Compassion And The GOP….

CompassionI admit I have only been keeping half an eye open of all this garbage going on with the shut-down and default threats  made by the Republicans in congress. One thing I have been watching is to see if there is any compassion being shown by any of those folks there from the GOP and quite frankly I have found almost nothing there that resembles compassion in any of their actions and words.  I wonder if this is typical of their base and those who consistently vote to return them to office?

As a matter of fact I find mostly the exact opposite of compassion from many of their leader and in particular Senator Cruz. That guy just seems to be filled to the very top of his brain, if he actually has one, with hate.  There is no other way to explain all the vitriol comments that constantly come out of his mouth.  He simply hates the president and most others outside his wing of the GOP. It was reported that he even was ranting at the president during the private meeting with a few other members of the GOP.

Now don’t get me wrong, I certainly applaud some of the GOP’s efforts to rein in our never-ending deficit spending. We certainly need to accomplish that. But even there the first thing they want to exclude from budget cuts is the primary waster of our tax dollars and that is our military complex. Instead of wanting to get rid of all the military spending related to the Cold War and “evil empires” they want to take it away from the most vulnerable of our population.  They want and voted for severe cuts to food stamp, Medicaid and such.  If they were given their way I’m quite sure they would gut Medicare and Social Security as well.

They rail on and on about the evils of the Affordable Care Act but they give nothing to replace it. It seems they are quite happy to lock more than 30 million of our citizens out of affordable healthcare.  They seem more than pleased to see people who are presently ill from getting any kind of insurance because of pre-existing conditions.

I really wish I could find even an iota of compassion in any of their words but I can’t. Those in their party that are troubled by this turn away from compassion are like a deer-in-the-headlights. They just seem to be stricken with fear of those who have hijacked the party of Lincoln.

Is this the new face of the Republican party that those outside of the beltway want us to see? I just don’t know? If it is then I need to get down on my knees much more often to pray that this new GOP goes down in flames before they take the whole country with them….

But I am just a simple guy so what do I know……

With Teeth & Compassion….

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“Can we make legislation with enough teeth in them for conservatives and compassion for liberals?”

I heard the above phrase, or at least something close to it, from a news commentator recently. I wish I could cite the source but I really don’t remember who it was.  But the phrase struck me as maybe a primary difference between these two groups.

Conservatives seem to be much more concerned about “law and order” than about being altruistic. They want to make sure that no one gets anything that they haven’t worked for or at least earned in one way or another. Liberals on the other hand are willing to give people the benefit of doubt and just don’t assume that everyone needing help is just  gaming the system.

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Being Broad Minded….

Nothing makes a man broad-minded like adversity  -  Will Rogers

I can certainly understand this quote from Will. The adversity in my life, although coming more frequently than I would like, has certainly made me more broad-minded. Coming from humble beginning has made me sensitive to the daily plight of the homeless and financially challenged around me. Going deaf in mid-life has made me more aware of the challenges others face with handicaps every day. Being asked to leave a church because I didn’t have the “right” beliefs has made me aware of all those who are gun-shy about anything spiritual.

I’m pretty sure my personal warranty expired when I turned sixty. Since then more and more of my body has become worn out so I sympathize with those who have it even worse off than I do. For these reason I have progressed from a young conservative to a socially progressive liberal. In other words I have matured as I have aged. I am also a follower of Jesus Christ and by following his examples I have tried to have love for the orphans, the widows, the homeless,  and even those brought down my stresses of the day that resulted in various addictions. Yes, they might have brought their problems upon themselves but haven’t we all screwed up once in a while and don’t we all deserve love? Jesus was my example; he loved the loveless!

I readily admit that I am now a “bleeding heart do-gooder” that many of my conservative friends seem to despise so much. Where they rail against providing healthcare for all I dream of the day when that is a reality. Where they rant about people getting something for nothing I  take Jesus’ words to heart giving without question for the “least of these”.  Where they fear those among us who have gotten themselves in one form of trouble or another I try to cautiously reach out to them as well.

Like Will says my adversity has made me broad-minded. Those who have been given everything in life need to get a taste of real adversity to realize just how just much they have. They need to quit complaining about not having the latest (you name it)  and start showing some compassion for those who have much less than they do.  They need to realize that although they pretty much eat whatever and whenever they want there are those that struggle to put even one meal a day in their family’s stomach.

For those fortunate enough to have discretionary money they need to be willing to fork over a little of that money  in taxes for those who are not as fortunate at they are. They need to realize that the Bible saying that “it is harder for a rich man to get into heaven than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle” is not so much about riches as it is about being broad-minded and compassionate for their fellow human beings..

But what do I know.

Is the Republican Party Insuring Its Own Demise??

Is the Republican Party insuring its own demise by it continuing to focus on a narrower and narrower core group.  I want to believe this is the case as the alternative is that we as a country are now dominated by exclusion.  Being against things, particularly different groups of people, is what has been driving the Republican primaries lately. It has pushed their final candidate over to the extreme right of the political spectrum. Can the Republicans maintain a party that far off the center of American Politics?

It seems like everyday the Republican party members alienate yet another group of voters.

  • They are for rounding up all the people in this country without the proper papers and shipping them out of the country.  They seem to have no compassion for those who are just trying to provide for their families. This is alienating most Spanish-speaking voters.
  • They are against birth control. This is alienating many women voters.
  • They are against continuing to fund Medicare. They want to turn it over to the private insurance companies. This is alienating many senior citizen voters (and they are the most active voters around)
  • They are against providing medical care via Medicaid to the poorest of the poor.  Even though this group is not a strong voting block there are those who do vote and have compassion for this group.
  • They are against religious diversity. They say this is a “Christian” nation. By this they are alienating Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists, and other non-Christian religious groups.
  • They are against Social Security. They want to make each person entirely on their own during their senior years. This is a double whammy for us seniors.

The Republicans seem to be against so much and for so little how can they maintain a Republican base? It seems that one of the only groups they are not alienating are white evangelical Christians , particularly those ironically who lack compassion for their fellow-man. Someday this group might even take to heart the commands of Jesus, their founder, and at least some a minimal amount of compassion for the “least of these”.

Another group who they are not presently alienating are those that see governments only role in society is to provide for our war machine.  Everything else to this particular group is deemed unconstitutional. We have a female who is running for congress in my district who proudly announces that she is home schooled on the constitution. She basically says after her self study she has determined that the federal government’s only role is to provide for defense. Everything else, according to her, is unconstitutional!

The last and maybe the biggest group of supporters to the current Republican party are those that just want the government out of their pocket books.  Today they are known as the “Tea Party” but have had many other names through the years. They don’t see  “providing for the general welfare”, as a necessary role for their government to be involved in. They seem to care little about anyone but themselves.

Where will future Republicans come from? If they end up having no core support can they even exist?

All I Know — And Then There is…

Let me bring up the same Lincoln quote that I used yesterday but this time for another purpose:

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.  Abraham Lincoln

I can say that more often than not this quote is applicable to people especially politicians.  But one case where it is not true is with President Obama. When he was campaigning in 2008 his speeches gave me such a reason for hope that I regularly supported him in seeking the presidency. When he opened his mouth he inspired me. I dreamed that he would be a strong and forceful president who shared many of my ideals. Unfortunately his actions have not began to live up to his words.

Yes, he did get a fragment of his universal healthcare through congress but what passed is so watered down it hardly resembles anything but a mandate to buy private insurance. For that reason I will not be surprised if it is eventually deemed unconstitutional by our radical right Supreme Court. President Obama is just long on words but seemingly short on action. He did start out drawing some compassionate lines in the sand but he then very quickly rubbed out that line backed up several steps and drew another line. This process repeated itself until his opponents eventually get what they wanted. Yes, I understand that the almost totally vitriol atmosphere in Washington these days stymied his attempts but I would like to have seen him not cave in under the pressure so much. Sometimes it is better to take a stand and lose rather than give up your principles. Maybe I am being unduly harsh of the president but that is only because I expected so much from him that I hold him to a higher standard.

These experiences have almost totally turned me off to politics. I no longer even watch the daily news. I am now a believer in the old saying “No news is good news”. I just want to live the remainder of my life with as little politics as possible. I will likely give a tepid support for our president in the next election but that is mainly because whoever will be running against him will likely be the opposite of what I would want in the leader of the free world. I want a president who is compassionate and actually acts on that compassion by doing whatever it takes. Too bad the Obama of 2008 can’t run against the Obama of 2011.

The only thing I could get enthusiastic about in the political arena is if we as a people can send a very clear message, I mean a crystal clear one, that we are utterly tired of what they have been doing the last few years. It seems the only way we can get that message across is to vote ALL of the current crop of politicians out of office. Anything short of that would probably not get their attention.  But, since we are so divided as a citizenry, maybe this is a chicken/egg type thing, I doubt  we could ever come together with even that message.

But what do I know…