the real patriots
Mike Finley has an excellent essay on patriotism and courage in America, noting that patriotism is measured by deeds beyond wearing a flag lapel pin. (I'm reminded of the great John Prine's "Your Flag Decal Won't Get You Into Heaven Anymore.") Finley compares society to a three-layer cake, and notes that in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, the Republicans' two facorite layers, corporations and government*, didn't show much courage as institutions, while the Democrats' layer, the people, have been brave indeed.
The top layer of this cake were the business and investment class -- rich folks. My guess is that 70-80% or more of these people were Republicans, because that who Republicans are, demographically.
These people bolted like nobody's business, letting employees go wholesale just when America most needed to band together. For every individual who leaped from the WTC, ten thousand more were pushed out of their jobs and careers in 2002. The pushing continues into 2003.
Next down is government. What measures did the federal government take to hold onto people's jobs and save American families, and thus restore health to the economy? The answer is enormous tax cuts, which depleted our treasury and our ability to act as a nation – tax cuts which primarily went to the upper class of Americans.
These upper class Americans may be stellar people as a group. But giving them money in hard times does not boost the economy – especially when the cuts are staged and deferred, as these are. Rich folks aren't going to invest in a bear market. No irrational optimism there. They'll stash their savings away as bond investments – useless to the task of recession recovery.
(continued in the next post)