A while ago, some asshole with a blog noted that cruelty is an ideology:
But I think this misses the ideological component to this… consider, instead, healthcare. A fair number of conservatives don’t have a problem with our current system. Why? Because they believe those who have problems paying for it likely deserve it. If they worked hard, saved more responsibly, were better liked by their neighbors, and had a church that would help them, then healthcare wouldn’t be a problem. If they were good people–and good people, oddly enough, seem to be disproportionately white evangelical Christians–then they would not be receiving this misfortune (or, at least, would have the previously mention support systems). Besides, we know how those people are. This is an abhorrent melange of Ayn Randian libertarianism, Prosperity Gospel, and racism.
Put another way, what many people see as cruelty, they see as a just order. Like racism (and in part, derived from it), the cruelty provides a powerful organizing principle for understanding the world around them. Someone can’t afford healthcare? It’s their fault.
Well, if you think I was engaged in hyperbole, an aide for Republican Senator Tom Tillis just gave it up (boldface mine):
Over the past 20 years, Veals beat cancer three times, and her fight included struggles to get care and medical bankruptcy.
When her husband was furloughed in March because of the coronavirus pandemic, Veals worried about losing her health insurance, so she reached out to lawmakers for help.
“I wanted answers because the thought of having no health care and possibly getting sick with COVID is extremely frightening,” she said recently.
During Veals’ calls, she came across a Washington, D.C., staffer for Tillis. Frustrated by his lack of empathy, she started recording her calls.
“You’re saying that, if you can’t afford it, you don’t get to have it, and that includes health care?” she asked.
“Yeah, just like if I want to go to the store and buy a new dress shirt. If I can’t afford that dress shirt, I don’t get to get it,” he replied.
“But health care is something that people need, especially if they have cancer,” Veals said.
“Well, you got to find a way to get it,” he responded.
When she asked the staffer what she’s supposed to do, he said, “Sounds like something you’re going to have to figure it out.”
After this delightful exchange came to light via an undeniable recorded phone call, the aide in question was disciplined, but don’t think for a moment he is an aberration. This is who Republicans–not just Trump–are.
There have been and are Democrats who aren’t much better, but anyone who has been watching Republicans for a while knows this is just a case of saying the quiet part out loud. This is how their rank-and-file think.
In November, don’t empower them. Your life might depend on it.