So, we all remember my first goddamn poor people post. This one is going to be more of the same. If you don’t like me talking about compassion, then just pass on this blog post, because it is all about compassion today. Every single word in this article will be filled with humanity and empathy for my fellow human beings.
This morning (November 25, 2013), I was making myself some breakfast when I hear some snatches of talk from the radio program that my mom was listening to. My parents are both lifelong Republicans and listen right-wing radio every single day. The night preceding this, I had been trying to take notes on a Bratz movie while some dude ranted about Obamacare and how the world is going to be destroyed and America will never be able to recover and we’re all going to die, slowly and painfully, because of it.
But this morning my mom was listening to Rush Limbaugh and he was raving about how a new study, conducted by the World Health Organization, showed that half of all new HIV infections in Greece were self-inflicted. This lead into one of his rants about how people are always freeloading off of the government and take advantage of the system while he has put hard work and plenty of misogyny into his life and doesn’t have to take government handouts, making him morally superior to everyone that doesn’t have the same privilege and opportunity that he has had.
It’s staggering to think that Limbaugh honestly believes that people are so determined to get something for nothing that they are willing to infect themselves with a disease that will kill them in order to avoid doing any hard work. Is he serious? We all know that I have a hard time telling well-placed satire apart from reality, but this was just too ardent and without a hint of tongue-in-cheek. Limbaugh was completely sincere when he said that a person would be willing to kill themselves for around $900 in benefits every month from the government.
As soon as I heard him proclaim this, I knew that it wasn’t the whole story. So I Googled it and I found that while the study did come from the World Health Organization, it was modified and eventually retracted a few days later. There is no epidemic of self-inflicted HIV infections in order to get money. Aside from a few isolated cases, HIV infections are still unintentional and always devastating for the person and their family.
My mother informed me that Rush issued his own correction a few days later about the entire thing. What he didn’t retract was his condemnation of poor people and his complete willingness to believe that people would gladly kill themselves just to leach off of the government. But why would he? In his mind, the facts were wrong, not his method of interpreting them.
If you want to assist Greece, just a little, buy Greek products at local stores and help stimulate their economy. There isn’t much outsiders can do since the government is in such disarray, but supporting Greek exports can only help. Right now Greece doesn’t need the scorn of a rich, white man willing to claim that an entire people are making themselves sick in order to get money. They need real support and compassion from people who know better.