Today things changed for me. But more on that in a minute.
It’s old news by now (as 12 hours can be a lifetime in modern news cycles these days), but just as a quick recap, Mother Jones Magazine, via the great David Corn, released a secretly recorded video of Mitt Romney at a donor’s home a few months ago discussing his positions on a variety of things (we won’t even get into his Palestine/Israel catastrophe of a statement), including people who vote for President Obama:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
Romney’s reply last night was that it was “inelegantly” stated, but that he stood by the fact that people who vote for Obama just want handouts. He and his party have concluded that almost half of the country are lost to them because “those people” are lazy welfare queens intent on sucking the nation dry of its benefits while sitting on their asses.
But let’s just break this down a little:
47 percent of the people will vote for Obama no matter what. Where does that number come from? He is quoting a statistic that 47% of Americans do not pay Federal Income Tax for one reason or another. In fact, most of the reasons that people do not pay Income Tax is because they are either gazillionaires or incredibly poor. Now that 47% DOES pay taxes – sales taxes, payroll taxes (which are HUGE), property taxes and all kinds of other taxes and fees. These aren’t freeloaders (well, except the gazillionaires), they are usually people too poor to have an income high enough to be taxed.
Ironically, where do you suppose the highest number of these Americans who don’t pay Federal Income Tax live?
The red states are the largest amounts of Non Federal Income Tax payers, the blue are the smallest. Huh. Those red states seem to be the very states that always vote Republican… now if those are where most of the 47% reside, how does Romney get to the calculation that they are Obama voters?
Bill Clinton was right… they can’t do math!
But let’s not dwell on how totally, mindbogglingly wrong the use of the “47%” figure is. Let’s move on to Romney’s overall view of Americans who vote for Obama…
All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…
What kind of world do you live in where you don’t believe people deserve food or health care or a roof over their head? What kind of human being are you that you mock someone who may need a little help to get through rough times, or who is disabled and requires an extra safety net to survive, or is elderly or sick, or WHATEVER…?!? I have been trying to wrap my head around not only Romney himself, but the people he hangs with and the people who vote for him actually believing that people AREN’T entitled to food or shelter! And the laughing ease with which he said it is even more disturbing.
The fiction that people who believe in a progressive nation that actually has community as its core, the care of our neighbors and the future of our children and the earth as a concern are somehow freeloading jerks who only want freebies is one of the most callous parts of this year’s GOP campaign. I can’t believe that people who would vote for Romney care so little for their fellow man. But then, I’m one of those pie-in-the-sky liberals who thinks people care about each other for the most part. But is is clear now, that without a doubt: if you vote for Romney, you agree that people DON’T deserve food, shelter or healthcare. “Government” is not created by the people for the people (to both protect their rights AND provide for their common good), it’s anathema to you, it’s the enemy. You DON’T see a world where we care for each other as being a positive society to pass on to your children. And you laugh and you show disdain for those who struggle and try to make it in this massively failing economy brought on by the very people you want in power.
I just don’t get it.
Don’t try to tell me anymore that Obama is some freakish enemy of America who is somehow selling us down the river and you’re only voting for Romney because you hate Obama. Then vote third party. Because a vote for Romney and his party is now clearly and without a doubt a vote for disdain of your fellow Americans…and probably yourself because you don’t even realize he hates you too. Be better than him.
So today I walked into the Unemployment Office for the first time. I had a temporary job last year so I was able to get through the year. But I haven’t been able to find work yet. For the first time in my life, I am applying for help from that very safety net that I have been paying into for my entire professional life (and that everyone else who makes a paycheck pays into). And despite Romney’s claims about freeloaders, the people in that office have been hardworking their whole lives, have paid taxes and have contributed to society. But right now they can’t. Yet, they are made to feel shame for wanting to put food on the table for their kids. You don’t just walk up and get the check, you know that, right? You have to go through a series of applications, interviews and even have to take tests on your reading and math skills. You have to prove every week that you have tried to get work and if you don’t, you don’t get help. You have to jump through massive amounts of bureaucratic loop-de-loops just to bring home a fraction of what you made as a professional so that you don’t have to beg a family member for help, just one more time. Fine, you say. People who get help should have to prove they’re not just freeloading. Ok. But see, they DO prove it, every week, every day — the people in that unemployment office don’t WANT to be there. And if you believe they do, then you can’t see your fellow Americans for who they really are (hint: they’re just like you).
Oh, and guess what? Your small unemployment check? Yep, you pay FEDERAL INCOME TAX on it!
The sociopathic minds that can dismiss humanity in such a way that this GOP Congress and its candidates do, and their presidential candidate seems to do with such ease is startling to me. This is not a question of whether you are liberal or conservative.
Whether we take care of each other, create a society and government that manages to hold us together until the good times return — that’s not political. That’s kindness, generosity, concern and care. These are not qualities we should reject as a society, this is what we should WANT for ourselves and for our children.
How hard is that?