Covert Matters Digest : Sad Times in the House Chambers
Mischief in the Capitol
By Harry M. Covert
Warning, gentle reader, the following may cause considerable indigestion, deep thought, scintillating wonder and probably anger. Hopefully each of these will come true.
Right off, does the Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, really care about older Americans and even those who go to bed nightly hungry?
After watching the House in action last week, every senior in the land should be troubled. Time may have come for the constitutional dissolution of that body. It won’t happen of course but maybe it should.
Watching those supposed patriots in the Capitol vote to cut in half the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from $80 billion $40 billion and threaten to close down the government should send serious alarm bells through the land.
What better way to avoid public notice of the Middle East matters than their smoke screens or red herrings? The impertinence of the 435 proves they should be dismissed unequivocally en masse.
OFFENDING THE SENIORS
The millions of white-headed, purple-headed Americans must be offended by their elected leaders. The performance has been nothing short of miserable, short-sighted and un-American.
Some googling and binging and media reports puts some distinct understanding on the matters and prove how out of touch are the compassionate conservatives, the harsh and mean manglers, the populists, alleged progressives, third-party enthusiasts, unaffiliated independents and general run of the mill flag-wavers. In short, all of them.
More often than not, when all the mischief is unloading in Washington — not the criminal shootings, car-jackings and general thieving, mind you — but the governing activities of that special group in the House Chambers.
Thankfully, reporters of all stripes (and different opinions) keep the eye on that crowd.
Yes, it’s time to recall the words of H. L. Mencken, the sage of Baltimore, critic, newspaperman and contrarian.
Mencken said 80 years ago, “If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.”
Sure sounds the same today.
Here’s a reminder. If the government shuts down, everyone should pay close attention. For starters, military veterans won’t receive their earned checks. The average retired worker won’t be receiving their $1,269 pay. Some 2.9 million dependents will suffer.
Disabled workers, some 8.9 million won’t receive their $1,129 average monthly benefit, and 6.2 million survivors will miss out too. This will be a calamity for everyone, top to bottom, homes to businesses.
Further, 46.37 million Americans receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program support. This is known cavalierly as the Food Stamp program. The breakdown is 22.4 million households are fed by this effort, equaling $6,025 billion.
There are those who like to say “let ‘em get a job.” Or “they should have prepared better.”
TOO PROUD TO EAT?
There are millions of seniors who are eligible for grocery store help but are too proud to enroll; they seem to think there is a stigma. Many go hungry and don’t have family or friends that can help.
Another observation is that feeding hungry people is the job of churches and people of faith. Sounds nice. Many do but, not enough of them.
These are the facts, not political claptrap. Nine out of 10 people 65 and older receive Social Security benefits, 39 percent of elderly income.
While the code words emanate from politician, the lobbyists and others the money-raising schemes are running full tilt scaring the daylights out of the elderly and begging for money to tell more half-truths.
GIVING AND TAKING
Americans are giving people. Frankly, the politicians have now become merely takers. Those who disagree are considered ignorant, cheaters and deadbeats or partisan relics.
This philippic may be somewhat harsh. That’s intended. No Americans should ever go hungry, no American should ever be denied medical care, no American military veterans should ever lack care of any sorts.
There is an art to politics. Compromise. That is not a dirty word.
Alexis de Tocqueville said it this way, “The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers that it can bribe the public with the public’s money.”
He also wrote, “America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.”
It’s time for more teaching of history, civics and responsibility.•
First Responders and Impairments
A Case for Common Sense
Special Citizens Need Special Care
By Harry M. Covert
How to deal with those of mental and physical impairments is a serious matter. Awareness and education should begin at family and community levels long before public difficulties ensue.
Maryland’s governor has created a commission aimed a training First Responders who face the difficult task of handling public or private situations where those with mental and physical impairments are involved.
The initial problem in the executive order is the name: the Maryland Commission for Effective Community Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Development Disabilities.
This is the result of Robert Ethan Saylor’s death on Jan. 12 in Frederick. A down syndrome young man who succumbed after sheriff’s deputies attempted to remove him from a theater.
Without a doubt the situation is tragic not only for the young man and his family but the sheriff’s deputies having to deal with the incident.
The governor’s commission will salve the feelings of many. There’s nothing improper about that. However, organizations and professionals are already in place locally, statewide and nationally able to further teach First Responders. The Arc of Frederick County and similar agencies throughout the state, have long been major players. They do a grand job.
These professionals are readily available for all public agencies. They perform magnificently and can provide incredibly good leadership.
Dealing with “special” citizens is not an easy or simple task. Take a look at the tragedies at the Washington Navy Yard. The “shooter’s” mental impairments were known but nothing could be done to stop him or to help him.
Common sense is the quickest and simplest way to handle those with Down’s Syndrome. That’s this bureau’s preferred description. When Mr. Saylor’s situation occurred, I was incensed as others.
How to teach common sense is a tough question. But, it begins early on and we must treat our offspring as other siblings, teach our “special” children as normal and use every available method for their happy lives.
Schools provide special teachers, they are unsung heroes but are first-class educators.
The idea of a large commission, 16-plus members, sounds good but people and facilities are already in place.
First Responders means local, state and federal police agencies, sheriff’s offices, natural resources agents, U.S. Marshals, ATF, FBI, secret service, animal control officers, game wardens, park rangers and many more.
The keys though lie with families. The “feel good” commission will only do what’s already known.
My words are not to pooh-pooh the headlines for the governor or to disrespect Mr. Saylor or the national organizations. The reality is to use every available method to help every citizen.
More training is obviously important but local law enforcement agencies are not out there to hurt people. I could teach the class.
As a parent of a “special” son, I am blessed. At 47, he leads a productive life, reads, writes and is an expert in the kitchen. At my age, that’s more than a joy. He follows all sports, knows the scores, standings, loves music, his family and is active in his church.
On the way to church one Sunday, I quizzed him on Bible verses. He reversed the question, what’s the shortest verse? Before I could answer he said, “Jesus wept, John 11:35.”
Recently the phone range. A friend invited us to a football game at FedEx Field. I mean box seats with lunch. Said my son, “I don’t want to go. You know, I don’t like the Redskins.”
We watched the Baltimore Ravens instead.••