This was the phrase uttered multiple times by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell during a special session of Senate on New Years Eve.
It was in response to “cutting the fat” from a proposal intended to fast track Americans, many who are now food insecure, facing eviction, jobless or sick in the middle of a growing pandemic, a 2,000 dollar stimulus to curb the impending financial collapse.
The reality that 99% of Americans live in do not mirror that of our elected leaders:
They will have a bed available if they fall detrimentally ill.
They will not have to worry whether or not they can afford emergency or long term healthcare.
They have job security.
They have a steady, bountiful paycheck. In fact, an estimated 50% of our Government officials are millionaires.
They do not have to concern themselves over potential food insecurity, eviction or repossession of their vehicle or other assets due to loan defaults.
The vast majority of sitting senators are over the age of 60. Their median age is 61.8. The oldest Senators, Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), are 87 years old. Other high profile senators? Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is 65, Pat Roberts (R-KS) is 84, Richard Shelby (R-AL) is 86, Jim Inhofe (R-OK) is also 86, Lamar Alexander (R-TN) is 80, Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is 79 and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is 78. This is but small sampling of the significantly advanced ages of those making decision on behalf of 331 Million Americans.
Suffice it to say, their children are now adults. They do not have the burden of attempting to work with small children at home, thus childcare is a fact of our lives that they are indifferent too.
The tragic coronavirus didn’t create an incompetent Government. It revealed one.
It laid bare for the world to see their ignorance to our reality- those who work and survive from paycheck to paycheck, have a mortgage to pay, or must rely on credit cards to bolster their accessibility to funds in an emergency because they could not afford to save; The single parent families trying to risk getting sick by going to work so they can feed their children; The overwhelming number of people over 25 living in multi-person or multi generational homes because they cannot afford to live independently in America.
We have seen that America was the country that could not afford to get sick. Those who have prior to the pandemic already knew this- declaring bankruptcy after a cancer diagnosis or losing their home after a car accident that leaves them incapacitated. Now, nearly every American has come to face the devastating reality that we are all at the mercy of elements we cannot control… and our Government has shunned us.
It simply does not impact them. Our stories are simply a catalog of unfortunate fairy tales, read at the bedside of their grandchildren to warn them of the consequences of being poor. Government officials have demonstrated again and again now that they have no tangible relationship with the people whose interests they were elected to represent and protect. They have lost the ability to comprehend what life is like on the bottom wrung of the ladder, outside the impenetrable walls of security and privilege their positions provide. The Palace gates closed tight to protect them from the reality we are struggling with, they have no compassion, sympathy or interest in our sustenance- our ability to thrive.
They’re far too busy, as we are crushed beneath the weight of a virus that has cost so many of us friends and family members, wrestling over which of their respective teams, Democrat or Republican, will maintain power over the rest of us. It is a war of the wealthy and powerful and we, us, are the spoils. They are the Parents arguing about what to have for dinner while we sit before an empty plate, stomach growling from hunger. They are blind to our condition. They are concerned more with dominating the decision making and preserving the status quo than providing quality of life resources for the people who provided them passage to their seats.
Despite America being one of the wealthiest countries in the world, that wealth is hoarded by our government and the millionaires and billionaires they protect. While other developed countries such as the UK, Canada, Australia immediately issued ongoing economic relief packages to their citizens, the American government turned their backs… to focus on instead on investing their time and resources on their battle for control, attempting to throw democracy off course and overturn a fair election, potentially invalidating the voices of millions of people while telling us to blame the other for our strife.
But there was no more stark evidence that the American people have no choice but to face a pandemic alone than hearing Mitch McConnell, the Republican Majority leader in Senate say “I object” when gifted with the authority of helping the people of the Unites States. Ultimately, Republicans have transformed themselves into the Trump party, rallying, not behind the sick and ailing, but instead behind a grotesquely petulant game show host turned President who Americans rejected a second term… and who has golfed while 350,000 died. While Doctors and Nurses cried in countless appeals to the public to protect themselves, Mitch McConnell and other Senators like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley and Marsha Blackburn put their fingers firmly in their ears and noses in the air.
This is the new Government… an elitist group of people incentivized to run, not for the pleasure of serving the people, but by money, influence and immunity from accountability. They act with impunity in a system no longer intended to protect or represent the American people, but to personally enrich themselves and foil with corruption any justice to be had. To the untouchables, you are more useful sick, starving and paddling like hell under the surface to survive… because you haven’t the time or energy to fight back.
Perhaps we must accept that there are no Democrats or Republicans in the lofty towers government has built for themselves, but an upper echelon of an otherwise imperiled society who leverages those identifiers to send us into a tribal war with each other, all while they care about nothing beyond your vote and taxes paid to keep them there. The servants, many who have been there for 40+ years, have mutinied, forgetting entirely that we are their authority.
Maybe we have forgotten that, too.