Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Fighting Fires With Tax Cuts

We're fighting a nasty flu here in Canyon Country, while firefighters battle the fires all around us. Our air is full of fine particles, which are dangerous to breathe. Our kids aren't going out to recess. And as I read this morning's news, I find that many people are being told the firefighters simply don't have enough people to protect homes. Why? Because a great many firefighters are in Iraq—called up as reservists.

While they're over there protecting us from the dangerous weapons of mass destruction, over a thousand homes (and counting) have been destroyed, and our air quality resembles a chemical attack. Fire, the oldest weapon of mass destruction, is plowing through these neighborhoods, which are, ironically, mostly Republican. These people, whose homes are now being destroyed, mostly supported the action in Iraq, which destroyed so many Iraqi homes. These people, most of whom will probably vote for Bush again, probably don't make the connection between the man telling them there's not enough resources to save their home and the reservists sent to Iraq. They probably don't make the connection between their vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger and how his cut in the car tax will mean massive layoffs of the very firefighters he's praising today.

While these people sleep in gyms or in their cars packed with what they could save from their houses, will it sink in that we have to pay for all this? Or will they continue to buy the slickly marketed Republican snake oil tax cuts?

We have a friend in San Bernardino who's family lost their home to fire yesterday. She has breast cancer. Her son has health problems too. They barely get by, and now they have to suffer this. So when I hear talk of laying off firefighters and cops to pay for Arnold's tax cut, or when I hear that more reservists are going to be sent to Iraq, it makes me wonder how greedy Republicans can actually be. It makes me wonder how the party that likes to talk about values and safety and community could actually say "Screw all that, I want my tax cut." It makes me wonder if they can ever admit they were wrong about anything.

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