You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Young: Vipers of the echo chamber


“Indy, why does the floor move?”

“Hand me the torch.”

In “Raiders of the Lost Arc,” Indiana Jones deals with a cavernous well filled with snakes — and with flame as his only ally.

That scene comes to mind as the 115th Congress coils itself to strike at things that help a lot of Americans.

Congressional Republicans have designs that have fermented in darkened catacombs for decades. Almost every idea would harm those who need help and help those who don’t.

In President Trump they see their signal to strike with velocity and ferocity.

Ah, an opening for those who have resided so comfortably in their Fox News/Breitbart echo chamber, their seats gerrymandered out of the reach of actual democracy.

Their first and fondest hope is to wreck and repeal the Affordable Care Act. This despite the fact that four out of five people surveyed by the Kaiser Family Foundation say Congress should not repeal it without a fully vetted alternative.

Then there are the 20 million Americans who have health coverage because of it.

No wonder Donald Trump is hedging on how far he wants to go with this. The ACA has been the white whale of the harpoonists. As Herman Melville writes about Captain Ahab and a certain marine mammal: It matters not that the ACA has helped millions; “all evil” is “visibly personified” in Obamacare.

Speaking of maniacal crusades: Republicans have Planned Parenthood in their sights again, with House Speaker Paul Ryan saying that the new Congress will defund it. Such a move would have catastrophic consequences.

The Congressional Budget Office says that 400,000 women would lose access to health care, as Planned Parenthood clinics serve a multitude of health-care purposes, like disease prevention, cancer screenings and prenatal services.

Republicans say the $400 million yanked from Planned Parenthood could go elsewhere, but there’s no entity on the planet better suited or more willing to serve low-income women.

GOP leaders cannot snap their fingers and assume that the needs now served well by funding Planned Parenthood will be served by any other entity. Of course, they couldn’t care less.

Abortion? Ever dollar yanked from Planned Parenthood is one fewer dollar that will help women of meager means avoid unwanted pregnancies, meaning never ever having to ponder abortion.

Planned Parenthood prevents more abortions than any anti-abortion picketer, pompous preacher or religious-right lawmaker ever has or ever will.

These are realities that concerned Americans must express loudly and clearly. They must write. They must email and call. They must march. And let’s understand: The people can still be heard in Washington.

That’s what happened when schemers in the Republican House Caucus Room (“Temple of Doom” is copyrighted) attempted to lay waste to the Office of Congressional Ethics in a way that would make any disciplinary action secretive and toothless.

After a giant uproar — and a tweet from Trump about congressional priorities — the House GOP pulled the idea off the table.

What a slithery move. The Republicans hoped it would go unnoticed. Ultimately, though, it was the only thing that got noticed at all about the launch of the 115th Congress.

By the way, expect the GOP to attempt the ethics maneuver again. When you govern like corporations do, you confine untidy matters to the board room. But, of course, government is not like that.

A lot of Americans feel powerless at this alarming moment. They need to snap out of it.

In the movie, Indiana Jones fears snakes as much as anything — yet in the face of fanged adversaries he doesn’t lose his hat. Americans and a free press must hold the torch to this emboldened brood.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

Letters to the editor: April 27, 2017
Letters to the editor: April 27, 2017

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams launched an attack on consumer financial protection by attempting to block an important rule for prepaid debit cards. The rule, issued in October by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, provides safeguards for those who use prepaid cards to make purchases and manage their money. In addition to protections against loss...
Nowrasteh: SB4 aimed at ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ is wrong for Texas
Nowrasteh: SB4 aimed at ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ is wrong for Texas

President Trump’s focus on immigration enforcement has filtered down to the state-level in Texas. The State Senate passed Sen. Charles Perry’s (R-Lubbock) controversial bill, Senate Bill 4, in February. SB4 would penalize every so-called “sanctuary jurisdiction,” which includes cities, counties and universities who do not honor...
Misguided faith in government is unlearned lesson of LA riots

This weekend marks 100 days of the Trump administration. This milestone also coincides with a very important anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, riots exploded in Los Angeles after four policemen were acquitted in the violent beating of Rodney King. Sixty-three lives were lost in the riots, with the estimated total economic cost pegged at $1 billion...
U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud
U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud

Economists at a prominent think tank based in Washington, D.C. last week reported that a full repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would boost the economy by 1 percent and generate $340 billion in federal revenue over a 10-year period. Dodd-Frank, as it is called for short, was passed by the Democrat controlled Congress...
Letters to the editor: April 26, 2017
Letters to the editor: April 26, 2017

I get it. We like blowing stuff up. It’s a primal attraction. Explosives are powerful — but indiscriminate. Fourteen states are using cyanide bombs to kill wildlife — and Texas leads the country in animal deaths by sodium cyanide M-44s. Thousands of coyotes, foxes, possums, raccoons and skunks meet their end this way in our state...
More Stories