Friday, April 29, 2005

Jack must be rolling in his grave

"People want government to help them. That's what government's all about."
- Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), "Real Time with Bill Maher," 4/29/05

Actual quote.

I usually don't watch Bill Maher, mostly because he's an arrogant, sexist SOB. But I'm procrastinating on a 20-page paper I owe my crim law professor from the fall, which means I'm not going out and having fun tonight, and America's Next Top Model is over for the evening. So HBO it is. I'm only halfway paying attention when I overhear this quote. Sen. Schumer was contrasting the Democrats to the Republicans (favorably, surprise, surprise), and pointing out that while Republicans fare better on the "complicated" issues (the clear implication of this being that Republicans excel at spin and obfuscation), Democrats are good at talking to the people and finding out what's really important to them re: health care, education and welfare, etc., etc. That's when he made this outrageous quote.

I don't like to box myself in as "conservative" or "liberal," though when pressed, I'll say I'm conservative. Still, I understand the importance and value of having certain government programs that aid those who can't afford to help themselves, much as I hate how this eats into my paycheck. I think there are huge problems with the way that it's run (I despise bureaucracy in any form), but my distaste shouldn't be viewed as a condemnation of the idea of government aid. Given that, though, I would think that, all other things equal, people would (should?) want to survive on their own rather than depend on someone else or something else for their survival. And I say this as a lazy person. I swear to God I'm lazy. As a testament to this, I'm still in my pajamas and have only written a page and a half of my aforementioned paper (it's nominally due today -- there is about an hour and a half left in "today"). Other than that, today I have watched TV, IM'd friends and checked the mail. That's pretty much how all my weekends look, except that sometimes I also go out to eat/barhop/club/etc. So I'm definitely lazy. But I'm also (paradoxically?) independent. If my laziness threatened my independence I suspect I would find a way to overcome the laziness, rather than give up the independence.

So my long-winded point is this: I think my independence is a highly American trait. Independence is valued in this country, and I think that's a good thing. Sure, there's plenty of room for the valid argument that Americans are overworked, but that's different from saying they don't want to support themselves. In other words, America is about taking care of yourself. It's about making something of yourself. It's not about looking at the government, holding your hand out and tapping your foot. It's not about the government supporting you. It's not about the government "helping" you.

JFK, the patron saint of modern Democrats, got this. He famously got it. It's not about sitting around waiting for the government to help you. It's about work. It's about independence. It's about patriotism. It's about what you can do for your country.

I hope Sen. Schumer remembers that.


At April 30, 2005 at 8:14 PM, Blogger Gus said...

See, the problem is what you're watching. 10P on a Saturday? I'm also sitting around working with the tele on in the background. But I've got Iron Chef on. Which means, instead of stupid politicians saying stupid things, I get to watch brilliant chefs making what I wish I were eating for dinner. (While I have a frozen pizza sitting in the over. Sigh.)


At May 2, 2005 at 9:56 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

Mmmmm, Iron Chef.

I love how the guy bites into a bell pepper at the start. He makes it look absolutely delicious, even though bell peppers are really only just this side of tasty.

At May 3, 2005 at 12:54 PM, Blogger Micah said...

I agree with you on Bill Maher, but still watch his show every week. Mainly because it irritates me. Weird. Kinda like how I watch the McLaughlin Group because Eleanor Clift just PISSES ME OFF.

The rest of your post is well put. Our country shouldn't have the entitlement culture that we have today. Thanks, FDR! I'm all for helping people in need, but some are just lazy and dependent.

At May 3, 2005 at 3:03 PM, Blogger The Law Fairy said...

I feel you, Micah. Sometimes I, too, watch or listen to something either in spite of or because of the fact that it pisses me off. Case in point: I have my radio alarm tuned to the Man Cow morning show. The guy never fails to piss me off (for instance, he's actually said on air that he would be disappointed if his pregnant wife was carrying a girl instead of a boy). Yet I listen to him every morning.

Re: entitlement, you hit the nail on the head. Call me an old-fashioned hardass, but I think everyone should be willing to put in a bit of hard work to get their fair share (yes, I know I mixed a singular noun with a plural pronoun. There's just no good way to do it right).

At October 4, 2005 at 10:06 AM, Blogger credit6sec said...

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At October 4, 2005 at 8:05 PM, Blogger Online Incomes said...

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