Friday, March 28, 2008

GOP - Wrong on Poverty & Economy

1 Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,
2 Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people's poor of their rights, Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!
3 What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth
Isaiah Chapter 10

My wife and I are both disabled with MS so were on a fixed income; we have three boys at home and sometimes the money just doesn’t stretch very far. The increases in food and fuel prices are taking a big toll on those with fixed incomes. We’re hanging in there struggling to hold our heads above water. We’ve both learned to keep on treading (always tired).

Spokane has a pretty good food bank system thanks to the generosity of the local population and it is helping to keep people alive. There are children and immigrants and poor of every stripe along with large numbers of elderly and many disabled people. There were four people with wheelchairs and several with walkers on one visit there. I see little excuse in our society for any of those groups to be here. None of these people would be able to make it without the food bank.

But it’s not like this everywhere. Just across the state line in Idaho the food bank system is failing as I suspect it does in areas where the overall poverty rate is very high. The more people who must seek emergency help from the program the more stressed it becomes and the less likely it will be able to meet the minimum needs of the populace. We've been hearing that the Spokane food banks are under a great deal of stress. We'll find out in the morning since we are in a position of needing the help again.

The safety net is full of holes and requires better stewardship from our nation’s leaders. I suppose the best net menders have always been Democrats. The country needs quite a few more in the Senate and executive branch (Barack Obama) to begin that mending job. Places like this little food bank of ours is a nice emergency net below the moth eaten safety net. But they in no way are able to meet the many needs of those on the bottom.

To be honest I wouldn’t mind if places that were run this well received some federal funding. Conservatives believe that families and churches should be the sole suppliers of aid to those in need and never the government. They just want to pretend to help people on the cheap and funnel tax dollars to their religious base.

Family ducked out long ago. We have a relatively well off parish but it would be an undo hardship on it just to take care of our disabled family. Our infusions for MS alone are about $4000 a month. It would be quite a bit once you begin to take into account the rest of our medical care along with food and housing for our family. We’re just one family brought low by illness. We had disability insurance with an HMO from a Florida based company, but they made a determination that MS was not debilitating and it gets better. I wonder which party made it easier for HMO’s to screw their policy holders. (Republican) The GOP response seems to indicate that if charity cannot fill the bill then these people should just go ahead and starve and decrease the surplus population.

Progressives from the time of Teddy Roosevelt have always known we work best when we pitch in as a nation to solve these problems together. That way the places in our nation of large areas of poverty are able to be helped. The radical conservative scheme would only mean a lot sicker under nourished people many of whom will end up on the street.

I suppose the conservatives would just end up passing laws to outlaw the poor homeless then put them in a jail-type setting so they are no longer visible. If they are not visible they will be able to claim success. Remember the truth doesn’t matter to this current bunch of conservatives. All that matters is creating a perception of success to placate their supporters and those under their thumb.

What FDR Did

People do have, however they vision it, a responsibility for themselves, family, community, country and God, as they see God, but for a variety of reasons both legitimate and illegitimate within ones control and outside of it, these responsibilities may become compromised. The conservative Republican mantra of ‘individual responsibility’ is designed to absolve oneself of any responsibility except for those so conveniently cherry-picked while effortlessly lowering the dignity and humanity of those in need.

Republican individual responsibility means everyone else’s responsibility but mine. It’s an ideological principal embraced by modern conservatives that is designed to protect the conscience of the individual or group from social or religious liability. It’s used to absolve one from long held Judeo-Christian principles such as ‘by the grace of God go I’ and ‘to those who have been given much, much is expected’. It implies that the gifts from God which we all possess in one form or another have been distributed in equal measure with similar qualities. It’s been used as an excuse from responsibility for everything from the homeless addict to the poor and those with mental and physical illnesses, to such extremes as victims of natural disaster.

It is your responsibility

We can do much better as a society in taking care of the most vulnerable among us. It’s a sinful crime the way the conservative Republican right would have the poor, sick and disabled of this nation treated. They are in dire straights and its getting worse. Katrina highlighted their hypocrisy for the entire world to see. It’s shameful.

Hurricane Katrina

The religious right seems to be blind to many parts of the Gospel such as this one...

31 "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne,
32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 Then the king will say to those on his right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.
35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me,
36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.'
37 Then the righteous will answer him and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?
38 When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?
39 When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?'
40 And the king will say to them in reply, 'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.'
41 Then he will say to those on his left, 'Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.'
44 Then they will answer and say, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?'
45 He will answer them, 'Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.'
46 And these will go off to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life."
Matthew: Chapter 25

Barack Obama speaks: New Orleans, Katrina, poverty


No comments: