A Comparison of Compassion and Conservatism

Today it was reported in India that 1500 farmers have committed mass suicide in that nation's state of Chattisgarh because of vicious money-lending practices and recent crop failures. But you know what? I believe those deaths could have been prevented. I believe those still living in poverty can be saved from such wretched fates - and you know what might be a good venue? - government action. Even the world's largest democratic community (the Indian government) could take action to improve these conditions: regulation, government assistance... and the use of funds derived from taxes.

Also today, there were many public protests throughout the United States labelled as "tea parties" because of the acronym "Taxed Enough Already." Apparently there was even one here in Ketchikan, although I did not have the pleasure of seeing it. These gatherings seem to largely have been stoked by the magnanimous FOX media network, and they played host to a host of hatred and ignorance. I read writings on the events from many of the blogs on my roll, as well as other sources. Here are all from my blogroll:

There are probably a few more from blogs I just have in my bookmarks... but I have a lot of blogs in my bookmarks.

Regardless of the insulting comments I could be hurling against some of the ridiculousness contained in these rallies, I'm going to stop that kind of criticism right here. I am going to take the high road.
Firstly, it's natural that people object to their taxes being raised. Maybe it's even natural that they object to being taxed at all; people feel entitled to the property and wealth that they accumulate. These feelings, however, are entirely irrational, considering that human civilization is defined by the presence of government - and that the existence of government usually depends on material support. This material support is provided by taxation.

I have commented often on the inequality, injustice, and suffering that exists in this world. The ongoings described at the beginnings of this post are but an example. Frankly, I'll say this: either you care about that suffering, or you don't. If you don't, you have my pity, but most likely, you do - at least somewhere deep inside of you, you understand that it is wrong for others in this world to suffer as they are suffering every day and every hour and every ticking minute, stricken by poverty, by disease, by shortage, by war, by unjust authority. During the course of the next few hours I will in fact be constructing an oratory for my Debate class on the very issue of global poverty.

But that is all so very far away, you say. I agree - it certainly seems that way. But the truth is that these tragedies occur right in our very own communities, right in the United States. We are incredibly blessed to live in this great country, but poverty and economic injustice are no strangers to this place. How can we challenge these demons? Through charity and individual service, yes. I am whole-heartedly devoted to such action. But how is it that we have the most power to destroy these ills? It is through the power invested in our Republic.

A common complaint of conservatives is that government programs such as food stamps, unemployment benefits or other assistance are all undeserved by their recipients. The myth persists that these recipients are "lazy" and become dependent on government assistance - i.e. the tax dollars that the hard-working conservatives themselves earn and part with very reluctantly in April. I don't know which blog it was, but one of the writers I read recently made a comment along the lines of saying "lazy - like all the people who've been laid off."

I will go further, because I do deign now and again to engage in righteous anger:

The 1500 Indians who committed suicide in the face of absolute destitution were not lazy. Of course, the thousands upon thousands of Americans who have been put out of work by their employers were not lazy. The single mothers who work multiple minimum wage jobs while living in the slums of America's cities are not lazy. The next homeless man you see on the street is not lazy: he needs help; he needs support. If you're not going to give it to him, what then. What if our common government actually worked for the common good - for everyone? That would depend on making your fair contribution to the actions of our government. Government is not a bad thing, taxation is not a bad thing, and compassion is the essence of the human spirit. Perhaps if conservatives stopped foaming at the mouth over hyped impressions that they won't keep as much of their incoming wealth each year, maybe they could take a moment and care.


  1. Well obviously those deaths could have been prevented!


Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment!