Archive for November, 2011

Seriously, Newt?

November 22, 2011

All the Occupy movement starts with the premise that we all owe them everything. They use a public park they didn’t pay for, go nearby to use bathrooms they didn’t pay for, to beg food from places they don’t want to pay for, to obstruct those who are going to work to pay the taxes to sustain the bathrooms and the park so they can self-righteously explain they are the paragons of virtue to which we owe everything… Go get a job right after you take a bath.”

— Newt Gingrich, November 19, 2011.

That statement says a lot more about Newt Gingrich than it does about the Occupy Wall Street protesters. First, the assertions are false pretty much all the way through. Many of the Occupy protesters are out of work, but they did pay taxes when they had employment, so they did indeed pay for those parks and public restrooms.

I spent some time talking with, and sometimes challenging, an Occupy protester at the information desk at Occupy Denver. I suspect that Newt has not had such as experience, but prefers to pontificate from his ivory tower. What that Occupy protester explained was that he got laid off from his job in 2008. All he had been able to get is temporary work, but he gets terminated when his hours get him too close to full time. He then jumps to another temporary job. He is working and wants to work more, but is unable to find the work. Nowhere in that conversation was there a sense that “we all owe them everything.”

I can’t understand how Newt can claim to love America, but have contempt for some many Americans and ridicule the most American of ideals – the right to assembly and free speech and to air grievances about policies in our country.

Newt is as out-of-touch with middle America as you might expect from someone who has a $250,000 no-interest revolving charge account at Tiffany’s and made over $1.6 million in consulting fees from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

… and this guy is a front runner for the GOP presidential nomination.

That suggests that the problem with conservatives extends well beyond Newt.

In my experience, the majority of my Republican friends are caring and compassionate people for their family, friends and associates, but it stops there. There is no empathy and often outright contempt for those different than them. Sometimes it is differences in ethnicity, perhaps religion, or perhaps socio-economic status, but if you are different, you somehow aren’t a real American.

Is this the party that we want to lead this country?

 

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A Halloween Story

November 1, 2011

I love Halloween. It’s fun to dress up and see all of the kids in their costumes. This year, I decided to dress up like a Republican. I pulled out a suit I bought in 1984, back when the Great Ronald Reagan owned the White House and the World. About 6:00 pm the doorbell started to ring.

“Trick or Treat!” they shouted.

“We don’t give handouts here. Get a job!” as I smiled with that Dick Cheney smile.

One little uppity little nitwit spoke up. “We can’t get a job.”

“Why not?”, I said. There are plenty of jobs out there for people who want to work.

“I can’t get a job because I am only 8 years old.”, he retorted.

“Well, it didn’t used to be that way. The liberals of your ilk imposed job killing government regulations in 1916, when they passed the Child Labor Act.” It’s your fault if you can’t get a job.

And so it went for the next couple of hours. Beggars after beggars looking for a handout. Then it happened. This kid, maybe 12 years old, rings the bell.

“Trick or Treat!”

“Hey, you look different than all of the other kids. You are dressed pretty sharp in that suit and all. What are you dressed as?”

“I am dressed as an investment banker. Like my Dad,” he said with a proud American smile.

“What are you doing out here begging?”, I asked.

“Well,” he said, somewhat sheepishly. “My Dad lent a bunch of money to a bunch of poor people at 17% interest and the losers couldn’t pay him back. We lost everything.”

“That’s awful.”, I said. “Come in. Let’s talk. You lost everything?”

“Yes.” He said. “Not everything, really, but we had to let two of the staff go and my Mom can’t have her personal trainer over any more. It’s awful.”

“It sounds awful, I said.” This kid really touched me. “What’s your name?”

“Tony,” he said.

“Tony, it will be ok. You have everything you need to be successful in America. You can live the American Dream. You are smart, and well-dressed. Most of all, you have a rich Dad.”

“You think so?” he said with that spark in his eyes that only entrepreneurs have.

“Yes, I do.” I asserted, as I gave him an unopened 2 pound box of Russell Stover candy and patted him on the back. I walked him out the door. As he turned with a smile on his face,  I said, “This is America. You will do great.”

It lifted my spirits. There’s a chance for America after all. About that time, a cute little girl dressed as a princess about 8 years old stepped up on the porch.

“Trick or Treat!”

“Hey, you are a cute little princess.” I said. “Let me give you some advice for your treat that is better than candy. Keep being a little princess. Learn how to cook and you can stay home, take care of the kids, get married and let your man take care of you. It’s the bedrock of American society.”

She scrunched her nose with a confused look on her face and romped off to the next house.

For the next few hours, the bell rang less and less. “I knew it,” I thought smugly to myself. They are lazy. If you don’t give them handouts, they will quit asking.

As the evening went on, the traffic slowed to nothing, so I decided that Halloween was over. I mused, “I wish it could be like this every day of the year.” … and I hope Tony will be ok.

I went upstairs, took off my suit and put on my dungarees. “That’s over,” I sighed to myself. “Now I am going to have to start caring about people again.”