“The bigger the government gets, the smaller the people get.”
John Boehner said this on June 29 interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Apparently we have gotten so small in Boehner’s eyes that we are no bigger than ants. If not us directly, all the financial woes caused by this most recent recession, caused in part by no ant-sized recklessness of our banks and financial institutions. But we can debate that all day.
On March 3, 2010, I sent a letter to every Senator and Congressman in Ohio, letting them know that Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield had just raised my health insurance premiums by 21.8%. In addition, I expressed support for the current bill and urged each to vote for it, but also:
Health care in its current state is unsustainable and is robbing the average family of economic choice. I encourage you to explore a public option and single payer system, where health care is a right of citizenship, not a privilege. We’re not asking for “free health care” just freedom from the private health insurance system that is bleeding us slowly to death.
In response, Rep. Boehner’s office sent back a reply, thanking me for my opposition to health care reform. I’m not sure whether he actually read the letter or if every letter regarding health care reform got a “Hell, No!” response. Regardless, he dismissed me like one would flick away an ant at a picnic. I now know why.
Rep. Boehner should perhaps be reminded that ants have a high degree of socialization, can solve complex problems and are not afraid of swarming anyone or anything that attacks one of their own. Their success as a species is attributed to their ability to modify habitats, tap resources, and defend themselves. They are able to carry 10-50 times their own weight, depending on the species. In short, ants are not to be trifled with nor do they deserve to be belittled.
I am speaking metaphorically, of course, and I am aware of how much stretching I’m doing here with the metaphor. But I don’t think it is a big stretch to say it is clear that the GOP regards most of this countries’ citizens who disagree with them as “ants” to be flicked away. With their recent dismissal of health care reform, their denying long-term unemployment to millions for whom there just are no jobs and the recent attitude toward BP and the financial corporations, it is not a giant leap to assert that they believe citizens as individuals matter less than the giant corporations that magically feeds the “real economy.”
One ant alone would probably not make a difference. In 2008, Barack Obama was able to rally the ants into voting him the 44th President of the United States. It seems pretty clear from Boehner’s remarks that we need the ants to rally again as pundits ask, ‘How long can White House keep Boehner’s “ant” crack alive?,’ playing this out like it is some sort of game.
No matter how small the GOP and Boehner think we are, us “ants” need to show up and vote in November.
*Extra points if you know the reference to the graphic used in this article. Lots of extra points if you can connect it with Glenn Beck’s recent antics.