These People Just Don’t Care

The Republicans running Congress these days don’t care. They just don’t care. About the working people, that is. They only care about themselves and the fat cats who are keeping them in power.

When the Democrats regain control, and if they act in such a callous manner, I’ll lambast them, too. But for now, they have no say. All of this rests on the Republicans’ shoulders.

During and in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the Republicans steadfastly refused to take actions that would have spurred demand and helped put people back to work. The deficit is all that mattered. Consequently, it’s been a long, slow process to get from there to where we are today, with many, many unnecessary casualties along the way (suicides, drug overdoses, broken families, lost homes, skyrocketing student debt, etc.).

But now the deficits no longer matter. Now, the Republicans can do what they’ve wanted to do all along: give themselves and their cronies huge tax cuts — in other words, grab an even bigger slice of the pie for themselves. And put the tab on the backs of the working class.

On one hand, I don’t care. I’ll be fine; in fact, I’ll have more as a result of their tax cuts. The people who are going to get hurt the worst are the people who put the Republicans into power. So one could argue they’re merely getting what they deserve.

On the other hand, I do care. I care about what these people are doing to the country, both in the short term and especially the long term.

I’ve been around some of these people who don’t give a damn about the working man and woman. Long ago I realized they think the poor and working poor are lazy and deserve their lot. Indeed, many of them are pretty open about it in private. Conversely, they think they deserve everything they have — and more! They earned it. They’re entitled to it. They don’t even give a tip of their hat to the role that good fortune and luck play in it (or, conversely, bad luck).

It’s one of the reasons they’ve been so complicit with President Trump. While they wouldn’t be so crass to use Mr. Trump’s schoolyard vocabulary, they do in fact agree with him that there are winners and losers. In their minds, most people are losers. And they deserve what they get. The people with political power, of course, are winners in their minds. As are the rich who lavish them with donations, perks, inside information and other advantages that never come the way of the working person.

Meanwhile, the Republicans are stacking the deck further in favor of themselves and their rich cronies. Now that they have complete power, they intend to grab all they can.

And you can be sure they’re not finished. Just watch. They will claim that we have to cut back on Social Security and Medicare because of the huge deficits. Naturally, they won’t mention the role they played in inflating the deficit. It will always be someone else’s fault.

These people just don’t care. They don’t. They have plenty, and they’re not in any danger of not having plenty. Each man and woman for him and herself. That’s their motto.

I have no idea when the reaction will come, when those being screwed by these people will rise up and exercise the power they have at the ballot box. I don’t even know if that day will come in my lifetime.

If it doesn’t, then I suppose we’ll simply get what we deserve. Maybe they’re right: maybe we are losers.

But, of course, no one’s a loser. Or winner. That’s the language of people who are trying to justify their unjust and uncaring policies and actions. It’s the language of the entitled class that doesn’t care about anyone else.

The more appropriate term is people. Children. Women. Men. People.

When people care about each other, the Seventh Generation and the future of the earth and its inhabitants, this world can be a glorious place.

But you have to care.


The Day Death Chose Not to Stop

I remember hearing the sound of a violent crash. The next thing I knew, I awoke, only to see a spidered windshield and deformed car door pressing against me. Concussion-induced amnesia stole from me (perhaps protected me from) other memories adjacent to the collision.

I do recall emergency personnel being on site, but don’t recall being extricated from the car or loaded into the ambulance. Vera, I remember calling your grandmother from the ambulance because I was concerned she’d go to the airport to meet me as planned. But I don’t recall sending an email and photo to her and your dad and uncle, although later I was presented with proof that I had. It was an odd thing to have done.

I recall arriving at the trauma center, the hall lined on both sides with medical personnel anticipating my arrival. Once on the table, I recall someone struggling to remove my wedding ring, to no avail. I recall suggesting lubricant. It worked.

I recall someone cutting off all my clothes. And I remember a doctor examining my spine for injury. I especially recall the intense pain as I was rolled on my side as they checked for internal hemorrhaging.

I’m sure there had to be more, but that’s all I remember, until being moved for CT scans. A short time later, I recall the excruciating pain as technicians endeavored to move me into position for x-rays.

Twelve hours later, after IV drips, pain meds, more tests, sutures, a failed attempt to set a bone, and a splint being plastered on me, I was discharged, barely able to walk but one lucky guy.

Reflecting on this day later, the thing that stood out for me, through it all — the trauma, pain and vast unknowns — is that I hadn’t experienced a single moment of fear.

It wasn’t a matter of courage. It was more like an act of grace. And peace.

Beginning with the moment I regained consciousness to the present, I have been experiencing an overwhelming sense of gratitude, and the feeling that death had passed by on that road, but for reasons I’ll never know, decided not to stop.

The paramedic remarked that I probably would not have survived if I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt. When looking at the crushed metal from my captive, scrunched position inside the car, and later when viewing a photo of the exterior of the car, I knew that it took more than the seatbelt to save me that morning and, at the very least, the injuries could have been much, much worse.

I’m healing now, as are the occupants of the other vehicle, who remain in my constant thoughts and prayers.

Yesterday afternoon, we picked you up from your school, Vera. I couldn’t lift you up to put you in the car seat, and I think you’re wondering why I have so many boos-boos and a strange thing on my arm. But it doesn’t seem to matter to you. And it doesn’t matter to me, either.

Today, I will be wheeled into an operating room for back-to-back surgeries. Bone stuff — nothing life threatening. And then I will get to know my oral surgeon and dentist even better. There are worse ways to spend time.

Along this short, intense journey, I’ve encountered people of compassion, ranging from health care professionals, taxi and shuttle drivers, airlines personnel, strangers who offered assistance at the airport, friends from Colorado extending their arms 1,000 miles, family and others.

I also encountered some people who weren’t helpful or, worse yet, were actively unhelpful. But I’m just going to pretend I didn’t.

Some people say they’re sorry. I don’t say it (because I appreciate their concern), but what I’m thinking is, “For what?” 

There have been times in my life that I’ve felt sorry for myself. But this hasn’t been one of them.

I used to close letters and emails (and sometimes still do) to certain people with the words, “Peace and grace to you.”

This past week, the words returned home to me.