Monday, March 26, 2012

Mine, Not Yours, Politics

That winger/pinko divide gapes wide.

I've long asserted that the very literal types tend to be right wing. It's damned hard to get consensus among them and lefties who tend to weigh and accommodate subtlety.

Now in the current economic blues, the variation on disparity falls clearly to those who play zero-sum games. Like kindergarten kids, what they have and want are reasonable. What others want better not be cutting into their "stuff." If someone else gets something, that's not fair!

Many pundit sorts have noted the most obvious form of this. The self-identified Tea Party types tend to be older, often in retirement. As their parents did, they take Social Security payments, Medicare and such, and before that, there were likely GI Bill or similar grants, subsidized mortgages, dirt-cheap college money and on and on.

They are quick they claim they earned every penny and deserve what they got and get. That's not so clean and easy. Absolutely the WWII and Korean generations and likely the early Boomers end up with more than they put in the funds for such benefits.

Now the real problem comes when someone else is due benefits. To those who have long ridden on dearly subsidized highways, disguising the true societal cost of their personal vehicles, to those who have otherwise benefited in myriad ways from federal and state largess, much becomes welfare.

That term drips with disdain and is the cover for inhuman rejection of the commonweal by many, including the GOP POTUS candidates. That calumny might comprise:

  • extended unemployment benefits
  • prenatal care
  • child care, even if necessary for one or both parents to be able to work
  • special education programs
  • food stamps
  • subsidized housing

Basically those most comfortable and secure through direct governmental payments want to deny them to others. They call such payments unfair, welfare, and worse.

Let's not even get into how the very wealthy got and maintain their fortunes with tax rules written by their peers. Much as their lesser grousers claim they deserve all they get, the most privileged allege they earned all their wealth and society should praise their mere existence...and right now.

It seems too painful to the I've-got-mine folk to admit this dichotomy.They would have it that what they get is fair and what others get is not. It makes no difference whether they are dumb or willfully ignorant. The effect is the same.

In Congress, many are willing to play the winger game. There are some who act as conscience, and remind the others of how America grew, of our obligations to those who were not raised in privilege, and even what our various sacred texts teach us.

It was, after all, deist (maybe theist) Thomas Jefferson, who wrote, "Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that his justice cannot sleep forever."

With no small irony that came with this fear. He wrote denouncing slavery and had wanted such condemnation in the Declaration of Independence. Yet, he owned slaves, fathered children with one and did not free his own.

We are not caught in such times spanning Colonialism, exploration, slavery, and pending civil war. Like so many cultures before and around us, we are certain our troubles are profound, unique and crucial. Instead, we have before us clear choices.

We must choose to better the lot of those without assured comfortable futures.That is the American way.

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