Who We Are As Americans

I’ve dialed back on the political blog posts in recent years but this time, I need to vent.

Here’s something I believe very strongly:

Governments exist to do those things which families, towns, even states cannot do for themselves. They exist to preserve, protect, and defend (and I use those words deliberately) the people within their boundaries. And “protect and defend” means more than just having a big, well-equipped army.

It means taking care of our own when they are in need.

Now, reasonable people can disagree on exactly where the boundaries are for the role of government. I have no problem with that idea. But to suggest that disaster aid for people whose lives have been overturned by a hurricane or a tornado or an earthquake is not part of the essential function of government, or that it should be held hostage to the political whims of one party — that’s just wrong.

So when I read today that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is saying that any disaster aid should be offset by additional spending cuts or it shouldn’t happen, I was beyond livid.


This is not who we are as Americans.

When something bad happens to your neighbor, you ask, “how can I help?”. You don’t ask him to write you a check for the casserole you bring over, or send her a bill for the hours you spent helping her pump out her basement. And if you think holding disaster aid hostage to your political beliefs is somehow the right thing to do, then you are a callous, selfish, and shallow person and I really don’t want to know you.

3 thoughts on “Who We Are As Americans”

  1. You’re absolutely right. But to be accurate Cantor is saying that he won’t support additional aid unless it’s cut from somewhere else. So now the problem depends on where that somewhere else comes from. If it comes from, for example, support for the disabled, unemployed, or some other group that’s already suffering then I have a problem. But if they pay for the hurricane support by dropping a few more F-22s from the military budget then I’d be fine with that. But apparently Cantor is from a district that relies heavily on defense spending so I wouldn’t hold my breath.

    I’m sure that eventually most of the people who have suffered hurricane damage will get help. And some other poor disadvantaged group is going to get the short end of the stick. That has become the “American Way.”

  2. Good point! My rant is definitely predicated on the assumption that the demanded cuts are going to screw over some other social support program. Given the Republicans’ recent track record that seemed like a safe assumption. I should have been more clear on that though.

  3. It never hurt’s to be more clear but you’re right: at this point Republicans screwing over the little guy is almost a tautology. 🙂

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