Saturday, August 23, 2008

Republican and Democratic Values

Maybe you've received this email recently; it's an example of what I call "internet philosophy," and it's worth deconstructing the argument.

"I was talking to a neighbor's little girl the other day. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she replied, 'I want to be President!' Both of her parents are liberal Democrats and were standing there. So I asked her, 'If you were President what would be the first thing you would do?'

She replied, 'I'd give houses to all the homeless people.'

'Wow - what a worthy goal.' I told her. ' But, you don't have to wait until you're President to do that. You can come over to my house and mow, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where this homeless guy hangs out, and you can give him the $50 to use toward a new house.'

Since she is only 6, she thought that over for a few seconds. She looked me straight in the eye and asked, 'Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?'

And I said, 'Welcome to the Republican Party.'

Her folks still aren't talking to me."

This is a great story except for the fact that the homeless guy is a mentally ill, drug-addicted, veteran of the Vietnam war who was institutionalized for many years for severe post-traumatic stress disorder until spending cuts put him out on the street with no marketable skills and no ability to take care of himself.

It would be nice if the world were as black and white as "internet philosophy" makes it out to be. However, these sound bites add little to the argument. Clearly, the Democrats have erred far too often in providing handouts rather than hands up. Yet, the Democrats would rather err on the side of accidentally helping someone who doesn't need it than neglecting to help those who truly can't help themselves.

It's a tough call, and it's one of the reasons I'm unaffiliated, preferring to find the most pragmatic of leaders who can bridge the gaps of both parties' platforms.

1 comment:

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Hello, Mr. Mazenko. I popped over from Dennis's blog for a friendly visit out of curiousity. Hope you don't mind. :]

I am the mother of two (well, likely three) autistic sons and I well understand the "can but can't" dilemma. Worse still, your average autistic child "can" one day and "can't" another. I don't know (since I haven't nosed through your whole blog LOL!) if you work with autistic folks, but if you do, you know what I'm talking about.

I would never want the government fully paying my child's way in the world; however, I don't doubt some extra help will be needed later on down the road.

I have terrible mixed feelings about government help. On the one hand, idealistically, please DO help the poor and the disabled. On the other, our so-called public education system takes my tax dollars to educate my son and then locked him in a closet on several occasions. (Legal in Missouri, but come to my blog and say hi if you want particulars. I won't bore you here.)

I guess I'm also a realist. If everyone didn't have to pay taxes for social services, how many people would donate to help the grown-up autistics and other folks who need it get therapy and integration services when the little ones are cuter? You know?

God bless ya.