It is such a rarity when politicians tell the truth, especially Republicans, that it is quite refreshing when, on occasion, they do. One incident of actual truth-telling occurred yesterday, when Republican presidential hopeful Mitch Romney, giddy from his thorough trouncing of his party’s competitor for the presidential nomination Newt Gingrich, put his brain on cruise control and allowed his mouth to speak without monitoring its content. In response to a question posed to him during a television interview, Mitt Romney stated that he’s “not concerned about the very poor.” This should be no revelation to anyone who follows politics in this country as no Republican cares about the very poor. Not John Boehner, not Eric Cantor, not Renee Elmers, not Thom Tillis... the list goes on. What is surprising is that he actually said it.
Now Newt Gingrich was quick to pounce on Romney’s statement by stating that he “cares about all Americans.” I have a problem with such a hypocritical statement coming from Newt as it is an insult to the intelligence of all Americans. Everyone with a scintilla of common sense knows that Gingrich no more cares about the poor or the very poor than does Romney or other conservative Republicans. At least Romney put a health care system in his state of Massachusetts that covered the health care needs of most of its residents and was the national model of what’s become known as “Obamacare.” However, Romney exhibits his lack of courage by denying ownership of it because the Conservatives and Tea Partyers started bandying about the term “socialized medicine” when discussing it. Instead of shrieking from it, Romney should have boasted about it. After all, what is the alternative for the poor and needy who lack health insurance… to let them die?
Take the following example: suppose an infant with a high fever showing signs and symptoms of meningitis presents at the emergency room door, and he/she is not covered by health insurance. The Conservatives’ answer is to deny him/her medical treatment and allow him/her to die. This would not occur in a country with socialized medicine; not even a Third World nation. Many of the poor and the very poor, and even the not so poor in this country are lacking health insurance, and yet the Republicans are trashing President Obama’s efforts to provide health care coverage for all by labeling his endeavors as “socialized medicine.”
Socialism is a term that the majority of Americans have been taught to fear. What is so ludicrous is that the millions of Americans who are poor and/or in dire financial straits should be embracing its principles, which place the best interests of society before those of a privileged few. Instead, they are railing against the socialists policies that would work to their greatest benefit. In other words, they are brainwashed to act against their own interests by the wealthy and those in power.
In a follow up, Mitt Romney, whose wealth has been estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars and who pays an income tax rate of 13% (which is substantially lower than that paid by the majority of poor), stated that he didn’t worry about them because of the “safety net” that is in place for the indigent. What safety net? The millions of American citizens who are living on the streets, in automobiles, and in shelters would like to know about these so-called “safety nets.” He must have been referring to the room and board and medical care provided by the Prison Industrial Complex, for in some states it is a crime to be poor. In Wake County and the city of Raleigh, for example, it is a crime to panhandle without a permit… the Wake County permit must be renewed weekly. And the requirements for Johnston County’s panhandling permits are even more stringent, requiring a photo id and a criminal background check.
Food stamps, health care provided by Planned Parenthood, and other charitable programs and agencies have been under an onslaught by Republicans on a national and state level depriving needy Americans and Tar Heelians of the basic necessities of survival. And the GOP members, especially North Carolina’s own Congresswoman Renee Elmers, have been obstructionists in preventing President Obama and some of the Democrats from passing legislation to provide relief for those who have suffered from economic policies that have for so long favored the wealthiest. Without doubt, their motive in dragging down the country in a whole scale manner is to provide enough discontent amongst voters in order to cast blame on the incumbent president and persuade those who are suffering most to elect a corporate friendly GOP presidential nominee.
Americans need to enlighten themselves and take measures to protect the interests of all instead of the few at the summit. Most Americans should support the Occupy movements which call for economic equity and which call for an end to corporate greed. But all too often those individuals ensconced deep within the bowels of the 99% and who are without jobs, shelter, and do not know where their next meal is coming from, are the very ones who are detractors of the very movement that is attempting to come to their aid. They are not enlightened and are victims of a massive Jedi mind trick perpetrated by the avaricious privileged.
When Duke University discriminated against me in April 2010 because of my thoughts, opinions, and beliefs, I fought back, and continue to fight, for the protection of the First Amendment Rights of all Tar Heelians. Duke University, relying on its relationship with the media and heavily counting on the courts for help, has been waging an all-out battle to deprive me of my rights. Make no mistake, I am fighting not only for myself, but for all of the millions of residents in this state. Yet, many are misguided by the anti-Nifong propaganda that has flooded the state. Those who have been blinded by the murky media marketing and have failed to see the light are the ones who have taken glee in chiding and mocking me for fighting the good fight. What my detractors fail to realize and/or understand is that our fates are all linked together, and if you value your First Amendment Rights to have independent thought, opinions, and beliefs, then you should be standing besides me in the trenches.
An unenlightened populous will be more likely to elect officials under whose policies they will suffer most, be more prone to attack movements which are paradoxically fighting for their legal and social interests, and are most apt to ridicule the efforts of those making sacrifices on the social justice front lines to protect their liberties.