Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Other America

Following my post about the great things about the United States to contemplate on the Fourth of July, now it's time to take a look at the not-so-wonderful segment of America.

These are the people who think the USA is for them and them alone.  These are the so-called "Real Americans" - the ones that define themselves and their worth to the nation in terms of race and privilege. They rage at the very concept that people who look and think differently could possibly be as patriotic and as valuable to the country as they are.  They allow a few who have a different hue than them in on the edges so the Real Americans can point at them in order to deny their real feelings, but those few have to pass some tough tests to get there.

We've always had them and their numbers are diminishing, fortunately.  Not so fortunately, like any other dying beast they can still do damage.

One of the things that Americans like to take for a given is that when bad things happen, we drop our differences and come together to help our fellow Americans out.  There are tons of examples to support that too, with everything from coin jars on store counters to help pay for treatment for someone suffering from disease to volunteers taking it upon themselves to pitch in to help repair the damage from catastrophes natural and otherwise.

There's another current coming from the RAs (Real Americans) seeking to destroy that American impulse to help other Americans when they need it.  And it's just plain mean:

They keep extending these unemployment benefits to the point where people are afraid to go out and get a job because the job doesn’t pay as much as the unemployment benefit does. … What has happened is the system of entitlement has caused us to have a spoilage with our ability to go out and get a job. … There are some jobs out there that are available. Because they have to enter at a lower grade and they cannot keep their unemployment, they have to make a choice now.

What?  We are suffering through what is being called "The Great Recession" and the unemployed are nothing but lazy welfare bums now?  Those words are from the Teabag Republican challenger for Harry Reid's Senate seat in Nevada arguing against extending unemployment benefits to people who have been out of work for six months or more but she's far from being the only one with that sentiment.  This came next:

Ralston then asked, “if people lose their jobs through no fault of their own, as many have during this recession, Sharron Angle’s solution is to cut their unemployment benefits so low so they’re somehow gonna go out and find jobs that don’t exist?” “There are jobs that do exist. That’s what we’re saying, is that there are jobs.” Angle replied.
Ah yes, the old "But the newspaper classifieds are FULL of jobs!" argument (as false then as it is now) - but at least in the past it didn't include the concept that it was a good idea to have unemployed people have no income whatsoever to force them to go to work.  That's where the mean comes in.

Another example of the damage that can be done as the RAs get smaller and smaller is this charmer:

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that it's OK for Orlando to restrict the group feedings that have brought dozens of homeless people to Lake Eola Park.

In a case watched by cities and homeless advocates across the country, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta reversed a 2008 ruling by a federal judge in Orlando who believed the city's rules were unconstitutional.

"We won on every single point. It's a complete vindication for the city," said City Attorney Mayanne Downs. "The point here was to protect Lake Eola Park. It's a very important part of our city's heritage and history, and all we wanted to do was to protect it from an unfair burden."

Advocates have continued to serve meals to large groups of homeless and needy people at Lake Eola Park since U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell ordered City Hall to stop enforcing its ordinance. In fact, in the nearly two years since his ruling, the regular feedings at Lake Eola have grown substantially, city officials say.

"Over 100 people have been gathering at the park every day, and it's really becoming a problem," said Commissioner Patty Sheehan, whose district includes the iconic downtown park. "It's gotten to the point where people are telling me they are no longer going to take their families to the park anymore."

The rules require advocates to obtain a permit for feedings of 25 or more people, and only two feedings a year are allowed in a given park. The City Council adopted the ordinance in 2006 after businesses and residents downtown complained that the feedings drew crowds of vagrants who caused problems outside the park.
So much for the RA's charity.  (h/t digbys)  Let's not only see to it that the homeless and the unemployed have no income, let's starve them too.  That'll show those lazy bastards a thing or two.

And here I thought doing charitable work was a good thing.

There are more examples but we'll stay with these two to demonstrate the diminishing RAs' lashing out and base meanness. If there's a silver lining to this cloud, it's the fact that the damage they do is limited to certain states and towns - their ability to do damage on a national level was taken away from them in 2008.

If the current nastiness from the RAs isn't a good reason to see to it that they don't get back the power to hurt Americans this November, I don't know what is.

No comments: