation’s corporations do whatever the fuck they want has also increased our risk of death by poisoning. From the Elk River chemical spill to damaged water sources near fracking operations to entire communities that suffer health threats from toxic industrial waste and air pollution from heavy traffic on nearby highways and byways, more and more of us are slowly-but-surely being poisoned.
If you think the Republican Party isn’t killing us, how do you explain the fact that we have the lowest life expectancy among wealthy nations?
4. Unsafe abortions: The Republican Party claims to be “pro-life.” But if they really cared about saving actual lives, they wouldn’t keep shutting down women’s health clinics and making abortion illegal. A girl or woman who finds herself pregnant and wants to avoid slut-shaming, poverty, career delay, emotional trauma, or motherhood will do whatever it takes to avoid having to incubate her fetus. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports 21.6 million women around the world have unsafe abortions each year, and 47,000 women die as a result. That’s a whopping 13 percent of all deaths of pregnant women.
3. Avoidable accidents: When we see bridges collapsing due to lack of repairs and workers being injured or killed due to employer negligence, we can also blame the Republican Party. Their focus on slashing budgets and defanging the regulatory agencies we rely on to protect us is slowly-but-surely killing us. In 2013, the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) gave the US a stunning D+ rating for the wretched condition of our bridges, railways, roads, levees, and 16 other categories of infrastructure. When the next report comes out in 2017, we may see an even lower grade. Meanwhile, a 2016 report from the AFL-CIO relates these alarming facts: “In 2014, 4,821 workers were killed on the job in the United States, and an estimated 50,000 died from occupational diseases, resulting in a loss of 150 workers each day from hazardous working conditions.” Yikes.
2. War: We spend way too much money on war and far too little on taking care of our people or investing in our future. In fact, we devote 54 percent of our discretionary federal budget to a whopping $598.5 billion in defense spending. The Republican Party demands we cut programs for just about everyone and everything else, including our veterans. But they’re always up for funding past, present and future wars. This includes invading countries, plotting regime change, dropping drones, and buying stuff the Pentagon’s top brass say they don’t even need or want.
1. Suicide: It’s likely no coincidence, given all the above, that a recent CDC report finds that the rate of suicides has steadily risen. As CNN explains: “In 2014, 13 people out of every 100,000 took their own lives, compared with 10.5 per 100,000 in 1999. The suicide rate increased every year from 1999 to 2014 among both women and men and in every age group except those 75 and older.” And there’s more. People of color have long served as shock absorbers for the white working and middle classes during economic upheavals. But that no longer seems to be the case.
The Atlantic reports a 2015 study has “found that middle-aged, white Americans have been getting sicker and dying in greater numbers, even as the rest of the world is living longer and healthier.” And while most of these aren’t suicides, per se, the authors link this trend to “what we call ‘despair deaths‘: mainly suicides, drug overdoses, and alcohol-related liver disease.” In other words, even a more privileged segment of society — white baby boomers — feel so hopeless, they’re slowly killing themselves. After all, who can afford retirement?