The invocation of Ronald Reagan’s legacy is a tactic utilized by the Right to more or less humanize their devastating Draconian cuts to basic health and human services, including mental healthcare. This is quite astonishing as Reagan was, perhaps, the most inhumane leader with regards to caring for the least among us and those with legitimate mental health issues. The party of Jesus, (GOP) as we all know, acts quite contrary to his teachings. Monies are always cut in mental healthcare (ESPECIALLY FOR WAR VETERANS) and redirected to fund more private, for-profit prisons instead of properly helping those in need. The unfortunate consequence of defunding such programs have a dire impact on the afflicted and their families. The lack of stable housing and work will certainly exacerbate and create depression and mental illness, substance abuse, family break-up, and crime.
Here are the facts:
•In 1978, HUD’s budget was over $83 billion.
•In 1983, HUD’s budget was only $18 billion.
•In 1983, general public emergency shelters began opening in cities nationwide.
•In 1987, Congress passed the Stewart B. McKinney Act, providing $880 million in homeless assistance funding (2004 constant dollars).
•In short, Reagan deliberately created “homelessness” by cutting $65 billion of housing money and replacing it with $880 million in shelter funding.
The lost funding has never been replaced, and the percentage of low-cost/subsidized housing has been dropping ever since. 100,000 units of low-cost housing have been lost since 1996 alone. When Reagan defunded mental health care and threw the mentally ill onto the streets, he was saying it was not his problem and the American people went along as he de-railed what was an improving situation for those with mental health issues. Now, more than thirty years hence (and countless massacres by those possibly afflicted with mental illness), the GOP/NRA is suddenly saddled with immense concern for the mental well-being of Americans.
The NRA and most of the GOP is obsessed with trying to minimize all the devastation caused by military-style, high ammunition-capacity firearms. They pervertedly believe this problem will be alleviated by fewer restrictions on guns, and accessories which facilitate mass killings. Add this to their shameful history of defunding, defrauding and devastating mental healthcare and we can predict exactly what they’ll do for those needing psychological care and protecting the innocent: absolutely NOTHING.
Another issue the pharmacy-subsidizing GOP (and often Democrats too) won’t address is the over-medication of our children for behavior issues. The pharmaceutical industry has profited immensely from these psychostimulants readily prescribed for ADD and ADHD diagnoses. Without long-term study and the lack of reporting on the matter, we don’t know how adversely they will impact brain chemistry into adulthood.
Maybe it’s not video games or movies that cause these unfathomably egregious acts of violence. Maybe it’s because, according to the United Nations, the U.S. produces and consumes about 85 percent of the world’s methylphenidate (Ritalin). Also commonly prescribed, SSRIs (Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors or serotonin-specific re-uptake inhibitor) are a class of medications which have been shown to be a commonality among those who commit violent acts in schools. People who have used these medications might not be the best candidates for ordering a personal arsenal of military-grade weapons and ammo. Perhaps the NRA’s definition of someone who should pass a background check needs some work. As proposed by our President, maybe no one should own weapons the military uses which are specifically designed not just to kill, but to obliterate other human beings en masse.
Studies with regards to mental health issues and guns must include the socioeconomic factors of poverty, the insanely unfair for-profit prison system and the highly subsidized pharmaceutical industry that receives an obscene amount of corporate welfare. Restrictions and regulations are the enemies of Republicans, as they firmly believe both impinge on capitalism and “job-creation.” Since this tenuous concern of the GOP is so very obvious both historically and currently in the areas of mental healthcare matters, shouldn’t they be omitted from the decision-making process? As one who firmly believes history repeats itself when the lessons are not learned from the past, I believe the GOP/NRA-ILA is the last group who should debate and legislate this matter. We all know how anti-education they’ve proven themselves to be as they have embarrassingly omitted unpleasant facts and re-written history in our children’s textbooks. They’ll do the same thing to our mentally impaired citizens as they did to the Iraqi people: attack and destroy them simply because they have the power to do so.