America’s Soul Sellouts

This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.

The New York Sun

It’s now possible to compare some Americans with those Italians and Germans who fell under the spell of the evil tyrants Mussolini and Hitler in the 1930s. Selling one’s soul is usually a last-ditch act made out of desperation and hunger, so how does one explain why so many comfortable, well-fed Americans barter whatever integrity and character they possess?

Anyone who finds that grim analysis hard to swallow must take a hard look at the past week to recognize that Americans can be bribed into accepting the most vile, evil, and corrupt individuals into their midst. Consider how Rep. Charles Rangel wimped out in his editorial letter to the Daily News condemning President Chavez’s “devil” attack on President Bush at the United Nations. He claimed he was outraged, but he just had to add: “By offering discounted fuel oil in the winter to provide warmth to people in need, Venezuela has won many friends in low-income communities of New York and other states. As long as U.S. companies buy oil from Venezuela without offering any program to reduce its price for the poor, I will be grateful for the generosity of the government of Venezuela.”

Why, congressman, didn’t you tell Mr. Chavez where he could put his discounted oil? Exactly how do the poor, who don’t own buildings or cars, benefit from cheap oil? Mr. Rangel must think poor communities have as little integrity as some New Jersey residents.

All last week, a former New Jersey governor, James McGreevey was touting his sex memoir, whining and moaning about how difficult it was to hide his homosexuality while selling out his state’s homeland security; allowing corruption to run rampart; cheating on his wife, and sexually assaulting a state employee.But that didn’t stop someone from posting on an Internet forum that Mr. McGreevey had saved him a lot of money by reforming the state’s insurance laws. Ka-ching!

The latest polls show a rise in President Bush’s approval rating. Is this because Americans are finally waking up to the danger we face from a fanatical enemy? No, folks, it’s because gas prices are going down.

We sure are a different species from the valiant people who developed this nation. We’re too attached to creature comforts, and so afraid of the wolf at the door that we seem to have lost the will to fight him.

As President Clinton angrily defends his administration’s record on terrorism and he astonishingly tries to compare Mr. Bush’s eight months before the September 11 attacks against his eight years in office, his defenders wax nostalgic about how good a president Mr. Clinton was. Why, I ask them? The economy was great, I’m told.

It’s Congress that passes legislation that affects the economy, and in 1993 and 1994, when Mr. Clinton had a Democrat Congress, the first thing he did was gut the military. His wife tried to ram socialism down our throats. His first two years were an economic disaster, and the best thing he did as president was sign onto the Republicans’ 1995 Contract with America. The balanced budget, welfare reform, and tax cuts brought on the boom, but why bother explaining that? The Clinton legacy has assumed mythic proportions because it is based solely on hype, not facts.

The soul sellouts exist in both parties, where politicians spend half their terms getting pork for their districts in exchange for funds to campaign in the second half. Show them the money — and it doesn’t make any difference who you are or what kind of person you are.

Bribing the American people has become so routine that our mayor is now proposing a plan to reward the poor just for making healthy choices and everybody thinks it’s a good idea. Would I still be stuck in the barrio if the government had paid my mother cash for taking me to the doctor to get shots? The idea is totally ludicrous, and indicates a denial of the root causes of poverty. Poverty isn’t synonymous with poor values except when the poor are crippled by schemes that enable dependency by stifling ambition.

Have we really lost our ability to recognize evil when it’s cloaked in a dollar bill with an offer you just can’t refuse? Mayor Giuliani booted terrorist chief Yasser Arafat from Lincoln Center, and yet Arafat was always greeted warmly in the Clinton White House. Governor Romney refused state protection for the ex-Iranian president who once called for the destruction of Israel. The academics at Harvard who invited Mohammed Khatemi; the Chavez-cheering crowd that included Danny Glover, Charles Barron, and Cornel West, and Mr. Rangel could use a tutorial from these gentlemen in how to identify tyrants, terrorists, and dictators.

Call it Soul-Searching 101.

The New York Sun

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