It cannot be said enough, America is ill. Metaphorically the United States of America is a hospital patient laying in a hospital bed in an intensive care unit gasping for air and fighting for its life. Visibly in pain and racked by uncontrollable convulsions it’s only a matter of time before holy men are brought to its bedside in order to perform the rites of last prayers and religious ministrations.
This “life threatening” affliction that has crippled our nation isn’t a regional disorder. Rather it’s a nationwide epidemic that is literally dimming the light from the “eyes” of a once vibrant and promising country.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free;
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless,
Tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
Written two decades earlier as a verse in Emma Lazarus’ world renowned sonnet “The New Colossus”, the words were meant to provide inspiration to new immigrants who came to America in search of a better life and a more prosperous future.
Emma Lazarus who was undoubtedly inspired by the promise of a fledgling but courageous United States of America while writing “The New Colossus”, would probably weep today at the sight of what her beloved country has unfortunately evolved into.
And what exactly has the United States of America evolved into? It has morphed into a nation that is more interested in discussing the pros and cons of Miley Cyrus “twerking” and less interested in demanding from their elected officials the right as full-fledged citizens, affordable health insurance for their self and for their family. For whom among us 99% will not one day grow old and sick while tediously counting the cans of tuna and chicken noodle soup in the pantry because we can longer afford to eat without counting?
In the 21st century we’ve become a nation that too readily accepts the conservative premise that the poor remain poor because they’re lazy and refuse to work, while rejecting the evidence that trickle-down economics (thank you Ronald Reagan) is a tool used by well-paid CEOs to create lifelong economic slaves of the rest of us 99% who are forced to toil endlessly from dawn to dusk like worker ants in a colony, as we sacrifice quality time with our family in order to pay tribute to our queen ant (the banks).
The sad reality is that the banks [via campaign contributions] own the politicians and the politicians create and pass the legislation that protects and empowers the banks who become “too big to fail”, thus guaranteeing the future of the super-rich while limiting the chances of economic growth for the poor, the near-poor and the disabled veteran.
In America we’re fond of boasting that “We’re number one”, however if the United States of America is truly “number one” as we’re programmed to believe and boast , then why should any tax paying American be forced to sell everything they own in order to pay for a medical operation that will either save their life or the life of their diabetic spouse, son or daughter? Why is that such an evil thing to wish for? Aren’t we supposed to be the richest and most prosperous country in the world? Or is it all just an illusion that’s orchestrated by the 1% who heartily laugh among their selves for pulling off such a clever deception while eating caviar and lobster on “holiday” in the Caymans?
Why should any unemployed adult who has lost their job because it’s been outsourced to a foreign country (thank you supporters of the Free Market) or because the company they’ve dedicated years of their life to has unexpectedly gone bankrupt, have to cope with the possibility of going hungry because a well-paid and well-insured member of congress has decided to cut food stamps as a means to lower a national deficit that’s already being lowered?
The indignity of losing a well-paying job and then having to apply for food stamps because “the free market” dictates you’re unhirable [because of your need to earn a “livable salary]” may be just a little too much for the average person to deal with,...indeed, it's enough to make a person who is bipolar and can’t afford to buy their medicine to hear voices. And we all know what comes after the voices don’t we America? Is this the “American Exceptionalism” that Emma Lazarus imagined as she wrote The New Colossus?
On Thursday a Republican / Tea Party led House of Representatives approved a Tea Party plan to cut food stamps by $39 billion during the next decade, setting up a showdown with Democrats over the program used by nearly 48 million low-income Americans.
Congress voted 217-210 for a bill that cuts nearly twice as much from food stamps as a bill the House rejected in June. It is also far more than a Senate measure passed earlier this year that would trim about $4.5 billion in spending. The bill failed to draw the support of a single Democrat, many of whom have said the steep cuts would erode a key safety net depended upon by families with children, seniors, veterans and people looking for work.
In all fairness there were fifteen Republicans also voted against the bill.
Republicans argue that the bill would restore the program's original eligibility limits and preserve the safety net for the truly needy.
The truly needy? It’s as though Ebenezer Scrooge was reincarnated and is the current leader of a Tea Party led congress.
“Are there no prisons? And the Union Workhouses, are they still in operation?"
Amazingly, the gap between the richest 1% and the rest of America is the widest it's been since the era of the fictional Great Gatsby.
The wealthiest of affluent Americans earned more than 49% of the country's household income in 2012, their biggest share of America’s wealth since 1928. One year before the Stock Market Crash of 1929 that ushered in the world’s Great Depression”. Doesn’t history repeat itself Mr. Scrooge?
So in the end, who will lobby for the nation’s poor and near-poor? We already know it it’s not the Tea Party led congress.
And Emma Lazarus wept.
As always the New Orleans Examiner is interested in what you think. Are America’s poor undervalued, underestimated and marginalized? (Thank you Joe Madison) Inquiring minds want to know.
Until next time, Good day, God Bless and Good fishing.