Race 2012, Consequential Outcomes

“Smaller Government”

“Less Taxes”

“Government does not create jobs”

“Entitlements”

We hear the above a great deal, from the opposition on the Right. In truth, it is a mantra for their race toward the White House. What does any of the above mean, really?

While the Right is beating the drums of revolution, I sit back and consider what all this means to me as an American and a woman. As I watch the polls slide up and down, back and forth I truly do wonder. We talk a good game on the Left but whether gender, race or otherwise challenged we have failed to band together to form a single coalition against the status quo, instead being satisfied with our individual small wins rather than banding together to win the war.

There is not a single person in the nation today who does not receive benefits from the government. I wonder what are we willing to give up, what services or conveniences would we be willing to do away with for the benefit of less taxes. Today though I am going to ignore this one, except to say there aren’t many, some but not many.

As to whether government creates jobs, of course they do, you are delusional if you believe otherwise. Whether you work directly for a government agency or for a company that sells to the government, the government, federal, state and local is the single largest consumer of goods and services. I am not going to spend time on this one, but consider all the myriad ways in which government monies flow through communities.

There are plenty of ways to shrink the size of government. Let’s start with something simple, grant all members of society equality without equivocation. It is simple; if you are citizen of the United States of America, you are equal to every other citizen. We should not be voting on whether our neighbor is equal to us, whether they have rights equal to our own. This is not an issue that should ever be put forward on a ballot.

The following should be part of a civil and sane society without question or thought. Marriage, call it something else if this makes you happy but call it something else for everyone. Military service, combat duty and access to Officer Training School, let’s make the military reflect our nation at every level not just the enlisted corps. This includes equality of opportunity and pay starting with our schools. Fund them equally in every neighborhood no matter the tax base or average household income. Equality in our choices, healthcare and privacy up to and including access to contraceptives, health screening and yes dammit Abortion.

Remember these words?

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

They spoke to the heart of Revolutionaries who would found a nation. It is once again time for us to embrace the spirit of these words.

Now we finally get to the Hot Button, Entitlements! The monster that will reach out and grab you when you set your feet down on the floor without turning on the light first. What are Entitlements? I have heard all different sorts of answers to this question from the Right and the Left.

Social Security and Medicare – entitlement or claim? I would say Social Security and Medicare are Claims, debts owed by the government to us. Are we entitled to collect? Yes, we paid they are in fact our money we are collecting and though we didn’t agree, we loaned it to the government interest free for a very long time.

Medicaid, Welfare, Unemployment – are these Entitlements? They are part of our social safety net. They are what we long ago agreed would be in place so our citizens would never again face abject poverty without food, shelter or support. Do our citizens, especially our children and our aged deserve our compassion? I would say they do, but then I believe strongly how a nation treats its weakest citizens is a reflection of that nation as a whole.

When the Right Wing talks about ‘reform’ of our Entitlements what are they really saying? What I hear all too often is this:

“They don’t want to work so they are sucking the teat of the public.”

When this is said what do they mean by ‘they’? It is those nefarious ‘others’, those people not like them. The bogeyman or woman that looks different. Those irresponsible ‘other’ people. It is those single parents, usually women who have children with different men (you know who I am talking about). Those un-Christian, immoral, violent ‘other’ people. Let’s just say it shall we, it is those Black and Brown people, those not like White People.

This is the picture of ‘other’ painted by politicians and their support system to divide the heart of this nation. Do they depict the reality? No, no they don’t. What they create is a vision for those that fear they will lose what little traction they have left to latch on to, something  or someone to point at and blame for their failure. This picture of wretchedness, is something ‘other’ those with nothing left but their ‘rightness’ can stand above and feel superior to.

Here is the problem with the above:

Welfare Demographics
Percent of recipients who are white 38.8 %
Percent of recipients who are black 39.8 %
Percent of recipients who are Hispanic 15.7 %
Percent of recipients who are Asian 2.4 %
Percent of recipients who are Other 3.3 %

http://www.statisticbrain.com/welfare-statistics/

When you consider the unemployment numbers within each of these communities :

What does this leave us with? Inequality? I would say so especially when you consider this final number, the population distribution as of the 2010 Census.

What does it all really mean? It means we remain a nation without conscious and without compassion. We have moved further into the mindset of “I got mine, out of my way ya bums get your own.” Rather than holding the door open for those that follow behind us, rather than reaching our hand down to lift the next generation up, we have slammed the door shut and closed our fists. We are standing in the corner, taking a fighters stance ready to defend our small piece of the rock against all comers, against ‘other’.

We are demonizing our neighbors, our friends, our brothers and sisters. We are failing our children.

If we don’t turn our back on the bigotry, greed and avarice soon, we will fall as a nation it is the inevitable outcome of our ignorance. It is the inescapable consequence of our failure to come together for common cause.

Comments

  1. You really do fantastic work, Valentine!

  2. **If we don’t turn our back on the bigotry, greed and avarice soon, we will fall as a nation it is the inevitable outcome of our ignorance. It is the inescapable consequence of our failure to come together for common cause.**

    This must be placed in the “World’s Greatest Quotes!” X

  3. Of course, the purpose of a drum-beating mantra is to grab a tagline without thinking … thus hoping to prevent one from thinking! Well done Val!

    • I know, but I just keep thinking if we would just all stop draw in a deep breath…well, perhaps we would see the light. All those people who say ‘I am not a racist I have a ____ friend’ would perhaps realize indeed and their friend isn’t dangerous, isn’t other.

  4. So, almost as many White people are on some sort of government assistance as Black people. Hm, does FOX News know that?

  5. Early voting starts tomorrow, the 22nd, here in TX. I’m sure Romney will carry the state, but hopefully, not by much. I’m somewhat disappointed with Obama, but I definitely don’t want the Republicans to take over the White House again and regain control of both houses of Congress. That would be an unmitigated disaster for the country!

    • I have been publishing early voting in Texas on Facebook for days now. Myth Romney will indeed carry the state, but with any luck not by much. I would truly like to see this state turn out and vote, not just the Presidential ticket but we have the opportunity to send Democrats to Washington this year. There was a time when our state wasn’t so Red, we need to turn out the vote.

      • No, it hasn’t always been “red,” but it’s always been conservative. Republicans in the state legislature say they’ve always been the oppressed; like they’re victims of genocide or something. The reality is that southern Democrats of the past metamorphosed into the Republicans of the present. There were 2 great exoduses: first, after Lyndon Johnson signed the 1965 Voting Rights Act and second, after Ronald Reagan won his 2nd term. They changed names, but not ideology.

  6. Hello Val,
    I’m glad to have found you through our blogging on Race 2012. This post is right on! This fear of “other” has in fact demonized our most vulnerable citizens. There is this behavior, expressed in fear, that those with the power to do so, better get “what’s left” before the “others” try to take it (whatever it is) from us. There is such an inherent hypocrisy in that line of thinking. Who really feels entitled in all of this?

    This article isn’t just insightful, it’s also very fact-based. Thank you for the real skinny.

    • The fear of ‘other’ has been with human kind for a very long time. We breed it, train it and fashion it into our culture. Sometimes we make ‘other’ fashionable, but then we squash it again.

      I find xenophobia frightening. With each generation some bit of our fear seems to be set aside, only to rise up again and with greater virulence, the language and drive from those in power spearheading it and so easily picked up and carried forward.

      I find my thoughts often offend those who ‘look like me’. I am glad they don’t offend everyone.

  7. Such an excellent post. Especially:
    “We should not be voting on whether our neighbor is equal to us, whether they have rights equal to our own. This is not an issue that should ever be put forward on a ballot.”
    Well said. I do like the way you think. (Thanks for stopping by my blog! Which is how I found yours–and so glad I did!)

  8. I keep telling you Val.. you should run for president.. LOL…. Hope you are well? and hope that you kick of those high heels and relax for a beautiful weekend…
    Thinking of you….. Be Well.. xxx Sue

    • I can’t relax right now Sue, to close to close and we are coming down the home stretch. It is our future we fight for, not just of this generation but of many to come. Only a few weeks to go, but Nov. 6 will not just be the Presidency it will be the Supreme Court and we cannot afford to tip that balance.

      My skeletons are dancing right now!

      😉

  9. My husband and I couldn’t help but exchange incredulous looks when we heard an anti-government man on television shout, “The government needs to leave my Medicare alone. They need to just stay out of it.” Really? Isn’t this an oxymoron? If the government were to “stay out” of Medicare, me thinks there would be no Medicare…

    • Believe me Carrie, when I hear those statements I feel as if I am swimming upstream in a fog. Not just an oxymoron but one shouted by a certifiable idiot.

      These are the fools that got us into the mess, well these and the lazy do nothings that stayed home in 2010.

  10. I think of the “other” often in my weekday life, and how the people I see evidencing this belief in “nefarious other” truly do not believe they could personally ever be destitute. It must be nice to have led the kind of life that supports the perpetuation of such thinking.

    • I think of the ‘other’ all the time. I also think of those that where blinders in their everyday life and only see the ‘other’ as those that have nothing to offer the world. I am desperate these days to change our perceptions. I wish I knew how.

  11. So well done, Val. Clear, concise, with pictures. Just right.

    You know a big part of the problem is that folks don’t know Civics. They don’t know how the government works. I teach it at work — to folks with PhDs who don’t understand how Congress works, what the difference is between the House and the Senate. That there are three branches. They have PhDs (admittedly not all of them are American.

    But we get civics once, in junior high. I’ve been working on a post on that. Guess it’s time to get moving!

    I remain hopeful.

    • I am not certain I am hopeful right now, I am frankly scared spitless. It is such a close race with so many saying “I am voting my conscious, I am voting a third party because the status quo is just wrong.”

      Yeah, you do that you azzhats. When we get Myth into office and you are destitute and without a safety net to catch you, then what? But they are convinced their third party vote means something.

      We don’t just have the Presidency in play this time, we have SCOTUS up for grabs. We have the balance of real power in play and we, that is all of us who have been fighting a very long time for equality will be squashed like bugs. You are so right, we don’t know basic Civics. Most of this nation, even very smart people don’t have even a basic understanding of how our nation operates.

      Gad, I am saddened by the ignorance of the people of this country sometimes.

  12. Excellent post there! The right wing should take head of what JFK said in his inaugural Speech in 1961 (the ….ask not what your country can do for you… speech) “If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.”

    r

    It just makes obvious sense and should do to all die hard Capitalists; bad education, bad health, a disenfranchised generation of young unemployed does not make financial sense for the country.

    The notion that government does not and should not create jobs is idiotic. Take NASA – in a period between 1958 and 1969, NASA spent 25 billion dollars – in the following 15 years this expenditure brought back to the country 181 billion dollars in jobs, technological development, innovations, taxes and employed at any one time over 576,000 people. The expenditure on the military never brought those kind returns. That was when NASA’s budget was 4.4 per cent of the Federal budget. Today it is down to .05 per cent. The right wing wonder why the Chinese are going to beat America to The Moon and Mars and then Blame it on Obama.

    Who’s going to fix all the failing Bridges across America? Halliburton? Bain Capitol? I don’t think so.

    I’ll shut up now. 🙂

    • Thanks Bill, you are exactly right about NASA.

      The problem is, with few exceptions most of us believe in profit, capital markets and free enterprise. I know I do. As a small business owner I even would like to see my taxes lower. The difference is, I don’t want them lowered if the cost is less services, decimated economy and zero safety net.

      I guess I am simply not selfish enough.

  13. Great piece valentine, and as far as I can tell from other blogs, most bloggers would agree with you – it’s the Others we have to convince! Great graphs too.
    I say we, because all of us around the world are watching anxiously too…May the Force be with you and America!

    • Thank you Valerie. Here in the US, despite changes in the population paradigm White Folk and Men Folk still have 98% of the power and are afraid to cede a thing. I think who we have to convince are those who are so afraid of the ‘others’ they will not reach across the chasm. You are so right, this group of ‘Other’ is sure hanging on to their thinking, aren’t they?

      Val

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