9/11 First Responders Snubbed By Republicans
December 10, 2010
(ChattahBox Op Ed) – Republicans hate anything that is kind, compassionate and dignified. Their ongoing procedural attempts at stopping legislation that is sensitive and profoundly necessary is so Grinch-like that it scares me to think what is to come.
First the Republicans attempted to kill funding for the free lunch program for millions of young people. Then they refused to extend unemployment benefits for million of Americans who need that critical cash. Their homophobic rhetoric and actions on DADT are this side of sinful and now this…
Republicans refused to consider a Bill that would have provided funding for what is called The James Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill named after a New York police detective who had worked as an investigator at Ground Zero in New York and has died as a result of the toxic cloud that he was working in. The Bill would have provided medical benefits and compensation for emergency workers who were first on the scene on that fateful day of September 11, 2001. For Republicans the argument is a matter of simple fiscal policy. For Democrats it’s a matter of simply doing what’s right. The House approved the measure along Party lines; the Senate was three votes short of even bring this Bill to a vote.
The insanity of this is simple partisan politics and partisan politics at its worse. The hypocrisy continues in the waning days of this legislative session and with an uncertain future of the tax cut compromise on the horizon where is all this headed? I’m not completely sure, to be honest with you.
The funding of needed or promised programs have always been a part of the political system and a large part of politicians sworn duties. Expending tax dollars while caring for the greater good of society is not the only measure of how those same dollars are doled out, to be sure, but for the Republicans to continue to block high profile finding tells me that they believe there are or will be no consequences to their actions, and they could be correct. Political memory conveniently becomes a shell game with the topic of the day. What is critical today can easily become fodder for the bottom of the bird cage tomorrow. Voters, who are clueless to own their power, throw up their hands in this madness and repeat the mantra of “what can you do?” A lot actually. A whole lot.
To not fund this Bill to assist those affected by and the families devastated by the after effects of 9/11 should be a crime, don’t you think? But here we are watching the powers that be, with bravado and this utopian posturing, deliberately lying to their constituency in order to uphold their philosophical conservative ideology that they are the Party of fiscal responsibility. Not only is it untrue, it is offensive to intelligent people who can read and have even a scintilla of reason.
End the Bush era tax cuts and let’s move forward. The roll back of these tax cuts would fund the majority of everything we have been writing about recently, it would also send the message to all of America that people are expected to pay their FAIR SHARE, as the middle class has been doing for decades, and while we are at it, it would also send the message that favoring the wealthy and assuming they will spend their dollars smarter than those who make less money is offensive and insulting as well.
We now find ourselves a few short days away from the end of a legislative session with nothing accomplished and much at stake. The minority in power has a headlock on the entire country and they are winning at the cost of the American Dream and in spite of what they were empowered to do. This is not just about protecting the defenseless, as too many people are these days and it’s not just about doing the right thing, because that is a moving target, but what it is about is leading in a proactive way that provides some semblance of sanity and protects the interest of people who NEED assistance in order to get back on track. No one wants to live in a welfare state, but to suffer as a result of actions taken and decisions made that were outside our personal control and then to be punished by politicians who are clearly putting politics before its people is shameful and disgusting, especially since the solution is simple and the positive effect is immediate.
Yes, I realize that to those of you who are reading me on a daily basis that I am becoming a broken record, and I also realize that there are many other issues and topics that deserve some ink, I do get that, but unless and until I see people responding to what is clearly a crisis of conscience and reality, and until a real effort is made by you and me to demand compassionate change, I will continue to beat the same drum. It has been my experience throughout my life that the arguments I don’t drop end up being the ones I win. That’s my plan and I’m sticking to it.
Tony Trupiano is a former national syndicated progressive radio talk show host, author, and a former candidate for Congress. He is also a nationally recognized media trainer. He can be reached at email@example.com and can read his Blog at http://www.mediatraining.me