Indifference to the plight of others has become the central characteristic of the New Republican Party. Cut $40 billion in food stamps for the poor, make life so difficult for immigrants that they will self-deport, end unemployment benefits of 1.3 million jobless, shut down government for those who need its services, refuse to raise the minimum wage and, of course, deprive 40 million citizens of the health insurance they need. For a political party that sees itself as the custodian of America’s moral values, this is a shabby performance.
New Hampshire citizens wisely threw out the Tea Party Republicans in the last election, but they left a few so-called legitimate Republicans in the state Senate, such as Wolfeboro’s Jeb Bradley. He talked bipartisan, but when it came to Medicaid expansion, the negotiations he led were a sham. First, Republicans insisted on a special commission to examine the statewide impact of Medicaid expansion. Then, when the commission recommended expanding Medicaid, Bradley and his cohorts turned a blind eye to 50,000 New Hampshire citizens who are without health insurance, and voted against it.
The New Republicans’ vote against Medicaid expansion has a significant negative impact on the economy. We lose millions of federal dollars, thousands of new jobs and an end to the rising costs we all pay in health insurance premiums for emergency room care for the indigent. However, it is not the economic recklessness of the New Republicans that is so disconcerting. Rather, it is their intentional indifference to the needs of those who do not earn a living wage, who cannot find a job, who cannot pay for health care, who are our fellow Americans.
This lack of empathy is a moral failure, and one must ask them, “Have you no shame?”