HE AIN’T HEAVY—HE’S MY BROTHER

I’ve been puzzling over a quandrary I’ve found myself in. Why do many of my friends who are good people at heart: going to church and establishing prayer circles for strangers; undoubtedly treating the folks they encounter day to day with at least common courtesy if not perceivable  dignity; and who treat their family members and close friends lovingly; somehow become so dismissive of and offering nothing but denigrating and derisive comments on the lower strata of society.

Well, the short answer is because they are conservatives. But does that explain everything?

I mean remember, didn’t we just undergo the era of the compassionate conservative? According to George W. Bush that’s what he was. But in my lexicon the definition of compassionate does not include any of the harsh words and treatment directed towards this lower strata by self-professed conservatives who also seem to belong without fail to the Republican Party.

Now I’ll stop you before you try to interject that not all conservatives are that way. I will grant you that. But for the life of me trying to peel back rocks and find them is about as frustrating as attempting to bail out a rowboat with a colander.

Then one of my internet comment buddies reprised his “in 25 words or less” definition of a liberal and it all became clear. His screen name is Tourist and these are his words

Liberals believe he ain’t heavy; in success without victims; in art and in science; that a rising tide should lift all boats; that it’s complicated.

There it is, the gist…the essence…the raison d’etre…the soul if you will of a liberal. I’ve re-worded it for my title:

HE AIN’T HEAVY—HE’S MY BROTHER

There it is…so simple yet so eloquent (and yes, I acknowledge the Hollies’ song of that name here).

Conservatives? Well, you ain’t heavy if they know you, or are referred to them, or give every appearance of not being heavy for too long a time. They recognize and practice compassion in the concrete with people they can relate to. But for the unwashed masses? Well, good luck there.

They might drop a dime in the beggar’s cup or even slip a C-Note into the Salvation Army kettle, They can even donate millions to colleges or churches or favorite charities, but they want to retain the power to say to whom, when and how much of their money will be given to those in need.

The unfortunate humanoids who fall outside their sphere have no business asking the government to help but must seek relief  from churches or private charity and if they happen to fall through the cracks or to the wayside…well…too bad.The conservatives have met their self-imposed burdens and their self-imposed limits.

Ah, but liberals have this fancy notion that some despair is beyond an individual’s efforts and abilities to cope with it. They readily accept the reality that not everyone is willing or able to voluntarily open their hearts and more importantly their wallets to those in need.

So how do liberals address this reality? They act as if one of the duties of government is to ensure that, without other assistance, there is aid available for the folks destined to wither and possibly die without it. Since the power of the collective is synergistic and far reaching, they move to have the burden spread over the greatest number of people with the means to help.

This goal can only be met by establishing programs funded by taxes, though it is most  effective when complementing private actions rather than totally replacing them.

But the conservatives resist. More egregiously they push back and instead of helping they try to impose ever greater burdens. Want welfare? Pee into this bottle so we can make sure that $500 a month you receive is not going for crack. Yet the barons of industry to whom all manner of assistance is granted without question aren’t asked to pee to see if they’re using the best and most expensive cocaine that was bought with their multi-million dollar government handout.

Conservatives are also blind to the truth that ensuring people—families—have a decent income and more than minimal resources inures to the benefit of the businesses, both small and large economy size, that they so enthusiastically promote. After all, the more people that can afford the wares or service you provide the more you will sell.

Just like relationships on Facebook, putting these liberal beliefs into practice can be rated “complicated”. Conservatives…businessmen…oriented to the bottom line may not have the patience to see the fruits of education or building a work ethic and experience ripen.

To liberals the bottom line is not produced by a straight edge but can often resemble the notorious eight hairpin turn segment of San Francisco’s Lombard Street.

Maybe I can condense this liberal outlook even further. In junior high school for English class we were required to write a brief paper on “Am I my brother’s keeper?” My product was selected to be read in front of the class. My answer was

YES

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