Pulitzer prize winner, essayist and poet Charles Simic pulls no punches in his latest for the New York Review of Books' Blog, castigating the craven indifference of the Republican Party to the economic plight of ordinary Americans in seven paragraphs:
Anyone who averts his eyes from the hopeless lives many of our fellow citizens lead and tells himself and others that these men and women only have themselves to blame, is either a fool or a soulless bastard.He's talking about the 46.5 million Americans now living in poverty--personified by the elderly couple counting their change to pay for painkillers, the middle-aged man bagging your groceries, the fast food clerks, some of them young but many quite old, standing for hours in front of coffee machines and cash register screens. He's talking about the 47 million who need food stamps to survive, half of them children and teenagers. And he wonders how in this country of ours anyone--or any political party--is so easily able to pretend they don't exist.
Fifty years after Lyndon Johnson declared a “War on Poverty,” the richest country in the world no longer cares if millions of its less fortunate citizens live or die.Simic doesn't waste our time explaining how the Republicans long ago abandoned any pretense of working in the interests of the American people. He's more taken by the breathtaking sadism of that Party's donor base who have invested hundreds of millions of dollars just to ensure their fellow citizens will face sickness, bankruptcy, or both, for lack of health care:
Bettering the lives of anyone but the wealthy, as we know, has ceased to be a concern of the Republican Party. But millions of Americans are on the brink of buying affordable health insurance and freeing themselves from a worry that makes their lives utter misery; the concerted effort backed by some of the richest men in this country to deprive them of that chance may be without precedent for sheer malice.What set the Republican "concerted effort" apart was its pure malevolence, championed by phony groups with stirring names like "Americans for Prosperity," "Tea Party Patriots," "Young Americans for Liberty," their names "as fake as those of Communist front organizations in the 1930s and 1940s and as venal as their forerunners."
Indifference to the plight and suffering of human beings of one class or another by some segment of the population is a universal phenomenon, but spending millions of dollars to deepen the misery of one’s fellow citizens and enlisting members of one political party to help you do so is downright vile. It must be motivated as much by sadism as by the political calculation that if these uninsured were to get insurance, they would give the Democratic Party a governing majority simply out of gratitude for letting them see a doctor.The same might be said for a Party who played Russian Roulette with Americans' personal finances, threatening an unprecedented default on the nation's credit, with all the catastrophic economic and market turmoil all but certain to ensue. Many Americans got a revealing glimpse of how little the GOP cared about them as they grimly prepared for the worst, only to see the House Republicans fold their bluffed hands at the end, as if playing Americans for fools was their intent all along. The same phony front groups spearheaded largely by a few billionaires led the country to the brink of economic calamity, all for the sake of denying their fellow citizens health care.
These groups spent more than $200 million last year to spread disinformation and delude the gullible among the populace about the supposedly catastrophic harm giving health care to the uninsured would do to the economy. Using them as a model, Americans should look out only for themselves. We have forgotten what this country once understood, that a society based on nothing but selfishness and greed is not a society at all, but a state of war of the strong against the weak.It's unfortunate that these unwelcome billionaires have forced themselves into our public policy discourse. It's even more unfortunate that they now hold captive fully one-half of our two-party political system, and that they've chosen to use that power to deliberately harm Americans.