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Rescue America from Rick Scott

— March 21, 2022

Senator Rick Scott (R-FL), author of the Rescue America plan, thinks you should know what he’d like to do to the country. And so you should!

With the Ukraine war sucking all the air out of the room, there are a number of important issues being under-reported by the media. Problems, both newly minted and in the form of cans kicked down the road for generations, are converging. However, Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) has come up with an 11-point “Rescue America” plan that aims to fix all the problems he perceives with our beleaguered country. Scott’s plan deserves to be more widely known across this great country so that everyday Americans can get a real picture of how it would attempt to help them overcome their pain points, tackle the issues they care about, and change their lives.

First, “education.” An educated society can make better decisions about the future as well as solve the world’s pressing problems. What will Scott’s plan do to help? Well, kids would have to begin reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Patriotic education will help kids realize what a great country the United States of America is. As Scott explains, it’s important to avoid indoctrinating children with any political ideology. If that statement gave you whiplash, given the history of the Pledge as pure political indoctrination, you’re not alone. Scott would also ban teaching K-12 kids about a graduate degree-level legal concept interrogating the history of America’s legalized caste system and how it intersects with public policy and the perpetuation of institutionalized Othering in ways that deprive Americans of equal treatment under the law. If this is not something you’re familiar with, don’t worry: Rick Scott probably doesn’t know about it either.

The second item in the Rescue America plan is “color blind equality.” Here, Scott yanks a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. quote, kicking and screaming out of its context, to explain why it’s important to stop acknowledging race and ethnicity in our culture. By discontinuing any kind of diversity-related practices, Scott’s America will magically start getting along and singing Kumbaya together in perfect harmony.

Third, “safety and crime,” because if a Republican platform can’t capitalize on fear, it wouldn’t be worth publishing. “We will enforce our laws,” he says. “All of them.” (Except, presumably, the ones he tells us later he doesn’t like.) Scott would “increase penalties for theft and violent crime,” which carries heavy implications when Black men are far more likely to be stopped without cause, arrested, and later incarcerated, due to the biased perception of law enforcement officers, who Scott calls “the good guys.” (Will that change when abandoning diversity training stops us from seeing color, or will Black men still be perceived as unduly scary, worthy of extrajudicial execution for such crimes as talking on a cell phone, carrying iced tea, or lawfully owning a firearm?)

You can probably guess how the Rescue America plan deals with point number four, “immigration.” Trump’s rusting, falling-over border wall will be finished and named after him. Scott would also employ the American military in a domestic context by using troops to patrol the wall.

Number five is “growth/economy.” How does Scott plan to grow the economy for everybody? First, nobody gets any help unless they are disabled, “aggressively” seeking work, a victim of a natural disaster, or a business that can privatize part of the commons in order to make a profit from it. That means no federal money for the States save for disaster aid. There would be no more debt ceiling increases, so the United States would finally default on its national debt and initiate knockdown effects that would shag the economy. And Scott would increase taxes on the very poorest, the families who have trouble scrounging up enough change to feed their kids when school (and free lunches) are not in session, so that every American has “skin in the game.” As if they don’t already.

Six is “government reform and debt.” Scott would enact term limits on Congress and career bureaucrats, encouraging a constant stream of newbies to rely on lobbyists, who will serve as the remaining institutional memory in Washington, and who would be pleased as punch to write actual legislation for them to enact. The IRS would get cut by 50%, making it even harder to collect taxes from the very rich, although they’d still go after the nearly-destitute. Scott would also sell off all “non-essential government assets, buildings, and land.” Anybody want to buy Yellowstone, dirt cheap? Finally, all federal laws would sunset after five years. Even big ones, like Social Security or having a standing military. Scott is confident that “the good laws” would get re-passed every time, but can you imagine this happening in a legislature that can’t even agree that maybe we should protect ourselves and others from airborne infectious diseases?

Number seven, “fair, fraud-free elections” touchingly explores Republican faith in the Big Lie (the fairy tale that Trump really won in 2020) and does away with Democratic efforts to make voting more convenient for all Americans, mostly to make sure that the wrong ones (often working class people with crazy hours, people in rural areas who live far away from polling places, elderly and disabled people who may not make it to the polls or want to stand in line for hours, people who don’t own cars, etc.) are excluded in the name of inclusion.

Eight is “family.” The Rescue America plan will glorify the nuclear family, which Scott claims is “crucial to civilization” and “God’s Plan.” It’s fascinating how God’s plan for families so completely mirrors post-WWII social changes that tore apart longstanding, stable, traditional multigenerational extended-family households by causing them to fragment as smaller units moved around the country in search of jobs in the cities and newly-built suburbs. Scott would also rehash the baby scoop era by “not being afraid” to speak out against single motherhood, and paying for single, pregnant women to give birth if they give the baby up for adoption, another form of welfare which Scott doesn’t address in section five. Scott also tosses in a few “anti cyber porn child predator” chestnuts here, always popular with the righteous crowd (at least in public).

A smiling man in a dark suit.
Mitch McConnell is the only prominent Republican to come out emphatically against the Rescue Plan at the time of writing. Image has been cropped. Photo by Gage Skidmore, via Flickr. CC BY-SA 2.0

In point nine, Scott talks about “gender, life, science” by stating that he believes in the science of how God made men, women, and babies. Scott wants, as all civilized people should want, to “protect babies, born and unborn, from all acts of violence,” but this presumably doesn’t include immigrant babies, poor babies, or babies of races he doesn’t want us to see anymore. Scott also echoes the sudden interest of the Right wing in women’s sports, if it means they can kick down at the trans community by doing so.

Point ten of the Rescue America plan concerns itself with “religious liberty and big tech,” in which Scott defines “wokeness” as a religion instead of simply being aware of, and concerned with, injustice, and wanting to act better once one knows better, by exhibiting empathy with marginalized people. Scott would like social media platforms, in particular, to no longer censor or “cancel” people, which is going to be really interesting when they have to give voice to critics of the GOP more than they do. The punchline for this section is a reminder that the Second Amendment is there to protect the First, which reminds me of that time when the GOP was so afraid of scary Black Panthers exercising their Second Amendment rights that the NRA pressed for gun control.

At last, the final point that will Rescue America for sure: “America first.” The plan here is to become an island unto ourselves while demanding obeisance from the rest of the world, to show them that they need us and our shining leadership. This means ending the jobs programs for American business that are marketed as “foreign aid” (which supports American farmers and other industries, including weapons manufacturers). We’ll be ending all imports from China, so expect pretty much every big industry here in the States to be thrown into disarray, products to become more expensive, and lots of empty shelves at your favorite Big*Box store. Scott demands American energy independence, which will be interesting once we drill down and suck up the trivial amount of oil in a few remaining pockets like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and have to build a shit ton of solar panels and wind turbines domestically, and even then, not have the standard of living we once did. There’s also some blah-blah here about how “the weather is always changing” showing he knows sweet jack-all about climate.

While Scott’s solutions are not the official GOP platform (which, as far as I can tell, is still officially “Whatever The Donald wants,” since the official GOP platform link simply leads to a PDF of the organizational rules governing the Republican party), it’s also true that not too many Republicans are coming out to repudiate it. To his credit, Mitch McConnell dissed the plan for some of the right reasons, but it’s the closest thing to a platform that anyone in the GOP has put out there since 2016.

Scott has a few good ideas, to be sure. He wants to eliminate no-knock warrants in most cases, require the posting of all government bids and contracts publicly on the internet, and would require social media users to opt-in before tech companies are allowed to use or sell their personal information. Even a blind squirrel occasionally finds a nut, but these exceptions don’t compensate for the rest of the insanity Scott aims to foist on a country he claims to love.

If you regularly vote Republican, I’d encourage you to hop over and dig into the Rescue America plan and see if it offers you anything that would truly fix any of your problems, should it be enacted, or if it’s just another version of the long-running culture war, encouraging people to kick down at the powerless instead of punching up at the problems.

Related: Conservative Heroes


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