In the past, one of the leveling factors in America was that regardless of the population’s socio-economic status, everyone was an American. Even though there was a unifying sense among Americans, there was a stereotype attached to the less fortunate that although unspoken, was always there and it was not a positive connotation. Today, the conservative movement led by Libertarian-minded Republicans has portrayed the poor as leeches on society and included the elderly, unemployed, and especially minorities as pariahs to be exterminated.
Instead of working to assist the less-advantaged voiceless people in America, Republicans are demonizing them to curry favor with their supporters by implying they are literally taking funds that could be better utilized to enrich the wealthy and their corporations.
The Republican-controlled House proposed spending cuts that eliminated programs for poor women, children, and the elderly with the guise that the cuts were necessary to control the deficit, but any savings from the cuts were promptly assigned to corporate tax cuts and oil industry subsidies. It was bad enough that Republicans in the federal government targeted the neediest among us, but the Republican-controlled states have taken the Draconian cuts farther than House Republicans dared. Of all the states that have decimated programs for the less-advantaged, Florida has distinguished itself by electing a hateful governor and state legislature that is intent on destroying an entire voiceless class that is in need of compassion and assistance. As the citizens of Florida are discovering, compassion is a quality Republicans do not recognize as worth cultivating, and indeed, something to avoid at all costs.
Florida’s governor, Rick Scott (R), is the most hated governor in the country and he continues giving his detractors reasons to despise the man who has no compassion for his constituents. So far this year, Governor Scott and the Republican-controlled legislature has refused to take $119 million in federal funds to begin implementing the Affordable Health Act that will assist seniors, retirees, children, and disabled people. Scott is opposed to the health law and is using his hatred for President Obama to garner praise from far-right neo-cons, and in putting politics before the well-being of poor people in Florida, he is subjecting defenseless people to a future of ill-health and eventually death.
Florida is one of the states suing the federal government to challenge the health law, and although there are many other states joining Florida, most have begun implementing the reforms and accepting federal funds in anticipation of the law’s full implementation. In particular, Scott is refusing to prepare for a segment of the law that provides health insurance to retirees who are over 55 but ineligible for Medicare, and a program the offers low-cost insurance for sick people with pre-existing conditions.
Rick Scott is a vile human being who made millions downsizing hospitals for profit and also presided over a health provider that specializes in drug testing. Earlier in the month, Scott signed a law requiring welfare recipients to undergo drug testing in order to receive assistance leading opponents to charge Scott with a conflict of interest because the company he headed had the contract to do the drug testing. Scott claimed to have relinquished controlling interest in the drug-testing company, but all he did was transfer his interest to his wife’s name as a way of skirting the conflict of interest charges. Rick Scott certainly does not have any concern for the people in Florida and rejecting federal funds for the health law is not the first time he has placed politics above the state’s welfare.
Earlier in the year, Scott rejected $2.4 billion in federal money for a high-speed rail project that would have created thousands of jobs, generated tax revenue, and helped the environment as well as people who would benefit from a high-speed rail system. Two Senators filed suit to challenge Scott’s refusal to use the federal money for the rail project and in defending his action, Scott used false numbers to convince the court that state money for the project had already been spent. Governor Scott’s general counsel wrote a letter to the Florida Supreme Court admitting he purposely misled the court regarding the amount of money that had been spent. Not only is Scott pandering to the far-right and denying Floridians a beneficial high-speed rail system, he is a lying cheater who will use any means to achieve his goals. It is little wonder Scott is the most hated governor in the country.
Rick Scott may be the most hated according to disapproval numbers, but he is hardly alone in taking funding from programs for the poor to pander to special interests. In Indiana for example, the Republican governor and GOP-controlled legislature is in jeopardy of losing $4.3 billion in Medicare funding over their effort to eliminate Planned Parenthood. The funding places over 1 million poor and elderly residents at risk to lose health care because Christian conservatives still think Planned Parenthood uses federal money for abortions. The Republicans’ goal is to make it impossible for women to get abortions, cancer screenings, and birth control, but losing Medicare benefits for people who need them most puts Indiana Republicans in the same category as the vile Rick Scott.
There are several states with Republican governors and legislatures who are taking funding meant to assist the poor with healthcare, food, and housing with the excuse that state budgets require harsh cuts, but in each case, any savings is being given to the wealthy and corporations in the form of tax breaks. It is true that the Republicans are beholden to their corporate masters, but there is an underlying hatred for the poor and the elderly that drives their Draconian measures. It is impossible for compassionate people to understand, but it must certainly have as its basis a libertarian, Ayn Rand ideology that greed and selfishness is a desirable characteristic to cultivate. This is evident by the brash audacity Republicans have who knowingly put vulnerable, voiceless citizens at risk to reward the wealthy regardless of negative poll numbers and disapproval ratings. That is the problem with true believers; they will withstand negative characterizations to fulfill their beliefs, and if it means starving children and the elderly, then so be it.
Hopefully, Americans are realizing that Republicans are only interested in promoting programs and policies that benefit the wealthiest citizens who do not need help. Every American knows someone who is less fortunate than they are and must understand that regardless of socio-economic standing, all Americans are people with hopes, dreams, and desire to achieve the American dream. If any American actually believes that the poor, elderly, or unemployed enjoys their misfortune, they must be a vile conservative. Every person who lives in this country is an American and deserves life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, but Republicans just do not agree. The Republicans who also claim to be conservative Christians are hypocrites who belie their belief in Christ’s teachings and admonition to care for the poor even if it means selling all their belongings to offer assistance.
There is little anyone can do to change the minds or behavior of true believers, and they would have more success trying to change a schizophrenic who hears voices in their head. Republicans, conservatives, and libertarians all hear voices in their heads that instruct them to starve the poor and deprive the elderly of decent medical care. The conservative mindset is a disease without a cure and the only recourse for relief is the ballot box. However, Republicans are smart enough to realize their malfeasance is not popular with most Americans so they are moving quickly to suppress voters who are disgusted with their mistreatment of America’s poor and elderly. There is no end to the hate and contempt Republicans have for the American people and it is only exceeded by their hate for the voiceless.
In four months, Republicans have decimated programs for the poor, elderly, and children and they will be in power for at least a year-and–a-half. In lieu of surgical intervention to excise the parts of Republicans’ brains that control hate and contempt, Americans can only hope the true believers grow weary of devastating this country. However, like all true believers, hateful Republicans and vile conservatives will never change their behavior and will eventually kill off Americans who are not corporations, Christian conservatives, or extremely wealthy. When they are finished, America’s population will be 98% less than it is now and the Rick Scotts of America can finally rest easy and revel in their accomplishments.