All of that may be why I found the quotes in this savagely funny piece by Jon Stewart so very disturbing. First, there is the factual idiocy (just because someone pays no federal income tax does not mean that they are freeloading and not paying taxes at all), but more there is the selfishness and self-righteousness of the commentators.
The shocker was the guy -- I did not catch his name and I refuse to watch the clip again, as it makes me feel sick to my stomach -- who was complaining about all the electronics and appliances that poor people have.
He bemoaned the fact that 96% of people have refrigerators. I can't figure out how to respond to this, it is so appallingly ridiculous and mean-spirited. Other things that he complained of indicate he is simply out of touch with life as real people live it: the large percentage of people who have a cellphones may have no landline -- if you are going to have to pay for one or the other, having a landline makes no sense if you are out of your house at all. I know at least two people for whom this is the case. There are so few pay phones any more that being absent a cell phone can pose serious problems, especially for parents.
He reminds me of the people who complain about poor people having cars and also bitch about taxes to pay for good (or even adequate) public transit systems. Or who insist the Postal Service should be abolished. Or who fail to understand that people can work full time and not be able to afford a place to live (there are only four (four!) counties in the entire country where a worker making the minimum wage can afford to rent a one-bedroom apartment) and who scream bloody murder when the minimum wage is raised.
Many of these are the same people who proclaim that we are a Christian nation.
There is a failure of empathy and compassion across the land. We will pay the price for it -- all of us -- at some point. You sow the wind, you reap the whirlwind.
God help us.