The Real G.O.P.
- Taxpayers fork over billions for new Big Government program
Bush wants tax dollars to nag single Americans to get married
The Republican Party says that its the party of fiscal responsibility, small government, and freedom. Well, that's what the Republican Party says, anyway. What is the Real GOP? This week, the Real GOP is set to announce a new big government program that would intrude on Americans' private lives in the most intimate of ways, and cost taxpayers one and a half billion dollars in the process.
What would this program do? It would encourage young people to get married, and encourage people to stay married even when they are having serious marital problems. That's right, this Republican program would set up the federal government to tell people to get hitched.
Listen. I love marriage. I'm married myself, and I wouldn't give it up for the world.
The thing is that I love marriage selectively. I love good marriages. Bad marriages, on the other hand, are just a bad idea.
I had a bad marriage once. Bad, bad, bad. It was a stupid idea to get married, and I got out of it quick. At six months into the marriage, my so-called wife and I weren't even living together anymore, and I was preparing the paperwork for a divorce.
That bad marriage didn't help society. It didn't stabilize my life. It didn't improve my values. It nearly destroyed me, and the woman that I was briefly married to.
The truth is that there are a lot of bad marriages out there, and most of them are not where the Republicans would have you think they are. New England? Low divorce rate. California? Low divorce rate. Educated college towns? Low divorce rate. Southern Bible Belt? Highest divorce rate in the nation.
Why is the divorce rate the highest in the one area of the country that exclaims that it has the most traditional values? The answer is simple: People in the South are encouraged much more strongly than any other group in the nation to get married while they are very young, and too immature to really tell who will make a good mate or know how to share their life with someone.
In spite of the clear evidence that encouraging early marriage leads to an increase in failed marriages, the Bush Administration wants to increase the pressure on young people to get marriage. The Republican Party wants to take the failed Southern model of marriage and push it on the rest of the nation, using billions of taxpayer dollars to do so.
The hard truth is that marriage is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and love and faith are not enough. A good marriage takes the wisdom that comes with experience. The radical Republican agenda of pushing early marriage would undermine the opportunity young people today need to mature before getting married.
Bureaucratic Wedding Bells
What's a worse than a bad marriage? It's the government making decisions about what makes a good marriage, and pushing people to get married even when they're not sure that their marriage will be a good one.
The last thing that we need now, with budget deficits booming to record levels, is a new Federal Office of Marriage Management. Yet, that's just what George W. Bush wants to create. Oh, it's true, Bush doesn't use that name for his project, but the effect is the same.
Can you imagine having to go into an office and having a government bureaucrat lecture you about how you really ought to be getting married soon? That's the Bush/Cheney plan for social reform, and they're doing it with your tax dollars.
I just don't hear a demand for the American public for the federal government to nag people about their private lives. Do you? The extreme, right-wing Republican Party thinks it hears such a demand, but that's only because the Republican elite is only listening to a radical fringe of the far right-wing. The Republican elite is so far out of touch with Middle America that they actually believe that having the federal government intrude in people's private lives is a good idea.
A Defense of Marriage Alternative
I've got an alternative to building a giant federal government marriage bureaucracy. If we truly want to encourage the strength of American marriages, lets take all the hundreds of billions of dollars that the Republicans want to spend on new wars around the world, establishing a glass-domed colony on the moon, providing special tax giveaways to giant corporations and the richest 1 percent of Americans, and starting new programs to give Americans marital advice, and spend that money instead on full funding of a university or community college education for every young American who qualifies for admission.
Doing so would ensure that young Americans would be 1) alive, 2) on Earth, 3) mature and educated enough to make wise decisions, and 4) financially stable. These are the conditions that enable a good marriage to take place, and these are the conditions that the U.S. government should help young people to achieve.
There are few guarantees in marriage, but there is one thing I know for sure. Married couples are most successful when people and organizations outside the marriage butt-out and don't try to meddle, nag and make demands.
If you really want to defend marriage, the first course of action you should take is to vote to put Democrats in the House of Representatives, Senate and White House this fall. Marriage needs to be defended from the Republicans who think they can use the power of government to tell people who they should marry, and when and how they ought to get married.
Tell those Republicans that the institution of marriage will do just fine without government intervention, thank you.
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