I have come to realize that one key difference between the more extreme elements of the Republican party and mainstream Democrats is how we view luck, fate and work. Democrats, I believe, endorse hard work, as do people everywhere. In fact we endorse it so much that when Bill Clinton was president the unemployment rate dropped to a historic low of around 4%!
But in addition to endorsing hard work I feel Democrats have more of a sense of "but for the grace of god go I." Homeless people, we understand, are not bad people, are not failures. They may be people with substance abuse problems who need treatment, but we understand that we all could be just a few really bad breaks away from being just like them. There but for the grace of god.
People who are upside down on the mortgages and need help are not stupid, greedy idiots who should be tossed on the street. They are people who bought into the hype of an actively sold myth, perpetuated by the housing industry, and greased by the total deregulation of the mortgage brokerage industry, courtesy of Republicans. They made bad bets, yes, but if we can keep them in their homes and in the process help save a neighborhood too--thereby keeping up everyone's home values and keeping things from sliding into urban decay--well, maybe this isn't so bad.
Republicans, I feel, do not have this sense of grace. If you're homeless, even in today's horrid economy, you probably are lazy, probably deserve it. Does you kid deserve it too? No, but that's your problem buddy, not mine.
If you are about to get foreclosed upon--even if the bank in fact could renegotiate your mortgage to something that would make more sense--well, tough luck man. You should have worked harder. What, job gone? Move to Texas. Or India.
I get it, I will never convince anyone on the extreme right about anything. I know. But I have to say that their feelings about the lazy sucking up government dollars when they could be working, that is just pure bullshit.
I know because I benefited from, and am immensely grateful for, President Obama's much-maligned stimulus.
You see I was laid off in late 2010 through no fault of my own. That's why it's called getting "laid off" and not called getting fired. I earned some severance pay from my job, and then was on the government dole, collecting unemployment as I looked for work. And I looked, and I looked some more. I went on interviews, I called all my friends and contacts, I beat the bushes. And every week I collected my $405 in unemployment. It kept us from the streets. Along the way I took what jobs I could, but it wasn't enough to keep me from going back on unemployment when I had to. I didn't feel bad about this, or like a failure. I worked for years for this money to be there for me when I needed it.
Thanks to President Obama my family could afford healthcare in the form of a greatly reduced fee for COBRA insurance. Thanks to stimulus money it cost $400 per month, instead of its usual cost for a family of three, around $1300. If we had to pay the full price we would again would have been on the streets, or living with one of my parents. Again, thank you President Obama.
My reduced-rate COBRA lasted through July 2010. With a stroke of great luck Randi secured a job with health insurance that started that following August. We never had to be afraid to get sick, thanks to President Obama.
(I used to joke about health insurance: "Hey man, now I'm insured! I'm going to get sick now ALL THE TIME!")
I had a hard time finding a job thanks to, you know, the Republicans destroying our economy. But thanks to President Obama's extension of unemployment insurance we were able to stay in our new apartment too. True he had to cut a deal with the devil, i.e. extending the ridiculously irresponsible Bush Tax Cuts to do it, but he helped save one family at least, us. Thanks President Obama.
These are small things in the grand scheme of it all, but there are millions of families like mine. We worked hard, we saved for rainy days, and then we still got blasted. And we all should take a moment to not only thank President Obama, but defend him as he's being attacked for protecting us.
And then, guess what? Eventually I got lucky enough to find a job a couple of months ago, knock wood! I no longer am collecting unemployment insurance, of course, and am in fact paying my fair share of taxes, happily!
And for all those years while I worked in New York I paid more than my fair share, because I lived in a humanistic Blue State, and the money made in New York pays for all the various and sundry disasters that seem to strike Red States like clockwork. Thank god they are so anti-government, those Red States, or else they would have to actually pay for the services they suck up like vacuums. As they say there is no free lunch. It's just that the rich Blue States--which have a lot of what in them? That's right LIBERALS--pay for the buffet so we can all eat in this nation during times of famine.
Because that's how we roll. We believe that but for the grace of god there goes all of us. And they have the nerve to talk about religion.