Let me begin this rant by stating my principles as straightforwardly as I can:
- All people who suffer deserve our assistance and aid.
- All people means all people, regardless of political ideology, religious beliefs or non-beliefs, ethnicity, skin color or who they choose to love.
- Collective action in times of disaster is more effective than private action
- No one should profit from the misfortune of others
- Benefits provided to those affected by a disaster should not result in the loss of benefits to others who are suffering.
- The only moral standard we should recognize is that we are all each other's neighbor and act out of love and compassion for those in need. To act otherwise is immoral, and makes us a society of petty, barbarous and cruel individuals rather than a community of caring human beings.
- Government is not perfect, but it is the best mechanism we have to provide help to those who need it.
- Our response to the suffering of others is a political issue, one of the major political issues in every generation. We can choose to offer compassion or aid to those who require it, or we can ignore the plight of those who suffer and choose to benefit the wealthy among us who are do not need our help.
- Our political system can either provide opportunity and justice for all, or it can limit opportunity and justice to a privileged few.
- At present, the crisis of our political system is its failure to promote the general good over what is good only for the elites.
Tom Coburn does not share my principles. Sadly, the dominant political force in American society is to promote the welfare of the wealthy and the largest corporations over the general welfare of all our people. Tom Coburn is a symbol of a wider problem that infects both parties. That Tom Coburn would suggest that benefits for the people who suffer in Oklahoma or in the Northeast or anywhere else in America from disasters should come at the expense of those who are the most vulnerable in society is a metaphor for the politics of cruelty and inequality.
The wealthy are benefiting from this mindset and the policies fostered by it. They seek to generate profits for their patrons by making the lives of everyone else more difficult; in effect by expanding the misery of those without wealth, power or influence. In the short term this is hugely beneficial for a small number of corporations and individuals. In the long run it is a recipe for instability, increased misery and the dissolution for a civilized society. The problems that we face in this century cannot be solved or addressed by private interests because those private interests do not have an interest in solving the problems human civilization faces.
Private interests have only one ethical principle: to maximize profits and benefits for those who own and control them. They have no interest in the welfare of others. We have seen this time after time in other areas: the bailouts of our financial institutions whose greed caused their own failures. The benefits we provide to industries that pollute and endanger our planet. The grip that the military industrial complex has over the allocation of government resources. The laws and trade agreements passed at the expense of worker's rights and jobs. A health care system designed to raise prices on the many, and drive anyone facing a health crisis into bankruptcy, so that large insurance and pharmaceutical companies can prosper beyond all reasonable bounds.
We should be appalled that even in the area of disaster relief the political powers that be seek to provide profits for their benefactors. However, we should not be surprised. This is what are political system does. This is how our political leaders and officials operate. They are, for all intents and purposes, well compensated employees of the wealthiest people among us, and the large corporations those people control.
It would be easy to blame the people of Oklahoma and other "red" states for creating this system, but they did not. They are the victims of our ongoing political crisis as much as we who understand the mendacity and corruption of our political leaders. WE are all victims of a movement, financed by wealthy, greedy and immoral individuals, to divide us as a people, to split us into separate "tribes," to foster hatred and animus, while they steal and plunder our communal resources. It has been a long war they have waged against their fellow Americans, and now that they have won that war, we are finally awakening to the consequences. More for them, less, much less for us. They have us fighting over the crumbs while squabbling amongst ourselves as to who is most deserving of the few resources they are still willing to provide to us.
So how should we react to the disasters in Oklahoma? Not with schadenfreude. Not with political gamesmanship such as Senator Coburn and his colleagues play at every day of every week. That way lies more misery, and more suffering, and more divisiveness. It serves only to benefit the elites who control our political process, our media and who have made our current government among the most corrupt and un-democratic in recent times.
It would be easy to castigate our fellow Americans who have swallowed the conservative industrialized complex's Kool-Aid, but that will win no converts, open no eyes, or provide us with the power of numbers necessary to combat and evict those who have suborned our government and our society for their own purposes. All of us are each others keeper. The sooner more of us recognize that essential moral truth, and make the effort to act accordingly, the better. As the famous quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin stated: " We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
Right now the nooses are being tightened around the necks of all of us. Many have already died as a result of the indifference of the political class to the vast increased harm and pain the current state of affairs, the current neglect of the general welfare, which they support, has engendered. Now is not the time to make the case that our enemy is some poor soul who votes for these Tea Party Republicans and Blue Dog Democrats, for such infighting among the disadvantaged in our society only benefits the people who hold the leashes of our elected officials. Now is the time to assert our core beliefs and our common interests. Now is the time to educate the people who have fallen under the sway of the true enemies of the people, those who would make our lives "nasty, brutish and short" while they feast on the riches they squeeze from our half dead carcasses on a daily basis.
Now is the time not only to profess compassion, but to act on it, and to demand it from our politicians if only to shame them and expose them for the servile vassals of the rich they have become.
To the people of Oklahoma I say, regardless of our differences, I love you and care for you, and want to make you my friend. How can I help?