John Nance, New York Times best-selling author, ABC News Aviation Consultant, Lawyer, Airline Pilot, Health Care Expert and friend asked me to publish the following article for him. On this we completely agree, Mitt Romney was completely out of line in his broad-brush categorization of at least half of the American people...
I can’t recall the last time I felt honor-bound to speak out in the midst of a political contest, but in the wake of Mitt Romney’s private fundraising statements now contemporarily revealed, silence seems grossly inappropriate.
First, as a Romney-labeled “thoughtful voter,” I admit to being a an admirer of neither party and disgusted with both. Party above country is neither an attractive nor life-sustaining ethic for a nation, and yet that has now become the Capitol Hill philosophy of Democrats and Republicans alike, and I honor neither (nor, I suspect, would Jefferson or Adams).
Second, as of yesterday, I had not yet decided who to nudge toward the White House with my single vote: The incumbent, whose less than stellar use of the bully pulpit has been disappointing and whose Vice President has grossly underwhelmed; or the challenger, who panders to a party I no longer recognize and embraces a running mate whose views of women and women’s rights are closer to property law, and lie somewhere between the Neanderthal and the Taliban.
Yesterday I still had the option to choose, but Mr. Romney may have precluded that choice by his effective indictment of 47% of our population in a sweeping dragnet that includes, by use of the word “dependant,” anyone who in any way depends on receiving government funds.
Of course, I don’t have to engage in a serious analysis of the issues and the stands of the respective candidates in the wake of what we might flippantly call “Moochergate.” I could easily decide this by just taking personal offense. After all, Mr. Romney has implied that the onerous and essentially freeloading act of accepting government money or having a (shudder) entitlement in my name dooms my previously proud membership in the productive workforce of the nation. As an involuntarily-appointed member of the “47%” - which means being labeled an Ayn Rand-class “moocher” - I and every other citizen so situated have been described by Mr. Romney as “someone dependent on government,” someone who considers himself “a victim,” and someone who believes that the government “ has a responsibility” to care for me.
Well, I do believe that my government has the responsibility to live up to its contractual agreement regarding the benefits I purchased with a lifetime of funds paid into what was supposed to be the Social Security trust fund. Even though I have deferred taking any of those payments for the time being, the fact that I can indicts me in Mr. Romney’s eyes.
But, dammit, then there’s that entitlement thing - the fact that I, as a veteran, could actually suck up Veterans Administration funds going to a VA hospital if I ever needed help. Obviously only a moocher would do such a thing, some victim-mentality leach on the ass of society who had the audacity to live too long and be a burden to us all. Shame on me for the entitlement, used or not! Also, I admit to the shameful state of now being enrolled in Medicare, albeit involuntarily. Pure victim mentality to be sure.
It gets worse. By accepting retirement payments from the U.S. Air Force - with whom I served since 1968 (and with whom I remain a commissioned reserve officer) - in Mr. Romney’s world view solidifies my classification as a government victim-mentality moocher who will automatically vote against him so I can stay firmly attached to the government’s ample breast. It puzzles me, of course, how wearing an Air Force flightsuit through Vietnam, remaining in the reserves for 23 years, and gladly giving a year of my life to my unit’s call up for Desert Storm in 1990 somehow makes me a victim, or dependent, or a ward of the state. I think if I truly felt any of those things, I would stop writing and speaking and working at a pace that actually exceeds my first 40 years of gainful employment and just relax, rather than trying to build yet another business. But, by definition, I am now told that remaining a serviceman until you get to expect green checks each month makes me a moocher. I suppose Mr. Romney feels the same about those brave military veterans who returned without all their body parts, and had the temerity to accept government hospitalization, compensation, and rehab money - and were, at least for a while, utterly dependent on that largess.
He may...I do not.
Yes, I could take offense, but the utter absurdity of indicting 47% of the nation, inclusive of all government employees however productive, military members and military retirees receiving their contractually-earned pay, and those receiving Social Security checks is obviously ludicrous and beneath contempt.
And, by the way, you can’t get to that 47% figure without including the good, the bad, and the productive.
Okay, look: Stupid statements made in private can be forgiven in most circumstances, but far more importantly than any personal affront, this world is far too dangerous to be led by men who draw, shoot, and then get around to aiming. In World War Two the phrase “Loose Lips Sink Ships” was deployed as a legitimate caution against spies. Today loose statements from unthinking men in high positions - let alone the presidency - can sink nations.
Do I disagree with Mr. Romney that we have too many citizens who are, in fact, dependent on government and gaming the system? Heck no. In fact it’s an ongoing challenge for us as a people to decide when to help and when to let someone who refuses to work just fail. But to indict in cavalier and whining fashion 47% of the people of the United States based on nothing more than the acceptance of government funds (or the fact that in a given year someone might not have paid or owed taxes) is simply a grotesque piece of evidence that Mr. Romney is not ready for prime time because he does not know the people he seeks to represent. “It’s not my job to be concerned about those people,” he said. Whoa. Excuse me, sir, but I believe the job of the president is to be concerned about ALL the people of this country.
Did I get that wrong, too?
John J. Nance JD