I was all set. I had this great last-minute holiday blog ready to go. I have been hibernating while writing a new book (done any minute now…) and I admit I have neglected all my blogs. So I sat down, my Christmas tree glowing in the corner of the living room, and I wrote a sweet holiday blog meant to wish joy and inspiration for the new year.
And then I watched The Daily Show. My holiday glow faded as quickly as a starlet’s beauty as I watched in horror…our Senate at work…or not at work to be more precise. Here was Jon Stewart, a fake newscaster shining a glaring light on our legislative body’s latest walk of shame. No news network has given it the time of day (except a wee bit of coverage by MSNBC and one editorial on Fox News), but The Daily Show exposed our Senate for what it really is.
On the floor to be passed before the Christmas recess for our esteemed elected officials were two bills: the tax bill, aimed at extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans…and the other is a bill to fund healthcare for ailing 9/11 first responders. The tax cut passed. Republican Senator John Thune said that it was essential to pass the tax cut bill because they were set to expire at the end of the year.
The 9/11 healthcare bill was filibustered to defeat led by Republican Mitch McConnell. I guess expiring lives of firefighters, cops, EMT’s and other first responders are not so urgent…until it’s time to ask them to run into more burning buildings to save lives. They say the bill fell three votes short of coming to the floor for debate and vote, which was the result of the Republicans making good on their threat to pass no laws until they got their tax cuts for the wealthy. I would like to see each and every Senator, Republican and Democrat alike, publicly reveal themselves as the ones who voted to defeat this noble legislation. They won’t. They are cowards.
Why is this outrage not on every news network receiving the same intensive coverage as the infamous proposed mosque near the site of the 9/11 attacks? Where is Fox News now? They, who wear 9/11 like a sacred mantle of outrage, have aired one opinion piece on the matter. Why isn’t their in-resident Mama Grizzly, Sarah Palin, flag pin in place, shouting from the airwaves about her cohorts’ defeat of this most essential legislation? Where is Bill O’Reilly’s outrage? Sean Hannity’s indignation? Glenn Beck’s tears? I don’t hear Rush Limbaugh calling anyone a terrorist in this battle. And where is Mr. 9/11 himself, Rudy Giuliani, who has worn the events of that awful day like a badge of honor, as though he ran into the crumbling towers himself? Where is his vehement defense of the men and women who worked to pull New York from its own wreckage that day?
And then there’s Senator John Kyl, who said that Senate Majority leader Harry Reid is against Christmas because he is loudly demanding that the senate reconvene between Christmas and the New Year to pass this legislation. Kyl said that to come back to Washington to work on this would disrespect the most holy of Christian holidays. Is he kidding? Since they are not being asked to work on Christmas Day, what holiest of days is this? Our Lady of the Returned Gift? And how dare he even say the word ‘Christian’ when his actions disrespect the most basic of Christian ideals…to care for those less fortunate and in need.
The Democrats fare no better in my book, either. With the exception of Harry Reid, I do not hear them shouting from the rooftops, demanding better of their colleagues.
This is a most distressing thing for this country. The men and women who work as first responders run into the buildings we are trying to flee. They go where no one wants to be. They risk their lives each and every day.
Many of the 9/11 first responders worked seven days a week for months on end sifting through some of the most toxic debris they will see in their lifetime. They worked tirelessly; they worked through holidays (even Christmas, Senator Kyl); they worked shift after shift to bring closure to the tragedy that struck New York and changed this country forever.
And their reward? To be abandoned by the very legislative government they serve.
As our over-fed and over-paid senators sit down to holiday feasts, these men and women suffer and die. Their tragedy would haunt out legislators if they had consciences.
It’s time to stand up for these brave Americans. Here is a website listing the phone numbers for each U.S. Senator. Flood their offices with calls. Make our voices heard. Tell them to do the right thing by the some of the greatest heroes this country has seen on its own shores. Tell them that we will no longer stand idly by and watch them put money and greed before the welfare of the people they serve.
How can these men and women call themselves leaders? How can they call themselves our representatives? How can they call themselves human?
If you’re not outraged by this…or think it’s in the least way exaggerated, head on over to The Daily Show and watch Jon Stewart’s interview with 9/11 first responders, all ailing, all dying. If it doesn’t break you in half; enrage you and spur you to make a call to your senator, then maybe we have the government we deserve.
I apologize that this blog isn’t happier at this time of year. I am sorry it’s so angry. But it’s a time to think of others and in my view; we need to think of these ailing first responders the way they thought of us that day…and continue to think of us each day. They don’t need a vote or a super majority to run into burning buildings or save lives.
They just do their jobs.
Time to do ours. Speak up for them.
Merry Christmas and may we all see a saner and just new year.