Nel's New Day

May 27, 2011

Eric Cantor’s Callousness

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 8:09 PM

When former House Majority Leader Tom Delay (R-TX) was in office, Hurricane Katrina wreaked devastation across the southern part of the United States. After the government understood that this hurricane was an immense disaster, Delay argued that the people should receive aid as rapidly as possible even if the relief monies had to be added to the national deficit.

We’re living in a different time. Rep. Eric Cantor (R-KY) is perfectly willing to provide financial relief to the victims of the recent tornadoes in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas—if commensurate funding in other areas is cut. No aid until that’s taken care of.

More people other than those victims are suffering from the Republican takeover last fall. (Remember? Elections have consequences.) On the same day that Cantor announced his trade-off plan, the House Appropriations Committee brought out their plan to cut nutrition and food safety programs by 10 to 15 percent. Those cuts include a loss of $832 to WIC (Women, Infants and Children) food assistance program and $285 to the Food and Drug Agency.

Republican politicians are becoming more blatant in telling their constituents that it’s not their job to help them. In a recent townhall meeting, Rep. Rob Woodall (R-GA) announced, “When do I decide I’m going to take care of me?” He was responding to a woman who asked what she should do for insurance if she didn’t get Medicare. When she pointed out that he had government-provided health insurance, Woodall said, “Yes, but it’s free.”

People like Woodall do not understand that the term “citizen” means a person who has responsibilities as well as rights, responsibilities to support the community through service and economic participation so that everyone’s life is bettered. Even the kids in Missouri understand this concept. One Missouri high school graduating class is donating its entire party fund, $14,000, to the tornado victims in keeping with the Missouri state motto, “Let the welfare of the people be the supreme law.”

In her graphic narrative, American Widow, Alissa Torres tells about the problems in dealing with the government following a disaster. After problems with unemployment, Torres’ husband, Eddie, a Colombian working as a currency broker in theUnited States, began his new job at Cantor Fitzgerald on September 10, 2001, in the World Trade Center. All 658 Cantor Fitzgerald employees in that office died on September 11, 2001.

The book exhibits a gamut of emotions as Torres describes her loss. The connecting piece for me to Eric Cantor’s response to the recent tornado victims, however, is the insensitivity and ineptitude shown by agencies as she looks for the help that had been promised to the victims’ survivors.

We like to look back at 9/11 as an time when people stepped up to fill in all the gaps. Torres’ book displays her perception of how most people failed to deal with such devastation and with the people connected with it.

American Widow is much more than a critique of mismanagement: it depicts the isolation of grief and the resulting enervation. Artist Sungyoon Choi adds to Torres’ experiences before and after 9/11 in simple black, white, and light blue drawings. This is a valuable book showing the individual pain of a collective tragedy, one which Eric Cantor has made worse with his heartless response.

1 Comment »

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    Comment by anons — February 18, 2012 @ 1:34 PM | Reply

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