OK, so I’ve largely tried to refrain from getting into politics on this blog because I don’t want to alienate readers. However, after reading two different newspaper articles this morning that sum up things perfectly, I can’t just sit by and not say anything. In eighth grade, my social studies teacher told us “the job of the citizen is to open his mouth.” American citizens have had their mouths open alright, but mostly just swallowing the you-know-what of politicians who would rather further their own personal agendas than the will of the people. It’s time to open our mouths and shout for reform. For closing the income gap. For extending the same benefits legislators receive to the population.
So here’s the first article, a column from The New York Times. The column says it perfectly in this sentence: “When the most powerful country ever to inhabit the earth finds it so easy to plunge into the horror of warfare but almost impossible to find adequate work for its people or to properly educate its young, it has lost its way entirely.”
Our politicians are stripping away school funding, shutting down valuable public services like health clinics and NPR, and yet no one bats an eyelash when we plunge into yet another war. Think of how many trillions the U.S. could be funneling into its own economy without the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya. The U.S. needs to drop this position of global police and work on helping its own citizenry out, a citizenry with 14 million people unemployed (don’t forget that unemployment statistics are usually far under the actual amount — unemployment counts don’t include the underemployed and those who have been unemployed longer than several years).
The column also notes that “the richest 10 percent of Americans received an unconscionable 100 percent of the average income growth in the years 2000 to 2007, the most recent extended period of economic expansion.”
How is anybody OK with this? It’s time to tax the rich, people. It’s only fair. If Congress hadn’t voted to extend the Bush-era tax cuts to the obscenely wealthy a few months ago, the amount taxed from those people would have paid for the heath care reform act. What I don’t understand is why Americans who are suffering from unemployment and unliveable wages keep voting for the people who take their money and deny them “the American Dream.”
The other article was an Associated Press story I read this morning in the Montana Standard (Butte’s newspaper). To sum it up, all but seven of Montana’s legislators are receiving state-subsidized health insurance (read: your tax dollars). And yet these same legislators voted to overturn the federal health care reform act, denying folks like you and me subsidized health care. So it’s OK for them to receive that health care, but not everybody else? It comes down to this: they want tax-payer funded health care, but don’t want to be those paying tax payers.
Here’s the best quote from that article:
“The same members of this body who introduced and voted for bills to overturn the federal health-reform act are the same members who want to hide the fact that they get subsidized government health care from the very people who pay for it,” Rep. Ellie Hill, D-Missoula, said. “I think the hypocrisy of this is thick.”
And furthering the hypocrisy is the fact that the Republicans want to hide from their constituents the fact that they’re receiving this health care. Now isn’t that nice. Those people can think that it’s a political stunt all they want, but they should be deeply embarrassed by this fact and consider offering their constituents the same benefits they so enjoy.
If you’re not angry, you should be. Call your representatives and senators today. Not that they’ll do anything about it.