|Image by elaine a via Flickr|
"I had an employer tell me of an overwhelming response for job openings," Georgia Republican Jack Kingston excreted in a statement the other day. "There was just one problem: half the people who applied could not even pass a drug test."
Sound familiar? It should. South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley made a similar baseless claim awhile back when proposing that those collection Unemployment Benefits should be drug tested, only to back down when her supposed source claimed to have said no such thing. Then there's the requirement that passed in Florida that all welfare applicants had to prove they weren't on drugs. By the time a federal judge put a stop to the policy on constitutional grounds, the amount of applicants who tested positive (including those who refused to take the test) was a third below the national average.
So why do these otherwise presumably (one would hope) intelligent people continue to make shit up? Especially when the media eventually gets around to proving the statements as baseless and unsubstantiated?
Two words: Class Warfare.
I know, these days you only seem to hear that phrase when Republicans speaks out to defend their rich friends and puppet-masters (and yes, the Democrats have them as well, so shut up) from accurate allegations of not paying enough taxes and rigging the system to their own benefit. But this is the Class Warfare the media doesn't feel the need to point out.
The point of these proposals and their false rationals isn't to actually to pass legislation. These politicians know that such restrictions won't pass and will not be tolerated by the system (at least, until it becomes completely corrupt, which might not be too far own the road). The game here is to get these statements out into the news cycle and spread the insinuation that those who are poor or unemployed aren't the victims of an economy completely shit-canned by greedy market manipulators and wealth-hoarding billionaires, but rather useless drug addicts attempting to leech off of society (and your hard-earned tax dollars, sir!) in between bong hits.
Because the unemployment problem and homeless problem and poverty problem aren't going away anytime soon the way these jackals are running things, and it's been dragging on so long that the min-numbed American population is starting to actually realize that these increasing numbers of destitute and needy people haven't simply been caused by a sudden spike in laziness and irresponsibility.
So these politicians need to distract and misinform through soundbites that are rarely followed quickly enough by corrections in this lightening-speed multimedia world. They need to confirm the ignorant beliefs held by their dwindling minority of steadfast supporters that other people's problems are nobody's fault but their own, and that anybody seeking help from the government is a moocher and a slacker. Because it isn't about fixing problems, it's about hiding them.
This is not an attack on the poor or the unemployed. It is much greater than that. This is an attack on the very foundation of a system designed to prevent America from descending into the depths of a caste system permanently separating the rich from the poor, and ensuring that the American Dream (whatever the hell that is) can no longer be reached by those at the bottom of the pile.
Welcome to the New America. It is arriving sooner that you might have expected.