NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED
By Akin Ojumu
After months of internecine wrangling between progressives and moderate congressional Democrats, in a rather ugly process of legislative sausage making that nearly torpedoed President Biden's economic agenda, the US Congress eventually passed the infrastructure bill with bipartisan votes on November 5, 2021. The $1.2 trillion historic legislation will make major investments in core infrastructure priorities including roads and bridges, rail, transit, ports, airports, the electric grid, and broadband.
Touting the legislation in a statement released by the White House shortly after its passage, President Biden said, “The Bipartisan Infrastructure legislation will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind. The legislation will also help ease inflationary pressures and strengthen supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail, and roads. It will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years."
The legislation, titled the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (“IIJA”) is like a Christmas Tree of some of the Democratic Party program wishes and dreams. The IIJA will:
(1) Provide funding for repair of dilapidated roads and crumbling bridges – $110 billion
(2) Appropriate money for modernizing the transit and rail systems – $39 billion
(3) Invest in broadband upgrade – $65 billion
(4) Upgrade airports, ports and waterways – $42 billion
(5) Build electric vehicles & nationwide charging stations - $15 billion
(6) Improve power and water systems – $170 billion
(7) Invest in environmental remediation - $21 billion
One of 13 House Republicans who joined House Democrats to pass the infrastructure package, which is an essential part of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda, was Congressman Fred Upton of Michigan. Shortly after the bill was passed, the conservative Congressman began receiving death threats and vile phone calls from angry MAGA mob.
Below is one of such phone calls. It is a voicemail left by a caller who was so angry he could hardly marshal his thoughts to meaningfully enunciate his thoughts. All he could do was spit out a barrage of f-bombs and curses.
“F…ing traitor. That’s what you are. You’re a f…ing piece of shit traitor. I hope you die. I hope everybody in your f…ing family dies. You f…ing piece of shit trash motherf….r. Voted for dumbass f…ing Biden? You’re stupider than he is. He can’t even complete a f…ing sentence, you dumb motherf….r, traitor, piece of shit, motherf….r, piece of trash. I hope you f…ing die. I hope your f…ing family dies. I hope your staff dies. You f…ing piece of f…ing shit. Traitor!”
For daring to cross party lines to do what’s right for the country, Representative Upton brought the wrath of the MAGA crowd upon himself. The mere fact that he, for once in his rather unremarkable career in Congress, had the audacity to put nation above party and for refusing to march in lockstep with the rest of the QAnon loonies, Fred Upton became a pariah and a target of attack from the right-wing nutcases.
If you were looking for evidence of how toxic and polarized politics in America has become, you need not look any further. What a politician gets these days for acting like a true patriot is a bunch of clowns who'd love nothing more than to chop off his head to show off as trophy to their unpatriotic compatriots.
The days of doing what is right by the country are long gone. In the age of the man with the god complex, no good political deed ever goes unpunished. Ever since the narcissist descended the golden elevator and stepped into the American political waters, the simple civic act of voting according to one’s conscience has become extinct. These days, the longevity and durability of the political career of a Republican politician is determined by whether or not he signed on to the Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen.
Mendacity is a miasma that decimates powerful nations. In the course of human history, no nation in which such deadly poison coursed through its political veins has ever survived. Before our eyes, a mortally wounded nation is struggling at the throes of death. How long the American democracy can remain resilient enough to endure this assault is left to be seen. We do not need an oracle to tell us, however, that these may be last days of a once great nation.