At the Tea Party/Republican debate earlier this week, there was a moment that revealed the true nature of the Tea Party’s values and compassion for their fellow citizens. It unfolded in this exchange between the CNN moderator, Wolf Blitzer, and Rep. Ron Paul. But it was the audience response to the question that merits more attention.
Wolf Blitzer: Let me ask you this hypothetical question: A healthy, thirty year old young man, has a good job, makes a good living, but decides, “You know what…I’m not gonna spend two hundred or three hundred dollars a month for health insurance because I’m healthy, I don’t need it.” But something terrible happens and all of a sudden he needs it. Who’s gonna pay for it if he goes into a coma? […] Are you saying that society should just let him die?
Tea Party Audience: (shouting) Yes! Yeah!
That pretty much sums up the Randian philosophy of self-interest that permeates the Tea Party and the right in general. It illustrates their detachment from society and the conviction that we are all on our own, that we have no moral obligation to anyone else, and that if some unfortunate person is suffering – even dying – that’s their problem.
It is notable that Blitzer’s framing of the question slanted the issue to focus on someone with a job and good pay who declined insurance by choice. However, in reality, a working person probably already has health insurance from their employer. The question completely avoids the more likely scenario wherein a person is uninsured due to unemployment or underemployment, not by their own choosing. People falling into this category can include housewives, students, and retirees, along with ordinary folks who just happen to have been laid off or had some other misfortune.
The Tea Party is now out of the closet with regard to their overt insensitivity and uncaring attitude toward those in need. They seem oblivious to the notion that the needy may include their neighbors, their family, or even themselves. What’s worse is that they have exposed themselves as hypocrites to the values they profess to hold. Do they have any recollection of the words of their Lord regarding His criteria for entry into the Kingdom of Heaven? He spoke of the treatment of the hungry and the sick saying…
“Whatever you neglected to do unto one of the least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!”
Click to view larger and share on Facebook
Much is revealed of us by our treatment of others. And much is revealed of our society by its compassion for all of its citizens. The Republican audience in the previous debate demonstrated their aversion to compassion by cheering for executions. Now the Tea Party has assumed the role of the biblical Romans and, like Pontius Pilate, have washed their hands of it.