Sunday, July 3, 2011

What Is So Compassionate About the Conservatives?

New ads on television and conservative pundits like Michael Gerson are giving the Republicans much more credit for compassion than the Party has evinced in the past fifty years, if not more. Despite the rhetoric, there is no commitment to care for anyone beyond those least in need of any help. Charity cannot be found where none exists.

The truth is that most of the major initiatives that have moved our society forward have come from moderates or liberals. There is absolutely not one “conservative” idea that has benefited our society; certainly many of their notions have been a boon to the wealthiest of our citizens, who at present enjoy the lowest tax rate in our nation’s history. And this while we suffer through one of the worst economic periods in our history.

It has come to the point where the driving force in the party is the most extreme element; for example, people like Bachmann and her conservative cohorts, see no need for government at all, and it makes one wonder what many of our members of Congress are doing in Congress when they don’t even believe in government. That is, until they need it. But Bachmann who in fact is doing quite well in what are still the early days of the presidential campaign, has gone on record as being favor of having "Intelligent Design" taught in the schools. At the moment, her line is that the raising the debt ceiling is a bad idea. So much for enlightenment.

The current entrenchment of debt ceiling talks is a lesson for us, as we watch Republicans go as far as to tell us that “defaulting” is no big deal. It is difficult to believe that anyone with a grain of intelligence or an iota of responsibility would say such a thing. But other Republicans aside from Bachmann have done so. They are the poster children for why we should spend more on education.

No side is perfect here, but Republicans have been far more guilty of raising false arguments, and they have also been more willing to put our country at risk, no doubt in the mistaken belief that if the country defaults, Obama would then have a “failed presidency.” Another delusion.

While Republicans love to harangue the rest of us on patriotism, they play fast and loose with our future, resolutely loyal to “values” that have more to do with greed than responsible governance. I think it's a wonderful idea for Congress to stay on the job until they work out the issue of the debt ceiling. To fail to raise the debt ceiling for the first time in our history is an embarrassing, shocking, stupid path toward disaster.

A compromise must be worked out. And for those who are not familiar with the term, it means both sides give a little. You know, if you can't bend a little, you are in danger of breaking. So it must be worked out, and we can only hope that they do so with a bit of humility, a great deal of common sense, and an absence of the ubiquitous posturing. It may be too much to hope for; nonetheless, hope we must.

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