Once Upon a Time, Kindness Was a Noble Thing: The Great American About Face, Part 1

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The Great American About Face, Part One: Why Insist on the Same Mistakes That Led to the Great Depression?

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You don’t know what I’m getting at. But this is the indicator of the gradual change in our country that would be missed by those younger than myself. I only see this glaring discrepancy because of having lived many years in an America whose values were different, and who thought differently, more compassionately than today. I know of an America where even that last big word that I used, compassionately, wasn’t the dirty word that it is today…or the certain game loser, deal breaker if uttered.

What’s Love Got to Do with It?

clip_image002_thumbNo. See, what’s happened today is that it’s not even society at large that is supposed to benefit. Compassion is not a goal, or even a value, when negotiating. The scornful repetition of those words, “bleeding heart liberal,” has had its intended effect. No, no, it’s not the function of government to care about anybody anymore.

It may be hard for you to realize what a huge change this is from, like, Roosevelt days. The Great Depression went on for a long time, crushing hopes and aspirations, shortening lives, increasing suffering. People lived beneath this yoke for a time that must often have felt interminable. They came out of this darkness only slowly, and with great effort.

There Was a Time When Kindness Was a Noble Thing.

So, yes, in those days, the easing of suffering was a value, compassion was a noble thing, not indicative of weakness like today. This is the way it was then and for most of the decades afterward, not much changing. Even Eisenhower, a Republican… he wasn’t, y’know, at war with the common good in the Fifties; he didn’t think government was not supposed to be compassionate, that it wasn’t their job or anything, that they couldn’t give anybody a helping hand or anything like that. But starting with Reagan and slowly since then it has become that.

People Suffering, People Dying…And This Guy Thinks It’s a Card Game!

clip_image004_thumbPerhaps you’ve heard it too. At the time of it, you would see it discussed all over. There was Rick Santelli on CNBC. This was at the time when it first got out that Obama might just–with millions of foreclosures, people living in tent-cities and everything–might just present as part of his overall policy to deal with the problem something to help…ok, there’s one of those words (help), a certain game-loser; so you know what’s coming next…something that might “help” people who are heading into foreclosure, people losing their homes. The idea was to renegotiate deals with the bank, to recalculate the terms of their mortgage to make it workable to both sides again.

clip_image006_thumbDon’t forget the banks had before that been given huge amounts of money by the American people. So in this plan, instead of proceeding with a foreclosure the banks were asked to be willing to accept slightly less money on the loan than the original terms called for.

It was thought, what would that hurt? After all the banks aren’t going to lose. At the expense of the American people they’ve made out like bandits…in fact, they’ve been bandits…they used extortion to get that money out. With this policy they would get some money out of the loan instead of none in the case of the foreclosure; they would even still make a profit. The only thing they wouldn’t be able to do is to add that note to the pile of losses they would be claiming as part of the government bailout. clip_image008_thumbAn aside, that last part—making less money than if they could claim it a loss—is the key to understanding the uproar about Obama’s plan to help strapped home owners.

So we saw Rick Santelli, a highly visible financial commentator for CNBC, someone I saw everyday for years. He stood in front of the camera on the floor of the stock exchange; CNBC broadcast it to the world. He was against Obama’s plan to “help” mortgage-holders…they should probably have used a different word than help. As he put it “In America, a card laid is a card played.” He said, “This does away with contract law!”

Yes, We’ve Made This Mistake Before.

Well, yea, yea, they used to say those things back in Hoover’s day too, alright? And then when everybody was hurting, and there was thirty to forty percent unemployment and nobody was making any money including the rich fat cats and they were losing their shirts in investments and no longer making money in the stock market, then…then…all of a sudden, ok, then it was ok to help out people who were starving.

But Why Do We Insist on Making It Again?

Well, why did it have to get to that? And why has it gotten to that again, even to where it’s back to where it was…again…at the beginning of the Great Depression: No compassion allowed.

clip_image010_thumbWhat is that? It’s like “Oh, these people are all deadbeats here.” Oh, yea, all those millions of people? Doesn’t have anything to do with all that money that went to the rich people? Nothing to do with the fact that over the course of all these years we’ve seen the tax rates for the very wealthy go from eighty-some percent in the Fifties to where it is down below thirty-five percent now?

To offset those huge cuts in revenue, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did those increasing cuts in taxes for the wealthy increasingly stimulate the economy? I repeat, did we get any more prosperous in that time? Did the tax cuts work the way the fat cats said they would?

Continue with Compassion = “Hippie.” Mean-Spirited = The “Real” Reality of The Game: The Great American About Face, Part 2

Return to Compassion’s Downright Laughable in The Game – But Unlike Monopoly These Results Are Real: Only the Game Remains, Part 4



The Rise and Fall of “Obvious Truths,”Part Two – an Audio Reading by SillyMickel Adzema

Here is an audio of the author’s impassioned reading of this part. Though it is of the first, unedited and unpolished version, and it does not contain all the detail of its current form below, it does capture the flavor of it all. I offer it here for your listening pleasure. For the reading of this part, “The Rise and Fall of ‘Obvious Truths,’ Part Two,” click on the link to the audio site above or click the link to the audio player below.

http://cdn.hark.com/swfs/player_fb.swf?pid=dhvsqlbnjl
The Rise and Fall of Obvious Truths, Part 2. by SillyMickel Adzema



Continue with Compassion = “Hippie.” Mean-Spirited = The “Real” Reality of The Game: The Great American About Face, Part 2


Return to Compassion’s Downright Laughable in The Game – But Unlike Monopoly These Results Are Real: Only the Game Remains, Part 4

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  1. #1 by Margaret Dingle on March 27, 2012 - 10:57 am

    I thought compassion was still a good thing, but then I’m a Christian and probably a bleeding heart liberal, also a bit of a socialist. I find it disturbing that you treat as dead values that I and probably you and a number of other peope still hold. But perhaps you’re being ironic, trying to bring people back to those values.

    However, there may be more people than you think who value compasssion.

    • #2 by sillymickel on March 27, 2012 - 3:26 pm

      Yes. ironic. I was hoping some actual sarcasm would come through. Regardless how many people value compassion, the point I was trying to make is that it has changed from previous times, it has become laughable in public discourse. See the following post, Compassion = Hippie, Mean-Spirited = the “Real” Reality of The Game (italics indicating irony)

      https://culturewarclasswar.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/compassion-hippie-mean-spirited-the-real-reality-of-the-game-the-great-american-about-face-part-2/

      So no need to be disturbed. The point of bringing this out is to point it out as a wrong, wake people up to how odd it is, and to get folks to stop accepting without thinking that mean-spiritedness is somehow “better.” Don’t worry. I’m with you in the values department…wish there were more of us. 🙂

      Thank you for your comment.

  2. #3 by Gary Beene on May 23, 2012 - 6:14 pm

    Your site makes me think you would likely enjoy the book THE SEEDS WE SOW, KINDNESS THAT FED A HUNGRY WORLD. Best wishes.

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