I try to avoid writing about politics here, but recent events have driven me to be more active. Usually the extent of my political action is giving money to causes I support. I have to do more. I think of my days at Colorado State when we would decide whether to go to the daily demonstration or do something else, like study. The country was in turmoil over Vietnam and Watergate. I did my small part.
Now I must again do my small part. No more just watching Rachel Maddow and deploring the latest attempt at destroying at destroying anything remotely progressive. I must act, take to the streets. This won’t be the first time, I went to a rally supporting our Muslim neighbors and had fun wearing my Bad Hombre t-shirt.
Today it is the lunch time protest at Senator Cory Gardner’s office in downtown Denver. I’m not sure these demonstrations and marches have a great impact, but they are a way to use my First Amendment rights, which seem to be under attack these days. The current upheaval is in the NFL, and is a classic free speech issue. The unfortunate result of the turmoil is increasing the polarization going on in our nation since the Reagan era.
I went downtown to a Federal office building where Senator Gardner has hidden his office. As with most Federal buildings, you must go through security. I always have to get wanded because my right knee is titanium. I was alone in his office suite, no going beyond the closed door. I talked to a nice young man acting as receptionist. I stated my position and he took notes. No drama.
The issues this week are about health care and race. The Affordable Care Act needs work. The impass in Congress is preventing any rational attempt at fixing the ACA. Repeal attempts keep failing. The reason for the attempts to repeal the ACA is, simply, race. It is a black President’s program so it must go away. Oh, and it is expensive.
When a new social welfare program goes into place there is always opposition, but. People begin to realize things are better for lots of people. They just don’t get repealed, they get cleaned up. Traditionally the Democrats come up with the programs and the Republicans do the housekeeping. With race behind the Republican’s opposition they have blocked themselves from assuming their traditional role. Nothing gets done and the status quo lurches along.
There is, of course, money involved as well. Rich Republicans don’t want to pay for making poor people’s lives better. Three reasons: greed, race, and Social Darwinism. Republicans are always opposed to higher taxes. They want to keep the money for themselves, even though they have plenty. Poor blacks and hispanics don’t deserve a damn thing, they deserve to suffer. The reason poor people are poor is because they are inferior to rich people. Mitt Romney so much as said it. It don’t work that way, folks. Poor people are poor for lots of reasons, but not genetics. The argument they are inferior is half a step from Naziism.
It’s not surprising the radical rightists are on the ascendancy. We have always had them, but usually events shut them up. They have to believe they are superior to others, usually because of a deep reservoir of shame. They deserve our compassion.
There is the real problem. Social welfare programs are a reflection of compassion. Governments should be in the business of helping the people. Good health care reflects compassion. It is sad so many of our government’s resources are devoted to warfare, not compassion. We are all in this together, so let’s give everyone a break, use loving kindness. Hate and insensitivity are not the answer.