The following post was written by a friend who is a retired educator and deeply committed advocate for fair labor and public education. He asks a good question: what's wrong with those who continue to sell out the American Dream in exchange for a greedy handful of the same magic beans that got us into this mess?
What’s Wrong With You?
I am concerned about you. So many of the decisions you have been making lately haven’t been good for anyone—not even yourselves. The kind of things that make us human—compassion, acceptance, common sense—seem to be completely absent from your decision making processes, especially among your leaders.
Do you have collective amnesia? After we took nearly all the controls off your banker friends, they went berserk and crashed the economy. Now you want to eliminate the few controls that we managed to put back on them? Why? So they can crash the economy again? Don’t you remember we bailed them out while letting ordinary homeowners swing in the breeze? What keeps you from seeing that? What’s wrong with you?
Have you been dissed by a cantankerous senior? Has a toddler drooled some errant mucous on you? Has a handicapped person made you park five steps further away at Target? Those people--children, the sick, and the aged--bear the brunt of most of your hostile policy proposals. You want to repeal their health care, defund their schools and steal their pensions. Why? What’s wrong with you?
Did your public school teachers fail to teach you about democracy? About how a bill becomes a law? About the necessity for compromise in civil society? Any Republican lawmaker who even hints at compromising with other duly elected lawmakers of the other party is taken to the woodshed and thrashed. That’s why so many of them sound like punch drunk fighters standing their ground no matter what. That’s why they’ve voted three dozen times to do away with a health care law they don’t like and have completely ignored the job creation legislation that Americans so desperately need. What’s wrong with them? What’s wrong with you?
Are you having trouble telling right from wrong? In my state of Wisconsin, law enforcement has been busy arresting 80 year olds for the crime of singing. More than 100 lawbreakers so far and more every day. In North Carolina, Moral Mondays have produced about 1,000 arrests (and counting) as people try to stand in the way of Republicans intent on defunding schools, making unemployment compensation impossible to get (especially cruel in this jobless economy), and making the democratic act of voting as difficult as possible. Do you really think that arresting people who care deeply about their state and country is helpful? Why? What’s wrong with you?
Has your reading list become too narrow? Do you believe Atlas Shrugged should be in the nonfiction section? Do you only read the parts of the Old Testament that focus on retribution and ignore the Christian injunctions in the New Testament to care for “the least among us?” Your willingness to impose your religious beliefs on the rest of us, especially women, is deeply un-American. Look around you. The only other people intent on imposing their religious beliefs are in places like Egypt, Iran, and Pakistan. Don’t you see those countries aren’t good role models? What’s wrong with you?
Are you mesmerized by rich people? On their way to setting up new election rules so they can legally buy elections, have they convinced you that you won’t be the next one thrown under the bus? They’ve flatlined the incomes of working people, stolen their pensions, undercut their health care and undermined their schools. Do you really think the rich folks care about you? Good luck with that. What’s wrong with you?
Have you bought into the strange psychology that government is the root of every problem? Do you support the Republican threat to shut down the government this fall if Obama refuses to repeal health care? Shutting down government has real consequences for our country’s security, for old and sick people, for schools, for roads, for so many things of value. You wish to put everyone at risk so you can have one more vote on health care in the House of Representatives? Go ahead and do it. The whisper of ordinary people just trying to live their lives without the disruption of political drama is likely to rise to a shout.
They will be shouting. “WTF is wrong with you?”
You’d better have an answer.