Dear America: A Holiday Tirade

Normally, I hate to be a downer during the holiday season. But yesterday’s story about the neonazis who disrupted a menorah lighting in Fairfield was the a-hole straw that broke the camel’s back. I’m about to lose my last bit of patience with my fellow man, and for once, it has nothing to do with fist fights in parking lots while holiday shopping. No…I am just annoyed by the complete lack of concern people seem to have for their neighbors.

I know you’re all stressed out because the economy is in the shitter. Maybe you don’t have a job. Or maybe you do have a job but your floundering company is handing out pay-cuts and furlough days instead of bonuses. Believe me, I feel your pain. It may not seem like it, but it could be worse. The truth is, simply by living in the United States of America you have a leg up on about 60% of the world. And when I see things like neonazis crashing a lovely menorah lighting ceremony I can’t help but think, How ungrateful! Honestly, all this at your disposal and you choose to be a hate monger! Ridiculous.

The other day my mom was telling me a story that apparently happened not far from her house a few years ago: a kid was walking his German Shepherd down by Hockanum River near Burnside Avenue in East Hartford (not exactly an idyllic locale to begin with), when the dog started barking at a group of kids (I say kids but I’m guessing they were teenagers, or even older), and this group of hoodlums subsequently shot the dog, beat up the kid, and took his phone. This story strikes me as more deranged than most, despite the wide spectrum of ways people are awful to each other.

It reminded me of the time a family friend who lived near Main Street in East Hartford, who told us he was no longer comfortable walking to the store with his 120 lb. German Shepherd because of the automatic weapon-toting, Pit Bull-beating thugs roaming his neighborhood…that and the dead body found in the park. You have to wonder: What has  the world come to when you can’t even feel safe walking in your own neighborhood with the equivalent of a police dog at your side?

I swear I have a point.

The truth is, you can’t expect much humanity from the least among us, when we don’t demand it from people at the top. Why should we be surprised when poor kids grow up to sell drugs, steal, and shoot their neighbors when our own state government and big corporations pillage the proverbial countryside on a much larger scale? It’s only those of us in the middle who feel like we have something to lose, but not a whole lot to gain, who play by the rules.

The Governess’ “debt mitigation plan” makes up for decreased revenue –due in part to all those fat-cat bankers who live down in Fairfield County losing their jobs and therefore not paying as much in taxes–by, of course, forcing the poor and, increasingly, the middle class to suffer.

As CT News Junkie reports:

The plan also freezes enrollment Rell’s Charter Oak Health Plan for uninsured adults and imposes co-payments for Medicaid recipients and premium increases for those already enrolled in the Husky health insurance program.

Rell’s plan also reduces by 5 percent Medicaid provider reimbursement rates for nursing homes and intermediate care facilities for the mentally retarded and reduces the amount of uncompensated care for those unable to pay for their hospital stay.

So let me get this straight: people lose their jobs, homes, and more because of the terrible mismanagement and irresponsible behavior of highly paid financial workers, and now they’re losing the social support system they rely on in times of need because those same fat-cats aren’t contributing as much revenue as they used to… In the meantime, teabaggers and Joe Lieberman are running around decrying a public health care option or simply allowing more people to buy into Medicare… and the cycle continues. Awesome!

Speaking of cycles: I’d like to discuss Wal-Mart. I know you’re all out there looking for good deals on your holiday shopping needs, and so you go to cheap-as-hell Wal-Mart, and probably complaining about the terrible service. I’d like to explain something to you. You may think Wal-Mart is looking out for you by selling things so inexpensively, but the truth is they aren’t. Wal-Mart puts smaller stores –that often pay their employees better– out of business, then pay their own employees atrociously (and find ways to say, keep them from becoming full-time and refusing to pay for benefits, despite being one of the biggest employers in the world). This, of course, puts an added strain on things like *gasp* state insurance programs.

Wal-Mart gets those prices so low by making deals with suppliers who can’t afford NOT to have their goods in the giant retailer’s stores, but also can’t really afford to sell their goods at the price Wal-Mart demands. Once again…there go the jobs–either eliminated or sent somewhere cheaper. I realize now may not be the best time to ask my fellow Nutmeggers to skip the stop at Wal-Mart and head to a local shop instead…but I’m going to anyway. So when you’re out buying a flat-screen TV at Wal-Mart for $19.99, think about what that price really means…

And when you’re at the polls during the next election day, don’t forget Lieberman’s threat to filibuster any health care reform bill that expands Medicare or includes a public option, and what that means to your neighbors, if not you.