Dorothy Dimitre

“When men are most sure and arrogant, they commonly are the most mistaken.” — David Hume.

While reading “Time” magazine a while back I came upon the following: “Don’t blame Wall Street. Don’t blame the big banks. If you don’t have a job and you’re not rich, blame yourself.” — Herman Cain.

Outrageous! It’s hard to fathom that anyone in this day and age would believe this. Would you believe that anyone could be so estranged from reality and so lacking in empathy? What does this mindset indicate? It’s a person who has no concern for those less fortunate because, in his arrogance, he doesn’t see how there are others who cannot “make it” for any number of reasons. 

Cain apparently thinks that those who are wealthy (including himself) have made it entirely on their own and that their good fortune has come entirely from their own effort. Does he believe that no luck was involved — not even the place of birth and the care by his parents? Doesn’t this demonstrate a disturbing lack of rationality? Doesn’t he realize that everyone cannot be rich? Isn’t he aware of the fact that, for any number of reasons, many people do not have the mentality, the ability, the stability, the support and, yes, the luck, to qualify for a high-paying career or to even hold down a job? 

Isn’t the above statement his way to feed his ego and the feeling he is superior to those he looks down upon? Is it his way of justifying his need to hang onto his wealth because he believes that those slackers don’t deserve better? It makes you wonder if conservatives like him, who so adamantly oppose any tax cuts for the wealthy, were to be told that the extra taxes they would be required to pay would be used to help the homeless and hungry, if they would agree to it?

We should ask Mr. Cain where all the jobs are for those who he says should blame themselves for their dilemma. What does he propose should be done about those who, for any number of reasons, fail to pull themselves up by their boot straps? Let them suffer and rot? Or maybe the wealthy could use some of their money to hire more police to deal with the crime that would surely increase. Has he ever heard: “There, but for the grace of God, go I?” Or how about the one that tells us that a rich man getting into heaven is about as likely as a camel getting through the eye of a needle?

Mr. Cain, or his ilk, should never be elected to any political office. A person void of empathy, who has no feeling for others, including those who lose their jobs and/or their homes because of the state of the American economy, is a person who is so obsessed with himself and his dogma, should not be involved in the government of a democratic nation. 

“Governments that claim to be democratic yet do not address systemic poverty promote a spectrum of cognitive, emotional, behavioral and interpersonal difficulties. As the gulf between the socially marginalized increases the situation becomes ripe for a dogmatic, authoritarian leader to offer simplistic solutions that further deepen the gulf on both sides and fan the smoldering psychological deficiencies that ignite dogmatism.” — Judy J. Johnson, “So What’s So Wrong About Being Absolutely Right?”

Unfortunately, the belief of many conservatives is that if you live in the United States of America (“the land of opportunity”) you can become wealthy if you just work hard enough. Mr. Cain’s despicable words underlie many Republican’s refusal to even consider any tax increases for the wealthy. Their mental sclerosis is so ingrained that they can’t see beyond their deep-seated prejudices and their belief that they are superior and therefore can do no wrong. As Johnson added: “As long as traditions value dogmatic belief systems that reflect an attitude of ‘me’ rather than ‘we,’ and ‘us’ versus ‘them,’ we diminish our humanity.” 

Government programs are essential to help the poor and unfortunate. Private organizations and services can in no way handle it all. And, of course, those like Cain wouldn’t contribute to such organizations. Could he even imagine a grimy, hungry, homeless child who has been separated from his parents at the border looking up at him with sad, pleading eyes? Or is there absolutely no place in his heart for compassion? He would no doubt say that the child should just tell her dad to get a job. Pathetically, this kind of mentality could contribute greatly to turning this country into a Third World type nation. 

“A man’s most valuable trait is a judicious sense of what not to believe.” — Euripides.

Since 1984, Dorothy Dimitre has written more than 1,000 columns for various local newspapers. Her email address is gramsd@aceweb.com.

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