To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Observercast

End Doesn’t Justify The GOP Meanness

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The inherent immorality of the Republican Party has been revealed for all to see since the arrival of the coronavirus in the United States. That Greed’s Own Party values profits over people has been demonstrated repeatedly. But that’s just a symptom of a rotten belief system.

Fearing that taking action against the virus might hurt the economy, President Trump wrecked the economy as businesses closed and workers were furloughed or fired in the aftermath of such deadly lies as the virus being “totally under control” – in January – and “We’re very close to a vaccine” – in February.

The biggest lie, of course was that the COVID-19 was “a hoax.” Many of Trump’s faithful followers have expressed deathbed regrets at believing what turned out to be a death sentence. Their blood is on his hands – and those of his bootlicking lackeys whose echoes amplified the disinformation.

It’s all about the money with the GOP, the most obvious example coming back in May when White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett claimed, “Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work.”

“Human capital stock.” There can be grey areas in morality, but those who give it some thought have agreed that viewing people as having equal worth is a basic starting point. The variations on the Golden Rule descending from cultures around the world bear this out.

About 500 B.C., Confucius instructed: “Do not impose on others what you do not wish for yourself.”

The Mosaic Law expresses the equality in moral dealings as “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Hillel, near the B.C./A.D. cusp, refined it to “What you don’t like, don’t do to others. This is the whole Law; the rest is commentary.”

Most us grew up with Jesus’ injunction as recorded in Luke: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” [I’m guessing that version gained prominence because the expression in Matthew is pretty much a direct quote of Hillel.]

All other major religions have their own wordings as well.

In the last century, Martin Buber gained fame for his book I and Thou, the significance distinguishing personal relations from and “I and It” perspective. Viewing other people as “human capital stock” suitable for sacrifice on the altar of Wall Street puts those others into an “it” category.

A couple centuries earlier, Immanuel Kant put the matter in modern economic terms: “Act in such a manner that you treat humanity, both in your own person and in others, never as a means only but always as an end also.”

Forgive my memory, but I remember one of our main criticisms of communism during the Cold War was its doctrine that “the end justifies the means.” The Stalin purges, the Iron Curtain and totalitarian oppression [still evident in China] certainly gave us ample evidence to decry such a doctrine.

There is no difference between this evil dicta and one that would protect the portfolios of millionaires and billionaires [the GOP end] at the cost of the lives [the means] of others – the susceptible elderly, the health-compromised and the “human capital stock” being sent back to work in unsafe conditions.

But those deaths are not enough to prop up the pretense that the U.S. has overcome COVID-19. As the United States COVID-19 death toll topped 150,000 while Trump was playing golf – he cheats – he and his Secretary of Education Betsy DeVoss were working on plans to force children into school environments that are impossible to make safe.

Schools that have reopened in both Indiana and Mississippi – with good Republican governors – have already seen COVID-19 infections. No, it’s not enough to sacrifice the elderly and health-compromised to Wall Street profits. The Republicans are now coming after your kids. A 13-year-old Fort Sill dependent died of the virus last month. Youngsters are not immune.

But, don’t worry, Trump’s boy Barron won’t be put at risk. His Maryland private school is among those not opening for in-person classes at least until Oct. 1.

As reported by Huffington Post Sunday, “Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have based our decisions on science and data,” [Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis] Gayles said in a news release announcing the decision late Friday. “At this point the data does not suggest that in-person instruction is safe for students or teachers.”

Gosh! Basing decisions on “science and data” and not greed or political expediency. What a concept.

Writing in the aftermath of the slaughterhouse of World War I, Miguel de Unamuno observed, “It is inhuman, for example, to sacrifice one generation of men to the generation which follows, without having any feeling for the destiny of those who are sacrificed, without having any regard, not for their memory, not for their names, but for them themselves.”

He was talking about the generation of young men sacrificed for nationalistic ambitions, but his words apply as well to our elderly generations most susceptible to COVID-19, which were deemed expendable to the cause of the holy bottom line by Republicans at the outset of the outbreak.

That’s one generation they were willing to sacrifice. Now they have decided the youngest among us are also fit sacrifices – and not to the future but to the daily bottom line. Of course, Greed’s Own Party has been working overtime to perpetuate global warming toward making Earth uninhabitable for that generation anyway. They were already sacrificial lambs; the ritual has just been moved up.

Then, too, people with compromised health conditions, regardless of their generation, have also been marginalized as acceptable casualties, much like the Nazis murdered people with mental or physical disabilities. The old, the young, the impaired are drains on productivity.

The GOP end of fattening fat cats does not justify the means of treating humans as expendable pawns – much less the gleeful meanness by which they embrace their mission.

Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.