“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”

I read an article today (link following) that had a few statements that really got me thinking.

“According to conservatives, successful people always deserve their success and as for the rest, well, they deserve what they get as well. Right-wingers don’t believe that any solution based on the people acting together, through our government, can work well. Of course, they make sure that government doesn’t work well when they hold the reins of power.

Progressives recognize that we can address problems, such as poverty among the elderly, or among families with children, to name a couple of examples, through programs that provide security and/or insurance for those who need it. We also recognize that sometimes even people who work hard and play by the rules still need some help, and that any one of us could ultimately find ourselves in such a position. Progressives understand that individuals succeed not only because of their own talents, but also because of the broader environment we create as a society.”

The part of that quote that sticks out the most to me was “We also recognize that sometimes even people who work hard and play by the rules still need some help, and that any one of us could ultimately find ourselves in such a position. That’s right;  ANY of us could end up in a position where we need help, and it doesn’t make people who utilize government assistance lazy deadbeats, it doesn’t mean they’re druggies, it doesn’t mean they’re losers, as I’ve seen many of my “Christian” friends say.  It just means they’ve fallen on hard times and need some help getting back up.  Are there people who abuse the system? Absolutely!  Does that mean a majority of people are abusing it? Absolutely not! Cutting billions of dollars from programs that help the needy isn’t going to stop the abusers.  It’s like using a baseball bat to kill a flee on your pet.  Sure, you may (or may not) have got the flee, but you just crippled your pet too.  Abusers will find a way to abuse the programs no matter how much money the Republicans want to cut from those programs.  All it’s hurting are those who actually need it.  I have absolutely no problem with my tax dollars funding a program where there is a small percentage of people that abuse it, if that program helps millions of others to buy food for their families, helps them put clothes on their backs, and helps them to pay their bills on time while they are trying to get back on their feet.

Republicans consistently call for “entitlement” programs to be cut, yet hand out corporate welfare like it’s candy.  They hand billions of dollars in tax cuts and exemptions to their rich pals, and to pay for those tax cuts they introduce bills that place an even bigger tax burden on the middle class, thereby creating even more poor people who will need to depend on government assistance.  I don’t understand how people can say the following situation makes any sense: The government needs money to fuel our economy, on one side you have poor people who have nothing and people who have just enough to get by, on the other, you have rich corporate big-wigs who have pretty much everything (and are taking more every day)….and you turn to the poor people who have nothing and those who have just enough to get by for the needed funds?  How does that make any sense!? If the government really wants to get our country back on track, abolish the tax cuts and exemptions for the rich and make them pay their fair share.  Only give them a few, smaller, exemptions if they stop outsourcing jobs to other countries, and if they STILL outsource, give them a tax penalty.  Now you’ve just fixed the major problems our country is facing; the deficit, and unemployment.  All without increasing taxes on the already overburdened middle class OR cutting funds from assistance programs that help the poor.

One thing that has become increasingly clear to me, is that the GOP and their Tea-Party friends have forgotten what this country is supposed to be about.  To quote from the poem that is engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty:

“Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

To me, nothing details what America is supposed to be about more than those words.  We are a nation of immigrants who came here for a bright new future, and yet we have become, or are becoming, a nation that frequently turns immigrants away, or at the very least makes it VERY difficult for them to become citizens.  Even if they do go about it the legal way, they are still looked upon as dirt and are treated like less than animals by many of us.  Is this what America is supposed to represent?

So, does our nation currently still represent the values that it was founded on?  Do we welcome the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free?  Do we stand by the “golden door” with our lamps lifted?  In other words, do we still offer opportunities for reaching the “American Dream” to those that seek it?  I honestly feel that there is a greater push now to return to those goals, however there are those, represented especially by the Republican party and their allies, that fight it. They do everything in their power to keep opportunities to reach the American dream limited only to those of a specific class, race, and religion.  They frequently fight against allowing equal rights, against immigration reform, and to slash funding from programs that help the poor and needy, programs that help people try and reach their American dream.  They fight instead to give citizenship rights to soulless corporations by having them declared “individuals”, to give incentives and unneeded government aid to the rich, and to influence law and regulation to make it even easier for people who already have it all, all the while making it impossible for those that have nothing.

So, do I believe that we are still a nation that represents the values we were founded on?  No, I don’t.  But I believe that we can get back there, and that there are those who are trying to change things.  They are trying with their votes, they are trying by speaking out, and many, that are in the position to, are trying with their political campaigns.  As Americans, I think that’s the very least we can do.

Written by: James Garcia (10/9/2013)

The full article I quoted from can be read here: 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ian-reifowitz/endgame-is-here-republica_b_4057877.html?utm_source=concierge&utm_medium=onsite&utm_campaign=sailthru%2Bslider%2B

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