by Joshua Heath
My last article for the Gazette highlighted an utterly shocking aspect of Republican Congressional candidate Mike Garcia: his desire to replace the federal safety net and instead rely on private charity to help people.
During an interview with the Talk Of Santa Clarita, when explaining why he advocates such views like eliminating food stamps, he stated “ I think everyone should have to figure out how to fend for themselves”.
As I argued in the piece, such cruelty is utterly disqualifying for a serious Congressional candidate, be they Republican or Democrat. This truth is made devastatingly clear during our awful pandemic.
The heroes in America right now are not millionaire business executives like Garcia. No, it’s the very working and middle class folks—who rely on the safety net in order to get by—that this far-right candidate is desperate to screw.
Think of the employees at the local grocery store, risking their lives in order to ensure we are fed, the low-wage health care workers watching over our grandparents, the maids who clean our homes of virus, or the trash collectors who keep Santa Clarita clean.
These good citizens rely on food stamps to pay for dinner, housing subsidies to stay warm, federal aid to send their children to college, and public health insurance to avoid illness.
Mr. Garcia sees something wrong with this picture since they didn’t earn those benefits through wages. In his view, the free-market, not government, should be the arbiter of someone’s existence, even if they perform heroic work in our communities.
If an individual doesn’t make enough money to live with basic dignity, then that’s simply their own fault. Their suffering is not worth our concern. Now Garcia tries to cover up his mean spirited agenda by emphasizing charity, the notion that we can replace federal safety nets with volunteering and still take care of people
But this is fundamentally absurd, and a man of his intellect surely knows it. A world without compassionate government programs will cause much needless suffering, for as I pointed out in my previous piece:
“Charities have been around from the beginning to deal with our various social ills, from senior poverty to child hunger and help with college costs. In no instance were they able to provide the level of progress that the public sector has.
It took Social Security to award the elderly a semblance of a dignified retirement and Medicare to ensure their health expenses were paid for. Hunger was a serious crisis in American life, as Robert F. Kennedy discovered in his legendary trip to the Mississippi Delta. Then Food Stamps and other nutrition assistance policies were created and widespread, severe malnutrition became a thing of the past.”
America is a decent, big-hearted country. For generations, we’ve believed in a better approach than Garcia’s nonsense. We cannot let people “fend for themselves”, that is inhumane. The free-market doesn’t take into account one’s heroism, capacity for sacrifice, or courage. It measures simply the ability to make money, and as a result, leaves so many out in the cold.
We built a safety net to expand dignity to the millions of Americans markets forget, but who deserve our eternal gratitude. That group includes the very hard-working folks who are keeping our world running while the rest of us stay inside.
And it also includes Mr. Garcia, who as a war veteran, used the GI Bill to pay for his Georgetown degree and glide his way towards private sector success. He didn’t earn that education through making money, but because our nation believed he deserved it as a token of appreciation for his military service.
What kind of a person would reap the rewards of America’s kindness and then try to deny a safety net to citizens who are doing courageous deeds just as mighty as any soldier? No Republican President in history–not Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, or even Donald Trump–has ever put forward such a nasty agenda.
In this perilous moment for the world, its not the Wall Street Tycoons who are ensuring the sick get well, stores stay stocked with food, and communities remain clean. It’s our working and middle classes, who have such a hard time getting by themselves, performing these crucial jobs.
Whether you are Republican or Democrat, if you truly seek to honor the heroes of the Coronavirus, you cannot vote for Mike Garcia.