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Loud, Selfish, but Definitely not Pregnant

By       Message Jann Swanson     Permalink
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During a debate on an amendment by Senator Debbie Stabenow, the Michigan Democrat made the statement that 60 percent of insurance companies in the marketplace do not offer their customers maternity care.

Senator Jon Kyl, (R-AZ) snapped "I don't need maternity care. Requiring that in my insurance policy is something I don't need and will make my policy more expensive."

Ms. Stabenow quickly rejoined that Kyl's mother at one point obviouslydid need such coverage but he just shrugged.

It was such a perfect illustration of the conservative mindset.

I don't need it so you can't have it.

I have it, you don't, and I plan to keep it that way.

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And most apparent in recent months -- Why should you get it if I don't.

This conservative selfishness has evidenced itself over and over -- at tea party protests, in August town meetings, and in public opinion poll after public opinion poll.

It is in the words of the little old lady who has Medicare (perhaps having done nothing on her own to earn it) but is rabidly opposed to the public option. It is in the faces of the militants with their nasty signs and racial slurs who marched in Washington on September 12 and have marched twice in my town in the last months, and from the podiums where back-bench members of Congress scream "Socialist" and rail about "income redistribution."

But nowhere has this selfishness been more apparent than in the conservative reaction to the stimulus. The importance of protecting entire neighborhoods, even entire cities from foreclosures, from sliding into disrepair or abandonment has been lost in the cry of "I won't help people who didn't play by the rules" Oh but so many of them did play by the rules even if the rules were incredibly stupid. What the objectors really mean is "Hey, wait a minute, somebody is getting something that I'm not."

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It doesn't matter that they don't need the help -- they haven't lost their job or lacked sufficient education to understand the economics of home buying or they had the luck to get an honest mortgage broker. It doesn't matter that a wave of foreclosures in their neighborhood may cost them thousands in lost equity. The only thing that matters is the perceived injustice -- the "they can't have it unless I can too" attitude that so dramatically marks the conservative movement.

The people who have made so much noise these few years could give a flying fig about the Constitution or the state of their country, just don't take away their guns or call upon them to sacrifice anything for the common good. They scream about taxes while the numbers show that most of them get far more in benefits than those taxes pay for. They wail that "the government" is stealing from their children, and then complain about every state and local measure that would improve education and child health. A law recently passed in my conservative state that allows seniors to opt out of paying the portion of their property taxes that supports the schools. Thousands lined up in my town to exercise that right. Their kids were already educated, to hell with yours.

Yet these selfish Americans vote year after year for the people who really are ripping them off; the men and women at every level of government who enable and protect the banks, insurance companies, and other large corporations that are truly benefiting from largess to which they have no right.

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I am a full-time free-lance writer convinced she is the only progressive living in Coastal Georgia. I relocated south from New England almost seven years ago and the culture shock is still profound. The winters, however, are wonderful and while (more...)

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