A BuzzFlash Reader Commentary
August 6, 2002 | August 7, 2002 UPDATE
The Dangers of Hypocrisy
A BUZZFLASH READER CONTRIBUTION
A very wise man, once said, during the course of teaching his followers: "By your deeds ye shall know them." The wise man in his teaching was cautioning against the dangers of hypocrisy. He was well aware of the propensity of some of the human race to preach very loudly and condemningly about the alleged lack of morality of their fellow man, while simultaneously going to great lengths to mask their own personal misdeeds. He was keenly aware of the dangerous tendency of these bellicose guardians of the public morality to feign great and magnanimous concern about the welfare of their fellow man, while all the while secretly and quietly going about the business of impoverishing and enslaving them and depriving them of their most basic, fundamental human rights and needs. The great teacher wished to emphasize that mere words from the mouth do not establish the measure of a human being. Indeed, he understood that the only way to genuinely measure a person's character is to assess how that person's actions have affected the lives of his or her fellow human beings.
I am reminded of this great man's teachings every time I hear Mr. Bush give a speech on a topic of public policy. Repeatedly, on issue after issue Mr. Bush pretends to be in favor of "doin the right thing" as he puts it. He gives a nice carefully crafted speech, written for him and poll tested by Karl Rove to soothe people and assure them that "he's on their side."
However, after the TV lights are off and the cameras have gone away the real GWB puts on his suit of true colors. By his budgetary and legislative misdeeds ye shall know him. We have seen this vast gulf between his empty hollow rhetoric and the harsh reality of his policies on issue after issue regarding global warming, the clean air act, corporate reform, and the rights of union workers, to name but a few. In each of those instances Mr. Bush has publicly professed, in a bellicose, pompous, but otherwise vacuous, speech to want to stop global warming, give us cleaner air, protect those who would blow the whistle on corporate wrongdoing, help steelworkers victimized by unfair trade practices and protect the working man.
However, the specific legislative, policy and budgetary actions which he has taken in regard to each of those issues have been the diametric opposite of the stated goals outlined by (and for) him in those speeches. To wit, he has ignored the report of his own EPA and refused to implement the Kyoto protocols. He seeks to gut the clean air act and cripple the EPA's enforcement capabilities. He has refused to implement the clear stated intent of Congress to protect corporate whistleblowers and brazenly and shamelessly wasted no time to assure his corporate buddies that he won't really enforce the very law he so publicly and ostentatiously signed hours earlier. He has pushed to get steel tariffs to help some of his corporate buddies stay liquid just long enough to extinguish their smaller competitors, while simultaneously refusing to help elderly steelworkers who lost their medical coverage when the pension promises made to them by steelmakers vanished like Enron's logo in Houston. He has shown his sheer and utter contempt for those dedicated unionized federal civil service workers who labor daily to keep this country safe and strong by seeking the unprecedented power to eviscerate over a hundred years of civil service protection and arbitrarily fire them at will for no reason other than his personal whim and evident desire to expand his political patronage reservoir. In sum, his ugly actions strongly refute his idle words.
However, Mr. Bush is evidently quite unburdened by the strong contradiction between his policies and his hypocritical preaching. Once more his empty speechifying was on display for all the world to see in Pennsylvania this morning. While he talked glowingly of the great sacrifices and heroism of the nine miners who were trapped in a hellhole for three days, his draconian budget paints the true tale of what he really thinks of those who must labor and toil in great personal danger beneath the earth each and every day under horrific conditions. In his most recent budget Mr. Bush sought to cut the Mine Safety and Health Administrations enforcement budget by six percent even though the number of miners killed in coal mines in 2001 numbered an unacceptably high 71. Moreover the agency under Bush's direction is focusing on "educating" companies about the law rather than taking strong enforcement measures to correct dangerous practices before they result in unneeded injury and death. Mr. Bush also steadfastly refuses to support legislation in Congress to restore funding to replace the coal tax used to fund medical benefits for disabled miners, benefits which I might add were taken away from them by a decision of the same five justices on the Supreme Court who installed Mr. Bush as President. Sorry Junior, your empty callow photo-op with these brave miners in no way even begins to make up for your harsh and callous disregard of their many suffering brothers and sisters.
Mr. Bush's actions speak more loudly and more clearly about his true values and real priorities than his hollow, shallow rhetoric ever will. He should remember that the same great man who cautioned strongly against the dangers of hypocrisy also warned that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get to heaven. Rather than reading the Very Hungry Caterpillar, perhaps Mr. Bush should read this great man's teachings more carefully, since he is Mr. Bush's supposed favorite philosopher, and try to practice what he preaches.
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One minor correction, In Eastern Enterprises v. Apfel, 66 U.S.L.W. 4566 (June 25, 1998)(5-4), a sharply divided Court struck down a 1992 federal act designed to guarantee health care benefits for retired coal miners. A four-person plurality concluded that the statute violated the Takings Clause. Justice Kennedy, who provided the crucial fifth vote, rejected the Takings Clause claim but held that the retroactive application of the Act violated the Due Process Clause.
Thus, although it was the same five justice majority that installed Bush, I incorrectly said disabled miners in the article. It was actually retired miners; however, as with my uncle who was a retired miner, who unfortunately passed away form black lung, the plain fact is that many retired miners are, in fact, disabled and desperately need the medical help. The decision can be legislatively rectified as Senator Rockefeller has tried to do, but the Republicans will let it go nowhere and Bush is happy to see it die.
The statistics on the budget cuts for the mine safety budget come from the Charleston Gazette. I neglected to add, as is mentioned in the article, that Junior has also halted work on most of the important safety regulations started under the Clinton Administration.
is the article:
mine cleanup budgets:
for the administration's new emphasis on "education" over enforcement,
it appeared in the Pittsburgh PostGazette on July 25,2002 however it was
reprint from the New York Times so I can't give the full article but here's
a "teaser" link:
is more of the union's perspective on who Junior has running the show
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A Contribution from BuzzFlash Reader by Dan from Pittsburgh (GO steelers!!)
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otherwise noted, all original