George Graham

A “Do-Gooder’s” Lament

You might think that most people would choose decency, fairness and compassion over skullduggery, oppression and injustice. But I wonder how true that is.

As I sit here this morning, the American Congress is deadlocked over such issues as extending aid to the unemployed and giving equal pay to women for doing the same work as men.

Obviously, a significant constituency exists for letting the jobless go hungry and female employees get shafted.

Also, the US Supreme Court has just made another ruling in favor of letting billionaires buy elections. And Florida’s legislature is in the process of giving the governor the right to pack the state supreme court with “conservatives.”

The Republican Party has come out as the political voice of white male dominance, shedding all pretense of concern for minorities (including women) and the working or middle class.  Yet the polls show the party is likely to keep the House and win back the Senate in November.

For some reason, Democrats don’t seem able to capitalize on the Republicans’ repugnant policies.

At the local level, the Democratic Party in my Central Florida district will be represented in November’s state House elections by an absurd perennial candidate for any and every office that comes open.  Of course he can’t win. But I guess I will have to hold my nose and vote for the guy. In my book, a bad Democrat is preferable to a good Republican (if such a creature exists).

To say the Democrats are in disarray is to be too kind. But why?

They are undoubtedly the party of fairness and decency. They undoubtedly speak for the working and middle classes. They undoubtedly stand up for women’s rights and voters’ rights and gay rights and civil rights… and all the other rights that Americans say they value.

Meanwhile Republicans are brazenly opportunistic and sleazy.Their policies unambiguously promote the enrichment of the rich and the oppression of the poor. And – in many cases –  their personalities and private lives are equally depressing. I just read about yet another “family values” politician who was caught on a surveillance camera making out with a married female staffer. And I bet voters in his home state of Louisiana will send him back to Congress – just as they did with Senator David Vitter.

Why do Republicans get elected and re-elected when the party’s policies are so defiantly devoid of decency, fairness and compassion? One reason might be the vast amount of money they have for their campaigns. But, surely, even the most unaware American voter knows enough of the truth to see through those slick TV commercials?

There has to be more to it than marketing.

I think the heart of the matter is that most Americans are getting by. Sure, the super-rich have plundered the nation. Sure the workers are being bilked. Sure, the poor and the sick and the old and the infirm are being left to suffer. Sure, women are being deprived of control of their bodies. And sure, they are getting underpaid. Sure, the jobless are losing their benefits, poor families are losing their food stamps, hungry kids are losing their school lunches and old folks are losing their Meals on Wheels. Sure, Medicare and Social Security are under attack…

But things aren’t bad enough to risk rocking the boat. Most Americans have jobs – such as they are. Most own a car, have somewhere to live, eat thee meals (and snacks) a day, buy video games for their kids…

And the rest? Let them eat cake, I guess.

Click for the “family values” story.

More on extension of jobless benefits

More on fair pay for women

More on Rick Scott and the court


About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for