Saturday, August 15, 2009

Poor Republicans

Financial Times:

“I have worked for 35 years to get my healthcare coverage and I don’t want the government meddling with it,” says Geri Pollick, a retiree in a floppy summer hat holding aloft a banner telling President Obama to keep his hands off Medicare, a government programme for those over 65.

Ms Pollick is among hundreds denied access to the small community centre in spite of having arrived hours before the meeting. “They want to turn us into Canada when thousands are coming over here from Canada just to survive,” she added.

When it was pointed out that Canadians have a significantly higher life expectancy than Americans, Ms Pollick replied: “That can’t be true. That’s not what I’ve heard.”

Almost every progressively-minded person I know takes such ignorance as a by-product of the conservative temperament, as though voting Republican in rural areas can only be explained by some genetic predisposition for stupidity.

And yet, when an analogous ignorance is displayed in some way by say, an African-American in North Philadelphia, no one of progressive inclination will ever be found saying that this is due to some fixed quality unique to people in that area!

Any community which suffers a lack of resources will invariably exhibit the effects of wanting resources; this is well enough understood in cases that excite our political sympathies.

But it is important not to be led into illusion by political actors who solicit our allegiance against other disenfranchised communities solely on the grounds that they do not yield politically useful outcomes! The political party is never a friend to the dispossessed; its only recourse is to lie about the impoverishment of the other side and attribute it to treason.

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