For generations these were easy questions to address. Of course we should be doing all these things.
Yes, when the Great Depression hit, there was often a coldness towards those in need. But that changed as the magnitude of suffering was understood. And this ethic and lesson stayed with us. And while conservatives resisted the change in the American viewpoint, they did slowly (oh so slowly) come around.
But then came the Reagan era of Conservatism. Suddenly it became complicated. Conservatives found they could sneer more freely at the poor. They could look at the question of feeding children, and think about ways to cut corners. Even the mentally ill were an easy target.
They couch cruelty, incivility, and avarice in weasel words. They rely on everyone to keep the civil discourse going as they push on. And, over time, it has given them success. Sequestration. What cuts they have made to the social safety net of this country.
And the ease with which conservatives attack the poor and sick has only grown. They don't even need to rely on measured tones, they can let the wolves out to howl. The eager glee of the attacks is so common now. The welfare queens. The lazy. The leeches. The criminals. Conservatives have so many names that they've spent decades building up and storing for the days they could let loose their contempt.
And that contempt is astonishing...No. It's sickening. The argument is made that it is a matter of budgeting. But the actual economics tell a different story. The investment in helping the poor, the sick, and kids only strengthens the country and enriches our economy. But this is not acknowledged. Why acknowledge economic facts, when conservative ideology is giving them the answers that they desire? So, we are left with the weak gruel of their contempt as their answers to our serious problems. They find it so easy to just smirk and tell the poor to get a job already, and stop using up tax dollars. They don't even need to intellectually engage.
And that is convenient for them. The Congressional offices of the Republicans are full of men and women who have been full recipients of subsidies or medicare or medicaid or social security or food stamps at some point (or presently) and then, they turn to the country and tell us that it is best if the rest of us do without aid. They, apparently, are wise enough to not overuse it, or become complacent.
But for the rest of us?
Well, Republicans thinks it's best if they just cut it, shift the money to defense, and we'll all be fine. These Republicans sadly continue to persist in pushing their failed policies from decades past. Sometimes they do us the small dignity of renaming or rebinding their ideas. But usually they don't bother, as to many of their supporters aren't actually paying enough attention to notice what they are getting peddled. Or if they are living in a state that is relying heavily on federal support.
And inroads continue. Into Social Security. Into Medicaid. Into SNAP.
What can be worse is how many Liberals slowly begin buying into the myths. Let's make a bargain. It is a sad state when these dangerous myths are treated as truths. They should be revealed for what they are.
And they should finally be discarded.