I am rather disappointed, America. I find that your awesome (which had grown remarkably rapidly with the election of the best President you have chosen in years) has gone as fast as it came.
So, the most progressive and fair minded bill ever to darken congress’ desks was castrated, hung, dried, and had silly faces drawn all over it before you passed it. Obama’s reform of your grossly unfair healthcare system was argued about as by children in a primary school playground, arguing whose dad had lynched the most communists. You looked at all our criticisms of the NHS but failed to note our main conclusion to all of these: spend more money on it. We love the NHS, and if you had passed into law a system that remotely resembled it you might have learned to love yours too. But you won’t because what you have is basically private health insurance which is now legally compulsory. Obama should have vetoed it when it landed on his desk.
One of the things I loved about watching your election campaign last year was how much everyone got together to slag off idiotic unthinking morons like Sarah Palin. The Republican Party’s apparent relish for gun-toting, bible-bashing, free market endorsing megaphones was roundly criticised by civilised people everywhere and we were all relieved when you made the right choice at the ballot box (only 52% odd of you, but nonetheless). But now, she seems to have been promoted. She has landed a job as one of Fox News’ searingly nasty commentators, and apparently people are happy about this. The only upside I can see is that Obama’s press team will have to rebut her directly every time someone quotes her. This would be a good thing, but I doubt they would report any meaningful rebuttal anywhere in the Murdoch press, so sadly the people who badly need to hear a cogent and well-formed political argument (aka Fox News viewers) will be denied even this small consolation. Boo, hiss, get off the stage, etc.
And so to Today’s new story that had tea coming out of my nose.
Apparently, Rush Limbaugh (who is another of these Fox News commentators) has said that you shouldn’t give money to the Haiti disaster appeal, on the grounds that you can’t trust the American Government. Pardon?
One of the few redeeming features of religious belief (I am a Humanist by choice, and strictly agnostic on all matters Theological) is that it occasionally makes people do noble things. After it has left them penniless, devoid of the skills of logical reasoning and angry about foreigners who have a different set of unsubstantiated beliefs, they do retain a modicum of compassion – the good samaritain instinct, the “treat others as you would like to be treated” gene.
Not so, hard line Republicans. They are advocates of free market freedoms; the freedom to loot, monopolise and use Monetary advantage to oppress. Of course, that doesn’t make them Liberals, only Market Liberals (in direct opposition to Social Liberals like Lib Dems, I hasten to add.) On the other political axis, the one about civil rights, personal freedoms, and choice, they are once again opposed to Lib Dems everywhere by arguing from a position of Moral Conservatism – “you can’t do that because I believe it is immoral [according to an ancient text badly/maliciously translated and quoted out of context]”.
In addition to Mr Limbaugh, Pat Robertson (the evangelical entrepreneur) has said that the Haitians brought this disaster on themselves, by rebelling against French rule in 1804. Again, Pardon?
How these people can claim to be Christian, quite frankly to be human at all, and at the same time deny that the people who have just suffered an earthquake that flattened their entire capital city deserve our help and aid, is beyond a logical contradiction: it is plain lunacy. It smacks of a broken mind, who perhaps is unable to empathise, which as far as I remember my developmental psychology means that their parents didn’t cuddle them when they were three.
Prove them wrong. Prove that humanity is about more than scoring political points, gaining media coverage and pissing everyone else off. Prove that you can empathise. Join me in giving money to the DEC disaster appeal.