Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A lack of care

Yesterday I asked why the Republicans are so cruel.  Today, I want to continue that discussion.

Along with cruelty comes a lack of care.  Writing in the Guardian, Lindy West comments
I don’t know that America has ever seen a political party so divested of care. Since Trump took office, Republicans have proposed legislation to destroy unions, the healthcare system, the education system and the Environmental Protection Agency; to defund the reproductive health charity Planned Parenthood and restrict abortion; to stifle public protest and decimate arts funding; to increase the risk of violence against trans people and roll back anti-discrimination laws; and to funnel more and more wealth from the poorest to the richest. Every executive order and piece of GOP legislation is destructive, aimed at dismantling something else, never creating anything new, never in the service of improving the care of the nation.
She cites an accidental truth-telling by Paul Ryan, who said in 2013 “We’re not going to give up,” Ryan assures his audience, “on destroying the healthcare system for the American people.”
Even if we acknowledge that such a slip of the tongue is technically possible (if not likely), we don’t actually need to wonder about what Ryan secretly believes. Gaffe or no, we already know he wants to destroy the healthcare system for the American people, because he tried to pass legislation that would destroy the healthcare system for the American people. And because destruction, not life, is the foundation of Ryan’s party.
Destruction grounded in a lack of care for their fellow citizens, who are votes to be used, not people worthy of care.

The urbane, smooth judicial nominee Neil Gorsuch likewise shows a lack of care and compassion. Take, for example, his dissent in the case of the trucker who was fired for leaving his trailer.  The trucker was essentially told to freeze to death.  Lucia Graves writes
He may have empathized with Maddin but that did not lead him to change his legal opinion. What’s unusual here is not Gorsuch’s conservative philosophy or textualist tendencies. It’s not even that he sided with a company over the “little guy”, as Democrats repeatedly said. 
It’s that the fact that Maddin might have died sitting there waiting for help at 14-below, if he’d been unwise enough to follow the only option made available by Gorsuch, did not appear to enter into his calculus. He did not seem to care.... 
... the trouble with Gorsuch, we learned this week, is not ideology but humanity.
Indeed, the Supreme Court just overturned a Gorsuch decision regarding the education of a disabled child--unanimously. 
In Thompson R2-J School District v. Luke P., a case brought by an autistic student whose parents sought reimbursement for tuition at a specialized school for children with autism, Gorsuch read IDEA extraordinarily narrowly. 
Under Gorsuch’s opinion in Luke P., a school district complies with the law so long as they provide educational benefits that “must merely be ‘more than de minimis.’” 
“De minimis” is a Latin phrase meaning “so minor as to merit disregard.” So Gorsuch essentially concluded that school districts comply with their obligation to disabled students so long as they provide those students with a little more than nothing. 
All eight justices rejected Gorsuch’s approach. IDEA, Chief Justice Roberts wrote, “is markedly more demanding than the ‘merely more than de minimis’ test applied by the Tenth Circuit.” Indeed, Roberts added, Gorsuch’s approach would effectively strip many disabled students of their right to an education. Roberts went on: 
When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing “merely more than de minimis” progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all. For children with disabilities, receiving instruction that aims so low would be tantamount to “sitting idly . . . awaiting the time when they were old enough to ‘drop out.’”
What appears common in both the Gorsuch examples,  and in the overall approach of the GOP, is a lack of care for people, and our common humanity.  It is a focus on the game, whether it is law or legislative, rather than realizing that law and legislation should be in service of people, not to destroy them.  It is so far from any expression of decency, let alone any religion, that I feel at times we have slipped into another dimension where all humane values are annulled.

What in hell has happened to them?

No comments: