When a ship on the ocean is in danger of sinking and sends out a distress signal, it is typical for any other ship in the vicinity to immediately stop what they are doing and go to aid the ailing vessel. Most Americans would not hesitate to help a person in distress, and if they could not rescue a person in a state of danger by their own means they would summon assistance. There are millions of Americans in distress due to Republicans’ drive to strip funding from social safety nets and domestic programs for those in need, and some Americans are attempting to stop the GOP onslaught on over half the population. However, their efforts are in danger of being hampered by many on the left much to the delight of Republicans and their conservative paymasters. It never ceases to amaze that a contingent of well-meaning liberals can devote so much attention and energy to the self-imposed misfortune of one or two Americans that they willingly ignore and abandon over half of their fellow Americans who, through no fault of their own, are in such a state of distress that their survival is in jeopardy.
According to the Census Bureau, roughly half the population in America is at or near poverty; including nearly a quarter of America’s children. Senior citizens are losing critical food and housing assistance, and tens of millions of the working-poor barely survive from paycheck to paycheck if they are fortunate enough to find two or three part-time minimum wage jobs. In Republican-controlled states, women’s reproductive rights are being eliminated to satisfy a fanatical cult driven by a bastardized form of Christianity, and minorities are losing their right to vote as fast as Republicans can move voter suppression bills through state legislatures. Republicans in the House of Representatives eliminated funding for the SNAP program (food stamps) for over 47-million Americans (mostly children and seniors), and refuse to reapportion sequestration cuts that decimated Meals on Wheels, Head Start, HUD housing assistance, and public education; all the while they are unfazed their handiwork is slated to kill between 1.6 and 3 million jobs. With all the devastation Americans are suffering at the hands of Republicans in Congress and state legislatures, one might think the left would coalesce and launch a do-or-die campaign to stop the Republican onslaught before they eviscerate a majority of the population, but instead there are ideologues focusing on one man who violated his national security clearance, and others are entranced over a disgraced ex-congressman’s admission he sent inappropriate pictures over the Internet.
It is unclear why a phalanx of so-called civil libertarians invests more time, energy, and attention to the plight of an NSA subcontractor who admitted stealing government property (data) while their fellow citizens are in serious distress. Likely it is due to the machinations of an expatriate journalist living in South America who does not have firsthand knowledge of the devastation Republicans are wreaking on Americans, and probably because he has no interest in helping stem the conservatives’ assault on the people. At some level one can appreciate the devotion and concern so many on the left have for one man’s self-imposed confinement to a Russian airport, but while they are wringing their hands and fretting over one man’s predicament, their neighbors, family members, and workmates are suffering the effects of Republican assaults.
What is happening on the left is a repeat of the events that allowed teabaggers to sweep into power in the House and states in the 2010 midterm elections, and despite the damage voter apathy then is wreaking on the people now, the same contingent of disaffected liberals is drawing attention away from the only solution to stave off more Republican devastation on Americans in distress. Instead of focusing on one man’s self-imposed legal problems, the left should be educating Americans about why they are in distress and help prepare them to participate in the next election. It is true Republicans in former Confederate and ALEC-controlled states are passing voter suppression laws, but it highlights the need to start mobilizing Americans who are suffering the effects of the Republican victory in the 2010 midterm elections to prevent more damage if the GOP prevails in the next election. There is absolutely nothing ideological civil libertarians can do to help their hero who banished himself to a Russian airport now or in the future, but they can help their fellow Americans who are real people in distress. It is a mystery why they need an idealized hero, but they found one and it is distracting them from the plight of half the population.
Millions of Americans are suffering and they need assistance now. Senior citizens and disabled Americans unable to leave their homes are going hungry because the sequester cuts anywhere between 5 and 19 million meals from Meals on Wheels, and 775,000 women and children are being dropped from the WIC program by the end of the year due to sequester cuts. Over 100,000 disabled adults, Veterans, and poor families will be put on the streets from the sequester’s HUD cuts, and 65,000 children will lose two nutritional meals five days a week from Head Start cuts; 11,500 Head Start jobs will be eliminated as well. These are real numbers affecting real Americans that are in distress and yet, civil libertarian ideologues are focusing their attention on one man who sequestered himself in a Russian airport.
To be fair, a share of the blame lies with the media that has made the expatriates in Russia and South America the focus of so much attention instead of the plight of millions of Americans suffering Republican cuts. In fact to keep Americans distracted, the media focused the people’s attention on a baby born to an English prince, and has been busy providing daily updates on a New York mayoral candidate’s sexting addiction instead of highlighting the plight of millions of Americans in distress and who can blame them? It is what the people want, and it is just like civil libertarians who want to keep their hero in Russia in the news instead of their neighbors who are struggling in poverty or near poverty.
There is no doubt the people focusing on the plight of Snowden are sincere and passionate, but where is their compassion for millions of their fellow Americans victimized by Republican cuts in their own neighborhoods and families? Women are losing their reproductive rights, children are going hungry, seniors and Veterans are being put out on the streets, and millions of Americans are losing their right to vote, and the same ideologues on the left are distracting attention away from the plight of real Americans in distress. Curiously, and just like 2010, they are focusing their attention on one man who stole and passed on secrets from the United States government instead of Americans in distress.