Tax cuts, budget cuts. Teabaggerism. Is this surprising?
In the past year, Pima County, Ariz., where Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others were shot Saturday, has seen more than 45 percent of its mental health services recipients forced off the public rolls, a service advocate told The Huffington Post.
The deep cuts in treatment were protested strongly at the time, with opponents warning that they would result in a spike in suicide attempts, public disturbances, hospitalizations and brushes with the police. But according to Clarke Romans, executive director for southern Arizona's branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the state government ignored requests for relief, citing the need to implement strict budget controls.
This is why teabaggers bug me so much. It's not their smugness, their embrace of the fringes of birtherism, racism, their unbridled anger. (Okay, it's those, too; but they're not foremost.) It's their simple-minded solutions to complicated problems; their steadfast refusal to include facts or consequences in their autistic repetitions: cut taxes, cut wasteful spending, and everything will be fine. Ronald Reagan taught us that.
(What? It didn't work? La la la la I can't hear you.)
So Arizona, among the teabaggiest examples of governance teabaggerism, slashes spending on mental health care. Because people are no longer willing to see money going to anyone but themselves, because their idea of patriotism doesn't include any sense of commonality with any others -- especially those of differing color -- they vote "no," and states make Draconian cuts. And, to the aggressive apathy of teabaggers, the cuts start with the most needy and defenseless. How could it hurt me, the teabaggers (fail to) ask? Who cares, they imply, from the depths of their Christianity.
This is how it hurts. It's not the only way; just a hard-to-ignore way. Cutting public health services, cutting education: it's the frog in warming water. Can't feel a thing. Not now, anyway. Besides, I got mine. And lookee my tax bill.