I was appalled by Mitt Romney’s remarks to wealthy donors implying that nearly half the nation is not worth caring about because they receive some form of government aid. But that’s me, my view, a liberal view. But when even a well known and highly regarded Republican commentator like David Brooks says much the same in his editorial in today’s New York Times, writing that Romney’s comments “reveal that he has lost any sense of the social compact,” you know Romney has gone off the rails — at least the moderate political rails.
An even more appalling thing is that this seems to be the prevailing attitude in Republican circles generally. Brooks’ editorial went on to say: “In 1987, during Ronald Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a responsibility to help those who can’t help themselves. Now, according to the Pew Research Center, only 40 percent of Republicans believe that.”
What makes this Romney/Republican way of thinking so positively weird as well as appalling comes through powerfully in another quote from Brooks’ editorial: “The people who receive the disproportionate share of government spending are not big-government lovers. They are Republicans. They are senior citizens. They are white men with high school degrees. As Bill Galston of the Brookings Institution has noted, the people who have benefited from the entitlements explosion are middle-class workers, more so than the dependent poor.”
I have to say that this is pretty darn scary stuff. If someone running for the presidency of the United States thinks that around 47 percent of our citizens are freeloading wasters of resources, what does it say about where our country is headed? If he considers veterans and the elderly and children undeserving of even food and shelter, what happens next?
If all of our leaders and potential leaders don’t recognize that we share responsibility to all of our fellow citizens in all of our communities, how can the USA, which unless we forget is an acronym for the “United States Of America,” function at all?