I’ve tried hard to think of what the future will bring of the GOP tax decision. What has kept coming back to mind is the Greek tragedies. They were usually concerning man’s hubris in the face of his successes.
Rather than consider what today’s Saturday Night Live, Stephen Colbert, Trevor Noah, Anderson Cooper, or Seth Meyers will be saying, what would the erudite newscasters of the 1950s and ‘60s have said? Eric Sevareid, a World War II war correspondent and CBS commentator for 12 years, would have definitely resorted to the Greek playwrights. His quote at the end of the CBS evening news would probably mention Sophocles’ “Antigone,” and how an autocratic ruler loses his way by his hubris and lack of empathy and humility. As Antigone says to Creon, “Is your law higher than that of the gods?”
Our Constitution was originally without a plan for eliminating corruption of our leadership; anticorruption words were put back in again at the end. Corruption can come in many forms. That the GOP openly admitted they had to pass this promised tax reduction in order to gain “continued” donations from their wealthy patrons, smacks of a quid pro quo. They have definitely kept their promise to these wealthy individuals at the expense of many the rest of us and by pushing our nation further into debt.
In “Antigone” there is only one autocrat, Creon. In our country we only have at best, a half of a democracy. It appears that the GOP has admitted they see us as a plutocratic oligarchy; a nation ruled by few wealthy individuals who rule over the largest corporations. This fear of both political parties being ruled as puppets of this oligarchy is what drove many voters to Donald Trump. The trouble is, he’s not the one who will fight against plutocrats and drain the swamp; he is one of them.
The fact that the Republican Party began sharpening its knives for cutting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security even before the final vote on the tax change, tells us much. They are in a state of hubris, where it appears they will immediately point out that our nation is too far in debt and piously announce that we now need to cut benefits in order to balance a budget. The problem is, much of our future debt will be due to their tax cuts. Hypocrisy is the term normally used for such deceit.
In “Antigone” we see where success can lead to calamity. Creon executes his future daughter-in-law for violating his law against burying her brother. As a result, his son commits suicide due to the loss of his betrothed and then so does his wife in her grief of losing her only son and heir. Creon has his way, but at the expense of losing everything of value in his life. The GOP may find their tax cut victory a pyrrhic one and not a green light to cutting all the social safety nets built up over the last 80 years. Their lack of empathy for the poor, aged, and unemployed without health care, could backfire with the electorate.
Oscar Wilde would have summed it up with, “Be careful what you wish for.”
In short, their hubris at having made our corporations wealthier by the lack of empathy for the rest of us, may lead to their undoing, much as it did in the Greek tragedies. It will be interesting to see how the electorate likes the new tax policy once all the hidden impact is felt and when the Republican Party then moves to cut benefits for the 99.9 percent of us.
Will we all be excited as Paul Ryan suggested when we see a dollar and fifty cent per week raise in pay, while he collects a million dollars in donations? Will this donated money from the upper .1 percent be successful in keeping the GOP in power? We may not be wealthy patrons, but we still have a vote come November.