Another Bachmann Gem: You Don’t Work, You Don’t Eat.

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Remember when:

“Yesterday morning during a speech at the Family Research Council in Washington, Michele Bachmann bashed the unemployed in perhaps the most heartless way possible. After vowing to weaken social safety net programs such as Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, and unemployment benefits, Bachmann said that if you are currently not working, you should not be eating.

“Our nation needs to stop doing for people what they can and should do for themselves. Self reliance means, if anyone will not work, neither should he eat.”

First of all, why would anyone be surprised she would say this at the Family Research Council? And secondly, why would anyone expect anything different coming from the mouth of the weirdest politician in DC?

She doesn’t worry me. But the 33 percent of the population in the US who agree with her are another matter.

What’s missing in that 33 percent, Ms. Bachmann and the FRC, is human empathy. In its place, they’re convinced their disdain for the poor is a form of righteous anger. And we all know, righteous anger is justified when  God’s intentions are being violated. (In case you didn’t know, these folks have an inside line on how to interpret the Big Man’s intentions.)

Anger, righteous or not, covers up other feelings; the tip of the iceberg, so to speak. Down deeper we find apathy: The opposite of empathy.

From the website pleasure & pain by Whitney Hess, “by definition, empathy is the opposite of apathy. Empathy is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Apathy is defined as “a lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

To have the most possible empathy (and therefore the least possible apathy) can then be described as feeling the feelings of another with the greatest accuracy and effort. On the other hand, to have the most possible apathy (and the least possible empathy) is to have no accuracy in feeling the feelings of another — to simply not try at all.”

Well I know quite a few folks in the 33 percent. I read lots of stuff about the FRC and Ms. Bachmann and I’m convinced that they are so far away from the plight of people caught in cycles of poverty, joblessness, lack of education, they can’t possibly have empathy. Because empathy increases when we engage with others in a way that allows us to see their true conditions and not just read and hear about them from carefully selected sources screened to reflect our point of view.

Ms. Hess also points out that empathy and apathy are contagious. So the FRC, the 33 percent and Ms. Bachmann are in a mutually infectious bubble of self righteousness.

Apathy is unforgivable when draped in religious clothing. A complete lack of concern for our fellow human beings, hidden in religious pontifications, is a low point in religio-political rhetoric. And religio-political rhetoric has already reached its lowest point in years.

Knowing that Ms. Bachmann will not be running for another term, could it be that her low point is as low as we go? Or will there be another Tea Party Republican to take it lower?

I vote for the latter.

Robert De Filippis