Saturday, June 18, 2011

Not in my Neighbor's Pocket!

Legislators in Arizona and a couple of other states including but certainly not surprisingly Wisconsin have refused to change a word or two in a law that affects thousands upon thousands of unemployed citizens of their states.
The sad part about this selfish behavior by the “haves” of the ruling Republic Party is that the change would not cost the states one penny. And in fact if the legislators had an ounce of intelligence instead of pounds of animosity they would realize that the change would actually help their local economies.
The law concerns unemployment insurance for those unfortunate people who have been out of work and are entering weeks 86 through 99 of their hardship.
The states are attempting to stop their payments calling those voting citizens losers and lazy.
But the weeks in question are fully federally funded and do not cost those states any money.
If the people who would otherwise be getting the continuing aid had that cash on hand they would most likely be spending it on such frivolous things as food and clothing.
Unlike the super rich who take nearly every penny of their tax breaks and bailout gifts and either bank it or buy yachts etc. the needy people would of necessity be spending the money thus aiding in a small way the economy.
This case is a localized version of what is going on across America in every state in one way or another.
Possibly good intentioned people are falling for a flim flam game being run by the wealthiest and the politicians they back or fund without realizing the far reaching consequences.
It is a dangerous NIMNP – Not in My Neighbor’s Pocket game they are playing.
We used to say that all politics is local. But we should amend that to state that all anger and animus is local, all politics merely fuels the fire.
They fan the flames when they pit union workers against non union people.
They fan the flames when they claim illegal aliens are taking your jobs.
They fan the flames when they posit that Obama and the Democrats want to kill grandma.
They generalize every issue into a ‘we vs. they’ one and make the ‘they’ some other group to be feared and hated. Sadly we are all part of one of those groups but choose to ignore that fact.
And while those fans are set on high they sit back in the cool climate of their air-conditioned penthouse offices as if overlooking a community of ants and watch the frenzied citizenry try hard just to survive.
Like the boy who cries wolf and then slinks away as if he never uttered a word many of our legislators work in the shadows to rile and roil the melting pot that is America.
It seems as though we have all lost sight of a simple fact.
We are America!
We are the ones who make up the “We the people” of our constitution.
We are the people who made this country great!
And we are being fooled into submission.
The nation has been overrun by narcissism and schadenfreude.
It’s all about me and mine. And if you or he fail, hey that’s tough.
Whatever happened to “United we stand, divided we fall?”  (Listen to Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explain it all in two minutes.)
A few words have been slightly altered and inserted that have totally subverted the letter and spirit of that old phrase to wit, ‘United we of my district and extended family stand, dividing the wealth and property of others so as not to fall.’
The social and moral views in America like all nations have always been pendulum-like. We go through periods of extreme conservatism followed by euphoric liberalism and back.
Those persecuted women of 1600s Salem might today be running for Congress. Oh wait…
And with the pendulum in mind I give fair warning to those in Congress who show such disdain for those of us fighting for survival by way of an old proverb:
Be kind to those you pass on the way up as you will surely see them on your way down.

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