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Eyes Without Compassion

I didn’t bother to watch the Republican presidential debate hosted by CNN and the tea party.  After their debate last week, I didn’t think it was necessary to catch all the rhetoric live and instead opted to see the highlights on the MSNBC television show Morning Joe the next morning.  And in true “look what happened last night” fashion I saw all I needed to see to confirm my suspicions that picking one of these conservative front runners would be a huge step backwards for the country.

By now you’ve seen the video clip taken from this debate when Wolf Blitzer asked candidate Ron Paul what would be appropriate if a young man, age thirty and without health insurance, suffered an accident and wound up in a coma in a hospital.  Essentially, Mr. Paul responded that we as a society would have no obligation to come to his aid.  His answer was colored in patriotic language with key phrases like the beautiful thing about our society is that we give people freedom to take risk, both good and bad.  But the message was clear.  Mr. Paul would let the man die.

In Mr. Paul’s opinion, the unfortunate man in Mr. Blitzer’s hypothetical question should have been more responsible instead of taking risk with his health and prepared himself better.  Despite what may have been Mr. Hypothetical’s misfortune, no one should feel obligated to help him in his time of need.  If a person wanted to donate resources and volunteer to help him then that is their right to do so and god bless them if they do.  But the man should not look to his government for help.

As Mr. Paul gave his answer there were people in the crowd applauding with hoots and haws, giving their approval.  Let the man die.  And this is where we are supposed to be headed as the Untied States of America, supposedly the most generous and prosperous nation of people this planet has ever witnessed.

Many of the same people in the crowd who applaud letting the fictitious man die will be the same people begging for help if the role was reversed.  How many times have we seen people steep in the belief that people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps come begging for somebody, anybody to help then when their own bootstraps fail?  People once secure in their finances with good jobs and a promising pension and a small fortune of savings and all the health insurance the family needs sing a totally different tune when they lose their job with the insurance benefits and their investments dry up and they wind up looking down the barrel of an uncertain future.  Walking a mile is different in another person’s shoes, especially when those shoes come with broken legs and a bootstrap that gave up the ghost a long time ago.

If Ron Paul was the fictitious man lying in the hospital bed, or better yet was a family member of the man in the bed and didn’t have any way to help, I’m sure he would want the assurance of living in an environment with a safety net that does its best to make sure nobody falls through our social cracks.  As a collective people who work towards a common goal, we shouldn’t be so callous to believe that we shouldn’t do for anybody who can’t help his or her self.

America is supposed to be a nation with the cherished privilege of social freedom.  But with the privilege of social freedom comes social responsibility.  The fact that somebody is down on their luck doesn’t mean that we should wash our hands of them and leave them to their fate.  We are supposed to be a country that’s better than that.  Yes everyone should be willing to do what they can for his or her self, family, and their community.  But in a civilized society, that goes for everyone.  We should balance those who can’t do for themselves against the ones who can do way more for themselves and then some because you never know when the situation might get flipped.

Despite everything that is going well for you now, you’ll never know when you might need help in the future.  I remember a story about Howard Hughes.  Mr. Hughes was the richest man in the world and could buy just about anything.  I don’t remember how it happened, but at some point he found himself stranded in the desert and in need of a ride.  A man came along and game Mr. Hughes a ride without knowing who he.  When Mr. Hughes died, he remembered the man who gave him a ride in his will.  The man became a millionaire overnight.

Now the man could have looked at Mr. Hughes walking through the desert and tip his hat and applaud as he drove by saying what a beautiful country we live in where a man has the freedom to wind up in the desert without the means to save himself.  But instead, the man saw somebody who needed help and rose to the occasion.

Throughout history we admire people who go above and beyond to help those who cannot help themselves.  Jesus the Christ, Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others fall into this line of behavior and we admire them all.  These are the ones who could.  The ones who can do become the leaders of the others who are less capable.  But when we have the opportunity to do the same thing as a people, to make a national collective that would essentially do the same thing in the vein of the ones we have been taught to admire, too many of us can’t see the forest because we are so caught up in a single tree.  And if that’s how we truly want to operate, why even bother with a government?   Because if this is the leadership we want from our government, only prayer will help us in our hour of need.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - Posted by | Life, Thoughts


  1. National collective? Ruled by government and ENFORCED BY GOVERNMENT? Scary thought! Isn’t that communism or Nazism? The difference is the “national collective” [Nazism] vs. “unite the workers of the world” [ Soviet Communism, how’d that work out?) that has never worked and never will. The world has tried it numerous times and with what success? NONE! People should help people and I agree with much of what you stated in your rant but much was “rhetoric” as you called Ron Paul’s (and I agree with you on Ron Paul..just you have a bunch of rhetoric yourself). I believe there is gonna be government no matter what but they should stick to the constitutional mandate that the founding fathers put forth and put provisions (through proper channels)to make the country better. Such as amendments to that foundation which has been used by the way (only started with 10 in the bill of rights). And I agree with you on the point we do have to help those who CAN’T help themselves. We should be compassionate as a society..ABSOLUTELY! However, what about the people who CAN help themselves and don’t do a damn thing to help themselves?! They just take a hand out, cheat, steal, AND take money from the government. Don’t act like people don’t or you are living in a bubble.Those who truly can’t deserve our help through the private sector AND the government but those people are pretty obvious to me. People who won’t take a job b/c it’s beneath them. Hate your hard times…NOT. I have a college degree with honors and can’t find a job worthy of my education. Know what I’m doing? No help from the government…I’m working in a factory. Pulling myself up by the bootstraps. If you can’t, then lets help those. but if you can..but just refuse to because it’s below you…stop crying.

    Comment by Bobby | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback Bobby,

      Yes it is true that a people ruled by government can be considered communism or some form of Nazism. But it is also socialism and capitalism and every other form of government we can think of. Normally, people don’t have the option to live within the confines of a government controlled area but don’t follow the rules. There are exceptions, but we usually call those people criminals or politicians. People who live in the United States are ruled by government. It’s not rocket science.

      Communism isn’t the only type of government that has failed. Feudalism, a form of capitalism where the government allowed the rich to get richer while the poor get poorer has been tried as well and has failed. Does that mean we need to stop with all forms of capitalism? I don’t think so. What we need is balance. I think I’ve tried to explain this to you before. Without a balanced approach that asks everyone to contribute to the well being of the whole, things might work for a little while, but they will eventually fail.

      And that little bit you wrote about the Constitution’s mandate really does apply here. The Constitution wasn’t written in stone so that the people of the United States have to live with the rules set forth back in the late 18th century. It adapts to the times. The Constitution originally said that black people were only 3/5ths human. While some people would like to live with those rules, some of us who are more enlightened are happy to leave those days of constitutionally mandated racial disparity in our past.

      You talk about people who take and take from the government without doing anything to help their selves. You must be talking about defense contractors and other big pocket corporations that live well off the public’s teat. They have their handout, cheat, and steal. Remember the big fervor about General Electric making billions and paying little to nothing in taxes? And what’s really sad is that a lot of people, mostly conservative, want to do more so that more of corporate America will pay even less in taxes and contribute less to our social welfare. While I can appreciate the generosity of the American public, I really find these handouts disgusting.

      But like most conservatives who would applaud Ron Paul, you’ll point a finger of damnation at people who exist at the bottom of our social collective. Penny wise and pound foolish, you want to focus attention on people who collect unemployment or food stamps or something else. You found a job, why can’t they? Off the top I’d say because they aren’t jobs to be had. The unemployment rate is hovering about 9%. That’s 8% for white people, about 16% for black people. Is your factory just taking everyone and anyone that applies? I’m sure that’s a no. Do you know any factories that are hiring anybody that applies? I’m sure that’s a no as well. Exxon made a few billion dollars last quarter, are they hiring people with all that money they are sitting on top of? Don’t think so. So where all these jobs people are supposed to apply for? Just turn off welfare and jobs will magically pop up just doesn’t work.

      It’s great that you have the work ethic to do a job that’s beneath you. Three years ago, even though I had more than 15 years experience in the development of database solutions and other forms of software, I had to take a minimum wage job at a bottle factory and I considered myself fortunate to get it. My take home pay wasn’t even $40 a day and there were no benefits and it interfered with my ability to find a more fitting job. And every day I saw the owner of the business drive up in his brand new Ford F-150 4×4 super cab pickup. Dude probably spent more in gas than he did paying my wage. But now conservative say that the owner shouldn’t pay his fair share of taxes, shouldn’t have to follow any government regulations, he shouldn’t have to pay a minimum wage because he’s creating jobs no matter how much they suck. That’s the American way!

      Honestly, you might like that arrangement, but that’s not my idea of bootstrap pulling. Just like people who can should, people who can do better should. We shouldn’t be so desperate to have a job that we have to settle simply because nobody wants to help. I’m more than happy to leave that factory job to people without an education or people without experience. That factory job I left was probably a dream job for someone else who didn’t have my skills or experience. They could join that company and work through the ranks to one day run that joint. That’s not for me. I can, and will, do better if I am given the opportunity to find the better opportunity. I can’t do better if I am being forced to do anything just so I can to survive.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

  2. What I find oddly ironic, given our generosity as Americans…. when Haiti or Japan suffer their natural disasters, the celbrities come out in droves pleading with us to give our money freely to these downtrodden people/countries. But when something like Irene happens leaving millions without power, food, or whatever… these people are nowhere to be found. Our politicians of course are arguing over whether to fund disaster relief, or to let em ride it out. Kind of like how we send billions in food to the people of starving nations (which seems to be distributed by whatever warlord/dictator/powers that be, in their own little political list of friends), yet we have millions of starving kids and adults here in America everyday that just get left by the wayside, who can get help if they go to the right places and fill out all the proper paperwork correctly and own a phone to verify themselves as too poor to get by without help.

    On one end, I dont believe in a bottomless taxpayer funded bank account for EVERYbody to sponge off of, BUT, I dont believe in just letting them hang out to dry either. I myself as an individual with little to give as it is, would nevertheless help out anyone who asked of me, to the best of my ability, if I have what they need….even if I may feel that I need it. Just cuz for some reason or another I believe that someone somewhere might do the same to me, in some karmic exchange or something. All I ever ask for is a simple please and thank you.

    To be sure, its hard to weed out the ones who WANT to help themselves from those that want a free ride, given the complexity of circumstances surrounding every case. And even as a conservative leaning person, I also believe in having a heart. As for Mr Paul, one might be reminded that he is also known as Dr. Paul….and if he came across the guy a the broken leg, or in an accident that left the guy knocked out cold, I believe he took the old hippocratic oath to help the guy, at least personally, anyways…

    Comment by mikelovell | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

    • MOOKIE!!!

      Very good point! It is ironic when we see politicians and celebrities clamoring to help everybody but their own. America was quick to get to Haiti or Japan half way around the world but has so much trouble helping people in our own backyard. What gives?

      And I know that we can’t be a bottomless pit for just anybody with their handout. But I do believe we should take steps to help everyone who honestly needs help. And when somebody is in a hospital bed in a coma fighting for their life, I think we should have some compassion. Yet it is hard to weed out the people who can but don’t from the ones that can but won’t, but wouldn’t it be better to err on the side of caution. Is it really so horrible that we actually help someone who could’ve helped his or her self? I say we go out on a limb and help the guy. And if they can pay people back then give them that opportunity or we can take steps to get whatever back.

      Lastly, I do believe that Dr. Ron Paul would help the guy in need of help if he ran across that guy. That would work if only everybody was lucky enough to cross Ron Paul’s path when they need help. In the meantime, we could put in place the programs to do what an omniscient Ron Paul can’t.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

  3. [Comment Deleted]

    Comment by Bobby | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Bobby,

      You don’t know me from fucking Adam and you sit up here and call me a liar!? Because I had to go through an agency to find a job that didn’t pay me $40 a day? You don’t know anything about me or what I’ve been through so who are you to call me a liar?

      I’ve tolerated your idiocy way too long. You don’t have a point to make other than to say conservatism is good and anything else is Nazism. You’re too stupid to have the good sense to realize you should appreciate your time here on my blog. But then again, considering your lack of a coherent thought in your comments, I’m not surprised you don’t have the good sense to respect your host. You’re not intelligent enough to have a college degree. You’re not qualified for any kind of work let alone the discipline to work at a factory. Then again, I’m willing to bet that you’re the one that’s lying when you say you have a college degree. You probably don’t even have a high school diploma.


      PS – My name is brotherpeacemaker. I like to close my comments with the abbreviated version of my name “Peace”. It’s kind of like somebody named Robert might use Bob. I like the double meaning of the abbreviated version of my name, it doubles as a wish for peace to most of the people I reply to. But I wouldn’t give a shit if you had peace in your life. Honestly, I hope the chaos in your life drives you straight to hell!

      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

  4. Ah, you’ve been attacked by the Paul-o-bots! Mention Ron Paul….and they invade like a swarm of locusts. Trying to have an intelligent conversation with them is like trying to talk about quantum mechanics to a frog. It doesn’t work. 🙂

    As to your larger point, Robert Reich had a great post about this a couple of years ago. Roughly it was this: a boy was at the beach and too far from shore; he was in trouble. Dr. Reich told the boy’s dad and the dad said “I TOLD him that if we went out too far, I wouldn’t help. He has to learn about consequences.” So Dr. Reich summoned a life guard. Point: yes, we should encourage responsible behavior but there is a point where one should help. EG, if someone was about to cross a street while texting and not looking and a car was coming, I’d pull them out of the way even though they were being an irresponsible idiot.

    Comment by blueollie | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback blueollie,

      I like the boy who swims too far analogy. A responsible father would do everything who could to save his wayward son. And if the dad in the scenario was anything like my parents, that boy was going to get a good ass-kicking when he was back on dry land and well enough to sustain a major ass-kicking. And then there would be a grounding with the understanding that the beach was off limits until the end of time. We can get our payback after we do the socially responsible thing. Not being socially responsible, even with the irresponsible person, should not be an option.

      And if I had my choice I’d prefer discussing quantum mechanics with the frog any day of the week. At least they know enough not to say dumb shit.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

  5. Brother P, forget Bobby. Can’t you tell by his rhetoric that he is already in hell? Anyhow, my point is that these people that sit here and scream “let him die” are the same idiots who raised such a stink over a man deciding to pull the plug on his brain dead wife Terri Schiavo. So, how can we trust anything from these hypocritical nuts. They don’t even have the good sense to understand what is being said.

    The minute they or their family member is in this very position, they will scream “how could this happen in the best country in the world”. When we could all then ask them, hey, what happened to you or your family members right to take that risk? And the problem with any of this is not that these people took a risk, they just freaking couldn’t afford it, had pre-existing conditions or had no job offering health care.

    But, we don’t even bother these days in worrying about any of those issues. Only that this fellow didn’t have health care and how it was his risk and problem. These politicians have some nerve. They have no problem having us the people provide them with the best health care insurance in the country, only to turn around and tell us too bad so sad if you get sick or hurt. I say, they need to pick up their own health insurance AND that of their families and then tell us all how that crap is working out for them. Maybe a lot of them will take the risk not to pay that price. Even though we know that the majority of these idiots are independently wealthy and will probably never have to worry about any of these issues us lowly poor folk do.

    Great post. And Bobby, don’t go to someone’s house you don’t know and start calling people liars. That is just bad manners. Anyhow, what inside knowledge do you have to say that someone did or didn’t do what they say? Did the story sound that implausible that you can see it for an untruth? How? You sound like a birther. Show me your documentation, you show them, then they want you to show them your “real” documentation. There is no way to appease these people. So remember this Bobby, if that is your real name, you can’t prove anything you are saying about yourself so calm down, you are no detective.


    Comment by theblacksentinel | Wednesday, September 14, 2011 | Reply

  6. Quantum Mechanics for Frogs: An Interspecies Panel Discussion On Life After The Budweiser Commercials

    I love this idea…anyone got a transcript?

    Seriously now- in regards to: “…We can get our payback after we do the socially responsible thing.”

    Playing devil’s advocate I might ask the burning question of HOW?..when applied to issues of the day. The drowning boy thing…yeah I’d make sure he was good, then kick his ass myself, like any responsible father would.

    Comment by mikelovell | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for the feedback mikelovell,

      But you are absolutely right. We won’t have any real way of getting paid back. You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip. I guess we could try assigning a lifetime of community service.

      I think the bigger problem is that we don’t have a healthcare system that offers medical care to everyone and our health insurance system is designed in a way where people make money by denying care. A single payer system would go a long way towards taking the big dollar profit out of the mix so that we buy health care and not health insurance that comes with a percentage of profit on top of the care.


      Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Thursday, September 15, 2011 | Reply

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