Please Think: This Isn’t The Kind of Exceptionalism We Need

This installation of “Please Think” is focused on how exceptional the modern republican party has become. The party that values exceptionalism has truly become exceptional, exceptionally hypocritical.

Please don't skip past the word “hypocrite” as rhetoric. I chose this word specifically. To refresh your memory, Merriam-Webster defines hypocrite as:

1: a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion
2: a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings

I ask our fellow countrymen on the right to consider their actions and words. I ask them to please think. You may have heard that earlier in the week at the Tea Party debate a hypothetical question was asked about what should happen to a person who chooses not to purchase healthcare but then falls victim to a serious health issue.

While Ron Paul gave a distinctly libertarian response to the question, he was interrupted by someone in the audience yelling " let them die " which was immediately followed by more members of the audience yelling "yeah."

My response to this is please think.

Please think about what it means to be Christian people. Let them die? How can you pretend to be the party of religion, the party of morality, the party of life, as Rick Perry put's it, and have your members yell "let them die" and then have other members applaud? We can’t be a moral nation of devout people if our society is devoid of compassion.

Please think about what it means to be the greatest nation on earth. Republicans are constantly reminding us of the greatness of our nation. Yet, how can our nation be great when we look at our fellow citizens and say "let them die"? Is that the behavior of a truly great nation?

Please think about the recent healthcare system debate. The republicans said we didn't need to change our healthcare system, it's the best in the world. If our only recourse is to "let them die," how can our healthcare system be great?

Please think about your love of country. Republicans like to claim that they are the patriots among patriots. No other party or person could love country nearly so much as a republican. Yet, how can you claim love of country and not love your fellow countrymen? "Let them die," this is how you express love of country?

Please think about the wealth of our nation. We are the wealthiest nation on earth. We are the most powerful nation on earth. What kind of nation are we, with such wealth and power, that we would simply "let them die"?

Please think about how you view everyone but yourself. Inherent in the modern right's view is the idea that anyone who needs assistance must be lazy, must be freeloading off of the system, must be dragging our nation down. This notion assumes that your beloved country is full of beloved countrymen who are lazy. How could we have become the greatest nation on earth if our country were a nation of lazy freeloaders? Please think. There are other possibilities. Perhaps some of your fellow countrymen work jobs that don't offer healthcare. Perhaps they don't earn enough to afford healthcare. Perhaps they have children to feed and provide for. Perhaps some don't have healthcare because they can barely afford to buy food. Perhaps some who don't have healthcare are small business owners who are scraping to make ends meet, keep their businesses afloat and pay their employees. Please think.

Each of these examples demonstrates a deep and very dark hypocrisy that is developing on the right. If you truly are Christian, or if you truly believe we are the greatest nation, or if you truly love our country how can you yell "let them die" and then applaud?

While I don’t subscribe to Ron Paul's view because I am not a libertarian, I don't take issue with him giving a libertarian response. However, at the tail end of his response Ron Paul talked about his volunteer work at churches and his career as a doctor saying "we never turned anybody away…we have given up on this whole concept that we might take care of ourselves" indicating that rather than government we could turn to our communities and churches and charitable organizations for help. The problem is that when you juxtapose turning for help to a community that yells "let them die," this argument falls apart. Please think.

Finally, what is most troubling is the absence of any pushback from any of the Republican candidates on the “let them die” comment. Is this what you want from your party? Is this what modern conservatism has become? Is this the kind of behavior you want on your side of the aisle? Please think about what is happening inside your party and what that means for the future of your country.



Please Think: The Death Penalty
Last week there was a moment at the republican debate when the audience applauded Rick Perry's unabashed support of his implementation of the death penalty . Please think. It is clear that there are some who are going to support capital punishment, and some who do not. However, applauding the death penalty rings morally hollow. Putting another person to death, no matter how terrible a person they may be, no matter how much you love justice, is a serious matter. It is a solemn duty which should be dealt with in a sober manner. Please think. We can still be a nation of justice without becoming a nation of barbarous people who cheer and applaud executions.



Please Think: Poverty and The Heritage Foundation
I'll be doing some more extensive writing on this issue, but I wanted to pull out one gem quickly here. Recently the Heritage Foundation released a report which attempts to make the claim that no Americans can truly be considered poor. They argue that if you live in a house with a refrigerator, or an air conditioner or a tv, you can’t be considered to live in poverty. I know, I know this is absurd. But wait, it gets better.

One of the arguments made by the Heritage Foundation was highlighted in a recent Atlantic article . The Heritage Foundation actually wrote that poor Americans can't be considered poor because they:

"have an adequate and reasonably steady supply of food"

A reasonably steady supply of food? Has it come to this? Has our hatred of government, country and fellow countrymen become some deep that we think a "reasonably steady supply of food" is good enough? Please think.




Please Think: Tax Cuts and Government Regulation
Finally, in this weeks installment of "please think" we look at the republican response to Obama's jobs plan. The all too predictable "no" coming from the republicans seems to be centering around two issues, taxes and government regulation.

Again, we ask our republican friends to please think.

First, Speaker Boehner claims that we can't enact the tax cuts President Obama suggested because it would make our tax code too complicated. Please think Mr. Boehner. Your party has fought for and installed most of the complexity in our tax code to support the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations. Now that it is suggested that we put a temporary tax incentive in place to encourage hiring middle class Americans you say the tax code is too complex. Please think.

But wait, I've saved the best for last, government regulation. Republicans argue that it is the heaps of stifling government regulation put in place by the Obama administration that is preventing the "job creators" from creating jobs. Of course they failed to mention any specifics about government regulations that are problematic so I guess we'll have to piece that together for ourselves.

One hint was found in a recent report released by the Republicans from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. In the report, the Republicans said that a ban on Burmese Pythons that are currently taking over the Everglades in Florida would:

"devastate a small but thriving sector of the economy."

Please think.

We need jobs. We need the jobs plan. We need action, and we need it now. Please think more about what Americans need and please think less about political maneuvering around how you can avoid doing anything for the next 14 months as we await the 2012 elections.

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