Monday, September 11, 2017

Live or Die

Apropos of Hurricane Irma, Hurricane Harvey and all the myriad of disasters that have warranted government assistance in the form of FEMA and other federal government help I want to see this picture more clearly as to how there could be anyone, anyone at all, whose heart was not breaking watching thousands in shelters, the homeless remaining on the street, the sick, the elderly, the handicapped and the infirm others carried out in wheelchairs or with oxygen tanks ripped from their familiar surroundings to an alien environment to save their lives (and animals' lives) from this latest climate change disaster, Irma.  

What makes up a human being at a Republican convention say “let him die” if a young someone did not buy health insurance but, as unpredictable as life is, finds he desperately needs health care but does not have the ability to pay for it.  “Let him die” is what Republicans said.  It is what Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz said when he voted no on New Jersey Hurricane Sandy relief but when Houston was struck the Texas senator quickly took government money as he knew he was at risk of losing his political position if he did not secure government assistance for Houston.

Ayn Rand, the philosophical queen of self reliance, free enterprise advocate and loather of government intervention on whom Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has based his political philosophy -- with the exception of the atheist part --  took Social Security from government when she could.   So much for solely self reliance.  

Those who align themselves with a philosophy that wants to trim government to the size of a Norquistian postage stamp, for which many right wing Republicans now advocate, have zero ethics and even less empathy.  I stand incredulous that they get as many as they do to support them.  Those that support them are often those who need government help the most. When right wing Republicans see they need government help such as Republican Ted Cruz of Texas recently did, curiously they sing a different tune. 

The issue of government as an instrument of economic assistance before the Great Depression of 1929 saw presidents like Harding, Coolidge, and especially Hoover wax quizzical because they did not know what if anything government could do when people stood in breadlines to eat and sold apples on street corners because there were no jobs.  Hoover was shocked and stumped, as the grimace on his face showed when riding to Roosevelt’s inauguration, that Roosevelt won in a landslide running on a plank that government must help a nation in need because so many found themselves needing that help. 

Before FDR a Horatio Alger alternative to either live or die without government assistance prevailed within the American bloodstream and crossed the blood brain barrier for decades.  It is
the Horatio Alger dilemma between free enterprise as the only source of wealth and help versus government assistance there to help when catastrophe strikes that is, as I see it, at the heart of the philosophical divide of our two party system.

Private enterprise is not in the game to help anyone as progressives know so well.  Private enterprise is in it for profit for the owners, the stockholders and no one else.  Your choice for them is  live or die; sink or swim on your own.  I choose living over dying and swimming over sinking.  Sometimes the massive help needed to do both can be provided only by the massive resources of the federal government.  FDR knew that and birthed the New Deal changing the role that government played to help us out of potentially fatal quagmires.  We should remember that time and remember our time when to depend on corporations to bestow help is like thinking you can ride on an alligator to get out of a swamp!