Saturday, October 9, 2010

Why We Can't Vote Republican and Why We Can't Depend on Charity and Why We MUST VOTE.

It's all about ideology, and it's personal. The reason it's personal is because of all of the people I know, both friends, family and associates, I know only two or three who might be, I say "might" because I don't personally know whether they are or not, considered in the top twenty percent who own eighty percent of America's wealth. They certainly appear wealthy, or at least they act like it. Nearly everyone else I know is just like me, smack dab in the middle class, and some are perhaps in the lower percentile of the middle class. A few I know are dirt poor. Those that I know in the middle class have more hope for either continuing to have enough to stay where they're at, or climb the ladder to the upper class. I've noticed, however, that those who are poor have no hope, and it breaks my heart. Government help for them has run its course; they've had their so-called job training, but have no job; they've reached the end of welfare; they have no money for further education; they've lost their mobility; they've lost their driver's license because they can't afford the car, insurance, renewal fee or the court cost to get their license back; and they've been rejected by every employer they've applied to. Charity, to them, means a few dollars every month or so, but nothing to sustain them until they get back on their feet. Charity is fickle. It's good for some, for a short time, but not for most. They have no hope and no place to turn. They've dropped off the edge of the Earth. They are unknown and unheard.

I'm not saying that all of my perceived wealthy friends are Republicans. Some hold very similar views to mine. But others do not. Once at a family reunion several years ago, I heard an extended family member, who believed in the Republican ideology, complain bitterly about welfare. He said, vehemently, "it's forced charity!" He resented paying taxes that were eventually used to pay welfare to the poor. It was the same complain that in President Reagan's Administration lead to limiting welfare because of the imaginary "Welfare Mom" who, they claimed, was cheating, and so welfare was reduced. Those unfortunate poor on welfare who were not cheating, the great majority, got less and hope diminished. The number of poor increased. It was the same complaint that in the mid-1990s lead Newt Gingrich, then the Speaker of the House, to pass legislation to limit welfare, and the freedom of welfare recipients to spend the money the way they saw fit, in a "work for welfare" scheme that ended the welfare payments after five years. And, those that the scheme did not benefit after five years on welfare, and who may have still had a chance while they received welfare, lost all hope of ever climbing out of the deep, deep hole circumstance, luck, and/or the American Capitalistic "system" put them in. They dropped out of sight and mind. So, even after two experiments with welfare, the ranks of the poor continued to increase. The complaint, however, hasn't changed. It is still the most often repeated complaint, in some form or another, by Republicans today. It's "Forced Charity!" It is resented by Republicans. And, right along with that complaint follows the second complaint, "they're spending the money we give them on junk!", or on Las Vegas, or on games, or on something that is not really "necessary," as, of course, defined by Republicans. So, just like the hope that disappears, and always will for those invisible poor, the complaints continue and is never resolved until Welfare itself is completely eliminated. What do we do then? Let the poor starve? But, Welfare increased in spite of all efforts to reduce it, because the number of poor increased. More and more of the middle class migrated to poverty and filled the ranks of poor and welfare recipients. Today, one in seven American's are in poverty. That should frighten you because while that migration was happening, more and more of America's wealth migrated to the top twenty percentile of American's. Deregulated "Trickle Down" didn't work, and it never will. You and I could be next to join the ranks of the poor, unless by some miracle, against all reasonable odds, we elevate our condition to the wealthy. What welfare, call it safety net, is next? Social Security? Medicare? You're retirement fund? They are all targets of fraudulent Republican ideology.

There is another reason, but perhaps not the last, that I take personal offence toward Republican ideology. I gave a large portion of my life for the ideals that were the ideals of my youth, mostly Christian ideals of helping the poor, giving, treating my fellow man fairly, and the American ideals of freedom, liberty, truth and justice. It all appears to have been wasted time. And, even though the greater majority of Christians in America seem to be following the Republican ideology, I don't see a single Christian or American value expressed in Republican policies or ideals. All I see is resentment, injustice, half-truths and lies, unfair treatment, selfishness and greed, intolerance and false gospel. One person who I know who has been taken by Republican ideology mentioned that they "continue to pray the prayer of Jabez every day" for their own benefit. That prayer, mentioned once in 1 Chronicles 4:9-10, two sentences in the entire Bible, is the basis of the so-called Gospel of Prosperity making the church rounds recently. I was appalled. Oh, they are wealthy, so I guess it could be said that the prayer worked. But, I wonder. Did the wealth come before the prayer? Or the prayer before the wealth? How much of saying they pray that prayer is self aggrandizement, pride in front of friends, showing off the favors from God? Are "they" the "chosen?" Is it "Look at me, I'm Blessed?" I also wonder that if that particular prayer is answered, what payment is expected in return? To those that much is given, much is expected. I suspect that, one way or another, that payment will be made whether they payee wants it or not. Is payment to sustain a society not worthy? Is only Charity worthy? If it is only Charity that is worthy, are we not required, then, to give a constant stream of charity to sustain the poor? I would say that when society is just, fair and equal, then payment to the society is required in the form of taxes because that is the only consistent way to sustain those in poverty. It is even required when all government efforts are to make its society just, fair and equal. I don't see anyplace where today's Republicans are supporting the causes of justice, fairness and equality, even though they go to great extent to say the do. They have blocked every effort to support the poor, and the unemployed for that matter. To some that follow Republican ideals, the payment will be a fall from grace, to others it will be a fall from revolution. I wonder if they will be surprised when it happens. When the ranks of the poor increase to the point where a country cannot sustain itself, revolution is inevitable. That happens when so few have so much.

I haven't heard our current situation, that of the precarious edge to America's downfall being so close, expressed as well as I've heard Robert Reich express it. For that reason, I've added his blog to the list of my favorite blogs. I don't know if he is a religious person, atheist, or somewhere in between, or if he believes in another religion. But, he speaks the truth. That should be good enough for anyone. Read his blog. Listen to him speak. Educate yourselves before it's too late.


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