Friday, January 18, 2013

Ironies and Inconsistencies Abound with the Death of Compassion

I probably have done what I have promised I wouldn't - read too many responses to blog posts and newspaper articles and columns - but it is truly sad to see the lack of compassion among Americans.

Are there homeless people dying in the streets? There is a smug and snide comment.
Are children failing in school? It's the fault of unwed mothers and parents who don't care. Besides (if they are minorities) 'these people' are congenitally prone to become criminals.
Are people poor? It's they're own fault.

It's more depressing than the issues themselves.

It's challenging to understand the reasoning behind some stances. Poor people aren't to have babies out of wedlock. Yet they aren't to have abortions. Yet if poor people give birth to children out of wedlock, then they must find their way in a world in which some of the very people who clamored about the moral demand for their birth, don't want these children to have health care, cut back on education funding and job training for their parents. They want the market to determine whether they get McDonald's or a real grocery store in their neighborhoods, but it's the fault of the people who live in poor communities if their diets increase the rise of diabetes and heart disease.

Without equal investments in their schools in their neighborhoods, we want poor children to grow up to be as educated, or more educated, than their more affluent peers. We want them to stay away from all of the temptations of youth because they are poor. All of their role models must be virtuous. And they must be impervious to any negative influences in their neighborhoods.

We extol the virtues of motherhood. Middle class and affluent mothers who stay at home to care for their children are 'brave' and have great 'character'. Poor mothers who stay at home to care for their children are 'lazy' and setting a poor example.

If poor or low income parents (particularly single mothers) work and have jobs that don't allow them to get home in time for PTA meetings, or parent teacher conferences, poor or low income parents don't care about their children's education. If their more affluent counterparts have careers that prevent them from being similarly involved in their children's lives they are prey to becoming 'victims' of the stress placed upon them by outmoded domestic gender roles. They get sympathy for their struggle to try and 'have it all'.

The homeless are essentially no one's problem. Their life and death on the streets cost us nothing - as long as you don't count jail, emergency hospital visits and hospitalizations, or if you decide not to count the cost in lost human capital. After all these are people with drastically diminished capacities as consumers. Which means they are unable to pay rent, food, clothes, or any of the other commodities the rest of us take for granted. Other than that, they cost us...nothing.

Similarly those without health care are no one's problem. We don't want affordable health care, because it is government 'taking over'. Yet ultimately, it's government that determines who are doctors are, where our hospitals are and how they operate, the medicines we have access to and how much we pay for them. Those who decry 'Obamacare's' mandate, have 'the right' to not be 'forced' to pay for health care. Which means that they are exercising a 'right' that doesn't infringe upon the rest of us. That is, until the rest of us pay for them...twice!
We pay for them in higher taxes, we pay for them in higher insurance premiums. They cost us three times if you separate out the actual costs for health care we pay to make up for the what the uninsured don't pay as they exercise their 'rights'.

No. We simply have lost the capacity to care. For anyone except ourselves. At least until it comes to a time when we are ourselves, in need. At which time, of course, we reject nothing offered to us. Because we 'paid for it'. And of course, none of these 'other people' ever have.

The death of compassion, may end up being the death of us all...

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