8/31/2012

A Good Country

I don't care if I live in a great country. I care if I live in a good country.

In a good country, a nurse's aid who works six full days a week on the minimum wage, caring for the elderly and disabled, has as much right to quality health care and retirement benefits as any Wall Street investor earning millions off of dividends from the products and labor of other men's hands.

In a good country, the pre-school teacher who feeds and educates our poorest most vulnerable children, deserves to keep her job. But over the next decade, over two million children lose Head Start centers under the Paul Ryan budget.

In a good country, poor high school graduates receive low interest college loans, in order to acquire job skills and enter the middle class. But under conservative elites and the Paul Ryan budget, Pell Grants for poor students lose $170 billion.

In a good country, after four forced tours of combat, a vet with PTSD finds a program for healing. But Paul Ryan cuts $11 billion from veterans spending. 

I realize that the Republican Party tells heart-warming stories about Mitt Romney's experience as a church volunteer. As one who rebuilt and directed the community service program in America's oldest Quaker School, I admire the spirit of volunteerism. But you'll forgive my skepticism when people like the Romney's use volunteerism as an excuse not to pay taxes.

Anyone who claims that the problems of our society will be solved by spending a few hours a week at your local soup kitchen, is disingenuous. But in right-wing propaganda, community service and volunteerism becomes ploys to lower taxes and gut federal programs. This is a sentimental lie.

By cutting programs for vets, the disabled and the working poor, just to put more private wealth in the pockets of the rich, Republicans claim they will make the United States a "great" country. Yet if enacted, Paul Ryan's budget will be nearly as great a crime against humanity as George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

I'm no longer impressed by politicians who seek American "exceptionalism" and American "greatness." Seeking to be "great" is only swagger and goose-step if we do not seek to be good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Awesome sentiment. Wish more people felt this way :)