Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post has written an interesting article excoriating the GOP presidential field for their lack of compassion, and hypocrisy over their claims to be Christian. But I also have to question, how can someone claim to be patriotic while showing such disdain/lack of compassion for their fellow countrymen?

Eugene Robinson took the GOP presidential candidates to town for talking the Christian talk but not walking the Christian walk. Robinson touches on the Gospel of Matthew in which God commands us to “love thy neighbour as thyself”. He questions how Bachmann can love and care for 23 foster children but show no care for the multitude of orphans who do not receive the same blessed opportunity. He questions whether the GOP even consider the teachers, firefighters and police officers who will undoubtedly lose their jobs in the planned spending cuts. Robinson also writes what I consider to be a very seminal point which many strict constitutionalists gloss over: “There’s a reason the Constitution begins ‘We the people…’ rather than ‘We the unconnected individuals who couldn’t care less about one another…'”. The reason we build communities in the first place, and setup laws and governments in order to run these communities, is that we are social animals who thrive when we assist each other. Lastly Robinson reasons that cutting the programs that the poor depend on such as Medicare and Social Security, and letting the poverty rate in the U.S. increase while almost exclusively fighting for tax cuts for the rich should be immoral for Christians. But regardless of whether you are Christian or not, shouldn’t this also be immoral for anyone who considers themself a patriot?

Republicans and Conservatives in the U.S. almost have a monopoly on patriotism. Their recent presidential debate featured more flags than you can shake a stick at. They had the balls to question whether Obama was a patriot because he did not wear a flag pin. They are the benefactors of the military industrial complex. Fox News loves to remind us how the U.S. is the greatest thing in history. And they are the self appointed guardians of the constitution. However, how can someone be patriotic while showing such a lack of care for their fellow man? A nation is not a geographically marked piece of land, a constitution, a sum of resources, a subjective sense of freedom, a flag, an anthem, a history, a language or a culture. A nation can and does include all of these things and much more, but above all else a nation is its people. When Benedict Anderson famously defined a nation as an “imagined community”, he outlined the reason as being that there is always some sort of comradeship built upon a collective identity, even though the people will not meet. The people then, are the most important part of a nation. And it is the people as a whole to which you owe your allegiance if you truly are patriotic. Sure there is room to be selfish, and sure there is room to complain about taxes and bemoan contrivances you do not agree with. However, our duty as members of a community is to ensure that we all enjoy some semblance of equality. Our duty as members of a community is to take care of each other. And our duty as patriotic individuals, is to do all we can for our nation. And a nation is its people.

Eugene Robinson’s column at the Washington Post:

The compassionless GOP
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The Washington Post
16 Sep 2011

We heard plenty of contradictions, distortions and untruths at the Republican candidates’ Tea Party debate, but we heard shockingly little compassion — and almost no acknowledgement that political and economic policy choices have a moral…read more…

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