Thursday, October 23, 2008
Let them eat clothes?
Are we prepared to send a 21st century Marie Antoinette to Washington?
As someone who has worked with poor communities in the U.S. and abroad my entire career, I am very much hoping for an Obama presidency to recalibrate the compass of American responsibility.
How the Republicans can claim Obama wants higher spending when they steal from the public purse and give handouts, tax breaks and subsidies to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries kills me. Merely by removing those we will be able to level the playing field and make renewable energy competitive, without any additional spending. And Obama has said time and again he wants to use those wasted dollars to fund his initiatives. That's one point that seems to be lost on those who thinks he is a "tax and spend" presidential candidate.
But while we are on the topic of spending: Is it just me, or does anybody else see the similarity between Sarah Palin and Marie Antoinette with what basically amounts to a "let them eat clothes" philosophy?
Does anybody else remember Imelda Marcos adding to her extravagent shoe collection while Philippinos starved and see the connection?
I still can't get over the gall of the Republican National Committee letting a Republican VP nominee whose whole campaign is about being "a regular hockey mom like the rest of us" spend $150,000 of campaign money on clothes and makeup in two months! It especially irritates me when all our Solar CITIES organization could get from US AID was a paltry $ 25,000, 6 times less than this self-described "barracuda"'s sartorial splurge, to fund an entire year's worth of infrastructure materials to help the poor in Cairo with green collar jobs training and renewable energy facility construction.
The Republicans are supposed to be using America's wealth to make the world safe for freedom and democracy, not to fund beauty pageants. The real war on terror and the real fight against climate change come from ending deprivation and suffering and ending reliance on fossil fuels. It comes from changing hearts and minds, not clothes. The Republicans talk big about fighting on these fronts, but they don't put their money where their mouths are, and the lie of it is all the more discouraging.
The worst of it is that the Republicans justify Palin's "beauty and fashion" expenses by saying they'll give these overpriced jackets and skirts to charity!!
"It was always the intent that the clothing go to a charitable purpose after the campaign," said Tracey Schmitt of John McCain's campaign...
What? Give a handful of poor people $10,000 designer suits? How is that supposed to help impoverished communities? Are they supposed to applaud while the "lucky" recipients strut up and down the garbage strewn runway, doing a bad impression of Tina Fey doing a good impression of Sarah Palin? Is that what "charity" -- "Caritas" -- "caring" is about today?
That's much worse than "let them eat cake".... At least cake has some nutritional content from the eggs... I think Palin, the would-be queen consort of McCain, should go down in history as the newest Marie-Antoinette (1755-93), the Queen consort of Louis XVI.
And this isn't an isolated incident for the McCain/Palin ticket: McCain's wife has the same philosophy, wearing what Vanity Fair calculated to be a $300,000 outfit.
I guess the VP spending only half that amount is considered a show of good faith, except Cindy McCain is the heiress of the Budweiser fortune, so assumedly her extravagance comes from private wealth. Palin's comes from the public purse.
"I intend to give my clothes to charity when I'm done with them" says Palin, by way of defense. Hand-me downs for all the poor folk who want to try their luck making it big on Saturday Night Live or don't have any other costume for Halloween, huh Sarah? Is that what you had in mind?
I say make her eat her own words... and hope she chokes on them.
T.H. Culhane is neither a democrat nor a republican, but an independent voter whose family comes from small town midwestern America. He is a direct descendent of Joseph Robidoux, who founded St. Joseph Missouri. He spent much of his childhood with his 16 cousins at his grandmothers house in the cornfields outside Rockford Illinois. He considers himself a "real American" with "real American values". Among them are frugality, honesty and integrity and a belief in liberty and justice FOR ALL.