Conservatives Of All Stripes Ignore the Suffering of Their Fellow Americans

As a virtue of empathy, compassion is concern for the suffering of others, and a fundamental part of Christian love. It is also one of the cornerstones of social interconnection and humanism that is the basis of the highest principles in philosophy, society, and community. Unless someone has been hiding in a cave for the past three years, they understand that Republicans, teabaggers, Libertarians, and a major segment of the religious right have abandoned any sense of compassion for their fellow Americans, but especially the poor. Indeed, conservatives of all stripes have demonstrated that instead of compassion, their agenda is increasing the suffering of tens-of-millions of Americans to reward the wealthiest Americans.

What is particularly noteworthy, and hypocritical, is the number of so-called conservative Christians who ignore the suffering of Americans in the richest country in the world, and one Republican U.S. senate candidate from Wisconsin is sick and tired of reading sad stories about people struggling in the Republican-caused recession. What Eric Hovde prays to his god about is that the media “start writing about the issues such as lowering the corporate tax rate, slashing spending, and reducing the deficit.” Hovde made his comments during a speech to the Greater Brookfield Chamber of Commerce, and he pointed to a reporter and said, “I just pray that you start writing about these issues. I just pray that you stop always writing about the person couldn’t get food stamps or you know, another sob story.”

A campaign spokesman clarified that Hovde was really talking about how “out-of-control government spending is what’s really hurting the poor and making human interest stories possible in the first place, so the press, and the public at large, should be focusing on” cutting taxes for the wealthy and their corporations, cutting social safety net spending, and reducing the deficit. According to a National Journal analysis, the press already spends more time talking about the deficit than Republican-caused unemployment or rising poverty rates in part because corporate-controlled media follows explicit instructions from Republican politicians and policymakers. In fact, the press has been remiss to report that Republicans are attempting to  cut food stamps for 50 million Americans, slash Veteran’s benefits, cut health spending for children, women and seniors, or give $10.7 trillion in tax cuts to the rich. The main stream media has also not irritated Mr. Hovde with a truly sad report from the Office of Research at the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that America has the second highest rate of children living in poverty in the developed world.

However, the story is not about the press failing to report on the dire conditions of an incredibly large segment of the population, but about the lack of compassion Hovde and Republicans have toward their fellow Americans. Hovde is a self-professed devout Christian and like so many of “those kinds of Christians,” his primary concern is giving more entitlements to the wealthy instead of caring for the poor, or as Hovde calls them, “another sob story.” It is shocking that Hovde thinks cutting social safety net spending will help the poor, because besides creating more “sob stories,” Draconian budget cuts kill millions of jobs and when coupled with more Republican tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, the loss of revenue and borrowing will drive up the deficit.

Most human beings do not like being reminded that their neighbors, family, and friends are hungry, homeless, or barely surviving, and if they have the slightest bit of humanity and compassion, do whatever they can to assuage their suffering. Christians are admonished by their namesake to care for the poor regardless the personal cost, and in Hovde’s bio it says his “faith taught him to provide shelter and supportive services to people in crisis, especially street and neglected children in the United States, Africa and Latin America.” However, his faith in conservatism teaches him to promote cutting supportive services to people in crisis and drives him to pray that the press writes more stories about giving tax cuts to corporations, cutting food stamps for hungry Americans, and deficit reduction that must certainly cause him great conflict as a devout Christian.

It is becoming increasingly clear that Republicans, especially conservative Christian Republicans, lack concern for the suffering of others and are devoid of empathy or compassion that their lord and savior based his entire ministry on. That men like Hovde prays for the press to stop writing sob stories about the poor, and prays they concentrate on reporting how important it is to slash food stamps, Veteran’s benefits, healthcare for seniors and children, and focus on deficit reduction informs that they are not  Christians in any way, shape, or form, and lack basic humanity. What Republicans have demonstrated is that they are callous and cold-hearted toward the suffering of others and they appear genuinely thrilled at the prospect of creating an entire nation of poverty-stricken Americans subsisting to reward the wealthy.

Hovde is not the only Republican hoping the press helps convince Americans that giving corporations and the wealthy proceeds from spending cuts and deficit increasing tax cuts, but he is the first to say he prays to his god that they promote the cold-hearted, compassionless agenda of increasing poverty and killing jobs to afford the wealthy greater riches. There is little doubt that millions of compassionless Christians pray every night that Republicans are successful in creating a nation of peasants and hungry children, and instead of being astonished, Americans should be habituated that this new, cold-hearted class of conservative Christians not only prays for greater poverty and tax cuts for the wealthy, they pray for President Obama to die. One cannot help but wonder; “what would Jesus do?” Based on the Christian bible the answer is clear; he would condemn the lot of them to everlasting hell-fire and eternal damnation which is better than they deserve.

20 Replies to “Conservatives Of All Stripes Ignore the Suffering of Their Fellow Americans”

  1. Some so-called “conservatives” do far more than “ignore” the suffering of others. Some positively gloat over it, and most of these seem to be Bible-thumping fundamentalist so-called “Christians.”

  2. Specimen Hovde (certainly not man enough to call Mr.!) and his cronies who claim to be Christians seem to have forgotten the old saying that “THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE OF GOD GO I”. Maybe one day the table will turn and these low-lives will be in need of the charity they so loudly criticize!

  3. It’s as if aliens have stepped in the conservatives of today and taken over their bodies. I never in my life would ever believe that so called Christians are rooting for their fellow Americans to suffer. This GOP of today are downright evil.

  4. Attacking conservatives for “lacking compassion” will always score big points among lefties, but this approach will not be effective in winning over the hearts and minds of those leaning to the right of the aisle, or even those in the center, necessarily, and here’s why: because such attacks ignore the actual arguments that conservatives make in defense of their approach.

    The conservative argument is (among other things) that helping the poor, etc, is the realm of churches and the private sector (charity) rather than a function of government. Also, that aid in the form of government handouts creates a dependency mentality.

    If you want to counter those arguments, then counter THOSE arguments. With facts and data. Counter with a good argument, and you may win over some hearts and minds to our cause. But simply castigating and ridiculing the other side for “lack of compassion”…? Not so effective. At least, not if your goal is to actually persuade people to consider a new view of things.

    My proposition would be that government is the most efficient method for providing a safety net that will prevent widespread suffering, and that having such a safety net in place is critical to maintaining the stability of the whole house of cards.

    This is similar to my defense of Single Payer or Universal Health Care — it is, quite simply, the most economically efficient model. I can back this up with oodles of research, but those reading Politicus probably already know the same statistics, so I won’t bore you here. The point is, it would be a waste of time to try to convince anyone on the Right that we should have Universal Health Care on moral grounds, or moral grounds alone. One needs to provide the factual data to back up the economics. One needs to approach the problem with the assumption that sound economic models are better than unsound ones, and not from the perspective of attacking the other side for “lack of compassion” when they oppose universal health care. Instead, I would suggest that they haven’t done their economic homework, or that corporate interests are stacking the deck in order to hide the truth, which is that the for-profit insurance industry is the only reason we are currently drowning under mountains of health care dept in a sea of medical dysfunctionality.

    The politician profiled here is, essentially, making a business case for why we would all be better off if government got out of the poor-safety-net biz. I believe he is incorrect in his business analysis. To counter him effectively, one needs to provide a counter-argument, and not engage in name calling.

    Just a thought.

  5. Dan – Your point is well taken. Any commentary here is not meant to please the left or anger the right. Each of those ideological positions are immutable and nothing will change their minds or outlook.

    However, often times, “reminding” so-called compassionate followers of Christ that their position is contrary to their namesake’s teachings has produced fruit. The peril of initiating discourse with logic and empirical data is that most Americans could not care less about facts, but they do care about their faith and how it informs their philosophy. As an aside, the argument about religious organizations and charities picking up the slack is fruitless, and although easy enough to debunk, has never worked. Shining a light on the gross hypocrisy of “those kinds of Christians,” however, does cause reflection and that is all anyone can hope for. I appreciate your comments, and believe it or not, they pop up quite often.

    As a former Christian minister, refreshing Christian’s commitment to heeding Christ’s teachings, in my experience, is successful on occasion, and at this particular juncture in this country, an occasional success is the best any of us can hope for.

  6. You make a rest point, except there is a hard, meanness now very visible in blogs, and elsewhere that a surprising number of folks simply not only have no compassion, I would call it a glee for suffering. They aren’t going to be won over by anything…appeal to compassion, Jesus, not EVEN efficiency.

    Note the comments on Huffington post, on the “stop and frisk” policy in NY. Even when pointed out they inconvenience and harass hundreds of thousand minority males, they only find anything on less than ten percent. That’s rotten odds, which also obviously point out that cops have no special spider sense in “knowing who the bad guys are”, and it costs….yet, they are all for it! They say things like (other than the openly racist things) “if it only tookw one gun off the street it would be worth it”.

    People without compassion actually seem to me to also have terrible imaginations, very static and are not capable of thinking of the reality of things, just insisting on the “moral” argument…though to me it is immoral.

  7. Dan put you put together a very compelling case but one thing still nags, trying to show these people in black and white the facts and figures you no doubt have at hand does not work either. Mitt Romney’s communications director claimed to Anderson Cooper that the CBO was President’s people. Anderson tried to explain it to her but you could tell she was not getting it(or flat out did not want to admit) so I can see your point but your suggestions have proven hopeless as well.

    How many people truly believe that by cutting taxes to the rich you can still bring down your deficit? How long has the middle class tried to pay down the deficit by themselves and not gotten anywhere? When do we finally ask Republicans to own up to their wild spending that got us into this mess? I know a few republicans who will admit this themselves however they are still going to vote R because they still believe the trickle down will happen any day now. It was an adjustment period and will right itself. When you ask them what is an appropritate adjustment period(30 years already) they don’t have an answer. BUT they will still vote R.

  8. One of the reasons it is hard to reach these people is because their religion/christianity is not of the mainline variety. Their leaders are not the compassionate type, they are warriors in a supernatural battle against all that is(at least they think) evil and working toward their goal of worldwide domination. Nothing, not even direct word from G-d is going to stop these people. I am sure if they did it would have happened when Bob Jones visited G-d in the third heaven after levitating himself and Todd Bentley from a table in an Oregon restaurant. This is some of what these people are doing, they are not feeding the poor.

    Take a look at the people who are members of the CNP, most are “christians” yet their meetings have produced no real lasting programs for helping the least among us. Their meetings are political. In fact it was started by a well-known “Christian” Tim La Haye. Name one program he has designed to help the “least among us”. Pat Robertson is a member and sure he does have his Blessings program overseas(notice not in the US) but he also has interests in huge mining operations in said countries. Perhaps his Blessings foundation was really a cover for his mining business. He was friends with Charles Taylor for crisakes. Yes, the same Charles Taylor who has finally been convicted by the Hague.

  9. well I guess I agree… good points, all. The elusive target I am always hoping we can reach is the open-minded voter who is willing to consider rational arguments. The hate-mongers are not reachable. Nothing will get through to them. Calling them names, however, runs the risk of alienating that elusive (perhaps mythological) undecided rational voter.

  10. Well, the circular reasoning of social-dominance-oriented people goes like this:

    1. Weakness must be punished.

    2. Failing to punish weakness is weakness

    3. And therefore must be punished .

  11. I was glad i took the time to read your post. You are correct that when name calling and ridicule is used when posting it does get in the way of real exchange of ideas and thoughts.

  12. I always thought that too. Never understood (I was raised in a Catholic school, but am not now Catholic) how someone could twist the teaching of Jesus to actually be the opposite of what he taught.

    Recently I saw a show where it was somewhat explained. To be honest, I didn’t the logic in it, but apparently there are ways of interpreting, twisting, and loopholing the bible (I think a lot of it has to do with the old testament also) to get to some convuluted perverse opinion that somehow Jesus meant us to “stomp the poor”, and making money was to be holy, etc. etc.

  13. It is impossible to overstate the case against Ayn Rand in this matter. She provided the pseudo intellectual support that allowed mean spirited, selfish, greedy people to, not only go on acting that way, but to feel good about themselves in the process.

  14. As someone who has trained as a mediator, a lot of the time the problem between people is a difference in communication style. Another thing to consider, no one likes to be lectured. Or told they are wrong. Listening, understanding, empathy along with reasonable is the way to reach someone you disagree with.

  15. Fighting fire with fire then is the answer? Sound to me that that this will be ongoing cycle because no one will want to admit that someone else might be wrong or they might be wrong.

  16. She provided the philosophical foundation: Friedman, the economic foundation; Calvin, the religious foundation.

  17. To all those bible-thumping/holier-then-thou/GOP/Tp’rs, I’d like to ask you a question; On your day of reckoning, when you stand before God, and he asks you WHY you treated your fellow man the way you did, WHAT is going to be your answer!
    Oh, and I think he’ll tell you that is son, Jesus also has some questions for you. And remember this, Jesus was a progressive!

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