Oct 302013
 

The topic of the cognitive dissonance amongst far-right conservatives has been on my mind a lot lately, and was brought to a head a week or so ago in a discussion on Facebook with someone I went to high school with all those many years ago. The point of view of the tea-baggers seems to be that they are entitled to government benefits, but everyone else who ever gets help is a freeloader (a taker).

I’ve long been amazed by how the wealthy have convinced a large segment of the middle class to vote against their own economic best interests. They elect representatives who are committed to dismantling the social safety net we’ve built in this country, and removing any accountability for businesses based on some claim about it being all about capitalism. They go from their claims that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, to claiming it was founded on capitalist principles, to the claim that we are a democracy. Not only are these three mostly mutually exclusive, they are just wrong. The founders formed a constitutional republic.

If we are a national founded on Christian principles, then we would be pretty much as Socialist society, as that’s what Jesus went through Galilee setting up in the villages throughout…places were all would share whatever they had, “each to his own needs.” We certainly would not treat the poor and aged like the Republican Tea-Baggers want to treat them today. There’s that troubling Biblical passage all about, “inasmuch as you’ve done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

During the time of truly unregulated capitalism, our nation produced the extremely wealthy robber barons, and the poor. There was no middle class. We are not a democracy, but a Republic where the weak and minorities have the same rights as the majority, and the majority can’t take that from them, but just today there was a story of a Texas state representative who said he would vote to restore slavery if his constituents wanted it.

Entitlement-Comic-frontBarney Frank famously said, “Government is what we decide to do together.” If we do hold to our supposed Christian morals, or have a shred of human decency, we take care of one another, especially, “the least among us.” It is what the New Deal was all about. It is why Social Security has kept millions of elderly from eating cat food, and living on the streets. It is why Medicare was established, so our elders have some sense that they can live out their days without pain and crippling disease. We have decided to do all these things together, because no one or two or three of us can solve the problems of poverty, homelessness, quality education, medical care for the poor, help for those who lose a job, or become disabled.

The Tea-baggers have allowed their wealthy over-lords to convince them that somehow, through the magic of charity, these people and problems will be taken care of…for those who deserve care, but that will be a small number, as most people don’t deserve those kinds of benefits…the takers…who happens to be everyone but “them.”

Almost daily, one of the people I’ve friended on Facebook posts items about government spending on entitlements, mostly based on information easily proven false. Just a bit of research is all it would take, but this person is so deeply engrained in their belief system about all the “takers.” Yet, he is the recipient of some government assistance, and has been for some time. Fortunately, it gives him plenty of time to attend local Republican events and rally’s, watch lots of Faux News, and post angry and baseless attacks on our “Muslim” President.

If you’ve followed the blog, you are aware that in 2011 my Methodist Church adopted an inclusive welcome statement. This year, that statement was unilaterally rescinded by a new bigoted pastor we were sent. I was having a discussion with a member of the Church Council, and he was arguing the new statement “all are welcome” was much better, because we should be past the need to single out individual categories (which, while a noble aspiration, certainly is not where we are), and that besides, where do we stop with which groups we single out. He had the nerve to claim that, as a “while male,” (and I’m sure he would have added “straight” if he wasn’t talking to me) he often felt discriminated against. I had to work mightily to not laugh in his face as I asked, “So you’re telling me that, as a white male in the Methodist Church, you feel you are the victim of discrimination?” I think he realized how utterly stupid he sounded, as he basically didn’t answer the question.

But the icing on the cake came a couple of weeks ago in a Facebook conversation. Someone had attacked Obama Care, and then later in the comment thread, this same person, had the following to say:

“Since I have not worked in a year due to my cancer surgery and my accident so I lost my BC/BS of Illinois so now I am on Medi-Caid, I feel like a democrat, I went to the doc for $3, my meds were $3, I went to the dentist today and got my bridge glued back in and a cleaning…again, $3.”

Well good for him. I’m glad that, we as a people, decided to provide a program that would make his life a little easier when he found himself in this situation. But, some people can’t leave well enough alone. He continues a little further down:

“I feel bad enough knowing I paid in and need to use it early but that is what it’s for but if I had not paid in one dime I would be living off the backs of other hard-working Americans and the guilt would be great.”

You know, because it’s only Democrats who “live off the backs” of all the hardworking Republicans. All Republicans are just good hardworking entrepreneurs creating all the new jobs. They are never those born to wealth and power that have no clue about being entrepreneurs. They just wind up on the Boards of Directors of these huge conglomerates…who outsource American jobs, take corporate welfare from the U.S. Government, and pay little to no corporate taxes. I’ve got news for this guy…I feel like wealth Republicans are living off my hardworking back.

But of course, it’s all about Obama and this “taking” culture we now have. As this person had to say, “I have a hard time with a safety net for those who don’t participate but I guess that’s the kinda country we are now.” You know because he’s one of the few who “participated,” and everyone else is a black or Hispanic lying around their house all day squeezing out babies. [/snark]

These are really the people who feel “entitled.” They think it is everyone else, but they are the ones with the entitlement attitude. They all, each of them, believe they are the only one deserving of any government assistance, because they worked. If this is the land of personal responsibility they imagine it to be, then why weren’t they responsible enough to have money saved to cover unexpected events like a disability? Why didn’t they have enough saved up to cover their medical bills, or at least a pre-Obama Care private health insurance policy?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand how they likely did the best they could, and had a run of bad luck, but don’t expect so much more from everyone else than you’re prepared to lay on yourself. Are there people who abuse the programs we have in place for the truly needy…sure. No argument from me, but there are also plenty of wealthy Republicans gaming the system also, but they’re job creators, not the jerks who didn’t pay this guy enough to build a nice contingency fund, nor provide him affordable healthcare.

Seriously, it’s time for people like these folks to realize they are the ones acting like they’re entitled to something. No, you didn’t “pay in.” You paid for the people who had your misfortune while you were working, and now I’m paying for you to have those benefits. I don’t sit around and gripe about, and accuse you of being an irresponsible ne’er do well.

The topic of the cognitive dissonance amongst far-right conservatives has been on my mind a lot lately, and was brought to a head a week or so ago in a discussion on Facebook with someone I went to high school with all those many years ago. The point of view of the tea-baggers seems to be that they are entitled to government benefits, but everyone else who ever gets help is a freeloader (a taker).

I’ve long been amazed by how the wealthy have convinced a large segment of the middle class to vote against their own economic best interests.  They elect representatives who are committed to dismantling the social safety net we’ve built in this country, and removing any accountability for businesses based on some claim about it being all about capitalism.  They go from their claims that the United States was founded as a Christian nation, to claiming it was founded on capitalist principles, to the claim that we are a democracy. Not only are these three mostly mutually exclusive, they are just wrong. The founders formed a constitutional republic.

If we are a national founded on Christian principles, then we would be pretty much as Socialist society, as that’s what Jesus went through Galilee setting up in the villages throughout…places were all would share whatever they had, “each to his own needs.” We certainly would not treat the poor and aged like the Republican Tea-Baggers want to treat them today. There’s that troubling Biblical passage all about, “inasmuch as you’ve done it unto the least of these, you have done it unto me.”

During the time of truly unregulated capitalism, our nation produced the extremely wealthy robber barons, and the poor. There was no middle class. We are not a democracy, but a Republic where the weak and minorities have the same rights as the majority, and the majority can’t take that from them, but just today there was a story of a Texas state representative who said he would vote to restore slavery if his constituents wanted it.

Barney Frank famously said, “Government is what we decide to do together.” If we do hold to our supposed Christian morals, or have a shred of human decency, we take care of one another, especially, “the least among us.” It is what the New Deal was all about. It is why Social Security has kept millions of elderly from eating cat food, and living on the streets. It is why Medicare was established, so our elders have some sense that they can live out their days without pain and crippling disease. We have decided to do all these things together, because no one or two or three of us can solve the problems of poverty, homelessness, quality education, medical care for the poor, help for those who lose a job, or become disabled.

The Tea-baggers have allowed their wealthy over-lords to convince them that somehow, through the magic of charity, these people and problems will be taken care of…for those who deserve care, but that will be a small number, as most people don’t deserve those kinds of benefits…the takers…who happens to be everyone but “them.”

Almost daily, one of the people I’ve friended on Facebook posts items about government spending on entitlements, mostly based on information easily proven false. Just a tiny bit of research is all it would take, but this person is so deeply engrained in their belief system about all the “takers.” Yet, he himself is the recipient of some government assistance, and has been for some time. Fortunately, it gives him plenty of time to attend local Republican events and rally’s, watch lots of Faux News, and post angry and baseless attacks on our “Muslim” President.

If you’ve followed the blog, you are aware that in 2011 my Methodist Church adopted an inclusive welcome statement. This year, that statement was unilaterally rescinded by a new bigoted pastor we were sent. I was having a discussion with a member of the Church Council, and he was arguing the new statement “all are welcome” was much better, because we should be past the need to single out individual categories (which, while a noble aspiration, certainly is not where we are), and that besides, where do we stop with which groups we single out. He had the nerve to claim that, as a “while male,” (and I’m sure he would have added “straight” if he wasn’t talking to me) he often felt discriminated against. I had to work mightily to not laugh in his face as I asked, “So you’re telling me that, as a white male in the Methodist Church, you feel you are the victim of discrimination?” I think he realized how utterly stupid he sounded, as he basically didn’t answer the question.

But the icing on the cake came a couple of weeks ago in a Facebook conversation. Someone had attacked Obama Care, and then later in the comment thread, this same person, had the following to say:

“Since I have not worked in a year due to my cancer surgery and my accident so I lost my BC/BS of Illinois so now I am on Medi-Caid, I feel like a democrat, I went to the doc for $3, my meds were $3, I went to the dentist today and got my bridge glued back in and a cleaning…again, $3.”

Well good for him. I’m glad that, we as a people, decided to provide a program that would make his life a little easier when he found himself in this situation. But, some people can’t leave well enough alone. He continues a little further down:

“I feel bad enough knowing I paid in and need to use it early but that is what it’s for but if I had not paid in one dime I would be living off the backs of other hard working Americans and the guilt would be great.”

You know, because it’s only Democrats who “live off the backs” of all the hardworking Republicans. All Republicans are just good hardworking entrepreneurs creating all the new jobs. They are never those born to wealth and power that have no clue about being entrepreneurs. They just wind up on the Boards of Directors of these huge conglomerates…who outsource American jobs, take corporate welfare from the U.S. Government, and pay little to no corporate taxes. I’ve got news for this guy…I feel like wealth Republicans are living off my hardworking back.

But of course, it’s all about Obama and this “taking” culture we now have. As this person had to say, “I have a hard time with a safety net for those who don’t participate but I guess that’s the kinda country we are now.” You know because he’s one of the few who “participated,” and everyone else is a black or Hispanic laying around their house all day squeezing out babies. [/snark]

These are really the people who feel “entitled.” They think it is everyone else, but they are the ones with the entitlement attitude. They all, each of them, believe they are the only one deserving of any government assistance, because they worked. If this is the land of personal responsibility they imagine it to be, then why weren’t they responsible enough to have money saved to cover unexpected events like a disability? Why didn’t they have enough saved up to cover their medical bills, or at least a pre-Obama Care private health insurance policy?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand how they likely did the best they could, and had a run of bad luck, but don’t expect so much more from everyone else than you’re prepared to lay on yourself. Are there people who abuse the programs we have in place for the truly needy…sure. No argument from me, but there are also plenty of wealthy Republicans gaming the system also, but they’re job creators, not the jerks who didn’t pay this guy enough to build a nice contingency fund, nor provide for him affordable healthcare.

Seriously, it’s time for people like these folks to realize they are the ones acting like they’re entitled to something. No, you didn’t “pay in.” You paid for the people that had your misfortune while you were working, and now I’m paying for you to have those benefits. I don’t sit around and gripe about, and accuse you of being an irresponsible ne’er do well.

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