Rep. Bill Young (R-FL) is a prime example of why I would never vote for a Republican even if I actually agreed with their policies. They're mean and getting meaner. Instead of actually listening to constituents, they belittle them. They pound their chests and talk about being good Christian men, but really, they're just mean, nasty, petty humans who eat too many lemons for lunch.
Constituent: Hi, I'm Pepe, how are you? Happy Fourth of July. Jesse Jackson, Jr. is passing a bill around to increase the minimum wage to 10 bucks an hour. Do you support that?
Young: Probably not.
Constituent: 10 bucks an hour would give us a living wage.
Young: How about getting a job?
Constituent: I do have one. $8.50 an hour.
Young: Well, then why do you want that benefit? Get a job.
Constituent: I have a job. It's not enough to get by on.
Got that? Mr. Constituent has a job that isn't enough to get by on, and Mr. Young's response to him is "Get a job." Would that be another job on top of the one he already has? Why not just make the minimum wage something people could actually live on?
There's actually a serious answer to why they're so mean and selfish. Sara Robinson has written a must-read analysis of what is going on in this country, and it is nothing to take lightly in terms of how the power has shifted. At Alternet:
When a Southern conservative talks about "losing his liberty," the loss of this absolute domination over the people and property under his control -- and, worse, the loss of status and the resulting risk of being held accountable for laws that he was once exempt from -- is what he's really talking about. In this view, freedom is a zero-sum game. Anything that gives more freedom and rights to lower-status people can't help but put serious limits on the freedom of the upper classes to use those people as they please. It cannot be any other way. So they find Yankee-style rights expansions absolutely intolerable, to the point where they're willing to fight and die to preserve their divine right to rule.
That's just a small snippet of an incredibly important analysis of the power shift in this country, but take it and apply it to Rep. Young's treatment of that
constituent serf. It is actually right in the character of the plantation owner who views the small pittances as expressions of largesse to those beneath him in power and stature. There is no liberty for the serf. He is expendable labor. The liberty belongs only to the powerful man, the plantation owner, the corporate executive.
In the old South, on the other hand, the degree of liberty you enjoyed was a direct function of your God-given place in the social hierarchy. The higher your status, the more authority you had, and the more "liberty" you could exercise -- which meant, in practical terms, that you had the right to take more "liberties" with the lives, rights and property of other people. Like an English lord unfettered from the Magna Carta, nobody had the authority to tell a Southern gentleman what to do with resources under his control. In this model, that's what liberty is. If you don't have the freedom to rape, beat, torture, kill, enslave, or exploit your underlings (including your wife and children) with impunity -- or abuse the land, or enforce rules on others that you will never have to answer to yourself -- then you can't really call yourself a free man.
There is your answer, Mr. Constituent. You are simply at the mercy of the masters, and they see no reason for you to have another $1.50 per hour if it means one less penny in their pocket.
I hate to be a pessimist, but it seems as though we are in the throes of Civil War II, fought with money and power. For now. If you accept Robinson's theory of a power shift to southern plantation owners or their 21st century equivalent, then a picture crystallizes of yet another time in our history where North will be battling South for years to come.