Thursday, September 29, 2005
I'm Sick of the Right's Self-Righteousness
A co-worker forwarded me an email he got from a "conservative Republican buddy" of his. The email said in part,
...it is hard to decide which politicians are more contemptible -- Democrats who are rediscovering poverty and blaming it on George W. Bush, or Republicans who are rediscovering poverty and claiming that the government can fix it. Both sides are unwilling to face reality: We haven't rediscovered poverty, we have rediscovered the underclass; the underclass has been growing during all the years that people were ignoring it, including the Clinton years; and the programs politicians tout as solutions are a mismatch for the people who constitute the problem.It got me a little worked up. I sent him the following reply. "...the underclass has been growing during all the years that people were ignoring it, including the Clinton years" Bzzzzzt! Wrong. The poverty rate dropped all through the Clinton Administration. There was a net increase in jobs. The number of people with health insurance increased. Median household income increased. The rate of home ownership increased over five times more under Clinton than under Bush. In other words, people were getting out of that "underclass". We had a budget surplus and were paying off the national debt, which is good for the economy and that's good for people who need economic opportunity. Since Bush took office, the poverty rate has increased. There's been a net job loss. The number of people with health insurance has gone down. Median household income decreased. The budget deficit and the national debt have exploded, which is bad for the economy and that's bad for people who need economic opportunity. You don't have to take my word for these statistics. Democrats aren't "rediscovering" the underclass, because they never lost sight of it. They're the party that's trying to preserve the safety net and to protect middle-income families from falling into poverty, who support the programs that help people get out of poverty. Republicans are claiming the government can fix poverty? They have a funny way of showing that, gutting the programs that provide job training, child care, higher education, and other opportunities for people to get out of poverty. Republican power broker Grover Norquist famously [infamously] said, "My goal is to cut government in half in twenty-five years, to get it down to the size where we can drown it in the bathtub." Mr. Norquist exceeded his goal by a few years, but it wasn't the government that drowned. It was a thousand people (and counting) along the Gulf Coast, because along with all those evil "entitlement" programs, he and his fellow rightwingers were starving programs that maintained the country's infrastructure. For the rightwingers, their own money is more important than other people's lives. It makes me wild that so many of those people claim to be Christians. I think they never opened the New Testament in their lives:
"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. "All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' "Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' "The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' "Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.' "Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?' "Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.' "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life." (Matthew 25:31-46)The rightwingers deny the government's Constitutional duty to "promote the general welfare", and they deny their personal duty to help the poor. I guess the poor are just supposed to follow Ebenezer Scrooge's advice to "die ... and decrease the surplus population."
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