Pseudo social justice - Not in my name
In the political arena, it looks as if it is the same the world all over. The biggest shock in US electoral history has started to sink in.
One hopes that President-elect Donald Trump’s distasteful political rhetoric during the electoral campaign will be withdrawn. To be fair, in his victory speech President-elect Trump claimed that, after all: “It is a movement comprised of Americans from all races, religions, backgrounds and beliefs, who want and expect our government to serve the people, and serve the people it will.” This is not exactly “build a wall and make Mexico pay for it”, “ban Muslims” and “deport undocumented immigrants from the United States.”
But this is not all. Trump found no difficulty in backtracking on his promise to repeal the Obama Health Care Plan that the billionaire Republican President-elect had, during the campaign, vowed to repeal. President Barack Obama’s national healthcare reform law had extended medical insurance to millions of Americans by expanding the Medical Aid plan for the poor and creating subsidised coverage for individuals.
It seems that the maxim of billionaires and millionaires is to give cash donations to the poor but then fail to pay their dues to the national coffers. The elite, and this includes local ones, seem to believe that the crumbs that fall from the lavish table is enough for those with no means to make ends meet at the end of the month.
The US presidency is primarily important for US citizens, but for peace of mind it is equally important to the rest of the world. Many around the globe look at the US leadership for security, prosperity, trade and commerce, and liberty, among others. Some look at US leadership with trepidation, and some contend the double standards of this super power.
But I’ll put aside the Presidentelect’s electoral victory for a moment, and will revisit after the first hundred days of Trump’s presidency.
With the Christmas season in the air, shop owners, particularly in prime shopping areas, have already decorated their shops with festive decorations. Christmas is associated with the birth of Jesus, which Christians around the world celebrate. Joyful carols, liturgies, wrapped gifts and sumptuous foods characterise the event. There are other ways to celebrate the birth of Jesus; some not necessarily in sync with His teaching, but celebrations just the same.
Here I delve into one parochial issue which has been bothering me for quite some time. During the Christmas season, many nicely-wrapped gifts are exchanged. Normally these are given to galvanise a relationship.
But then there are others waiting for our monetary tokens.
What strikes me as incongruous during the Christmas season is the fund-raising event which for the past years has been organised under the patronage of different Presidents of Malta. To ensure that I am not misunderstood, I fully acknowledge and applaud all the efforts put into all events organised by the current hardworking President of Malta Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, and the previous ones, to collect funds to ensure that the Community Chest Fund is able to assist in kind and/or in cash people facing unfortunate circumstances, mostly health related.
All Presidents, because of their wide experience of the electorate, have a strong grasp of the realities that people face on a daily basis. I know of their boundless efforts and endeavours in widening and solidifying the safety net for those most vulnerable during their tenure in office.
My concern arises from the fact that people with serious health tribulations also face financial hardship because, notwithstanding the wide and tightly-knit safety net which has been weaved by successive administrations, the most vulnerable do not fall necessarily within this safety net. After all, a safety net should not only assist the needy with the most fundamental requirements, but should act as a trampoline, putting people back on their feet.
The Community Chest Fund raises between €4,000,000 and €5,000,000 a year from the various events held and initiatives undertaken. When one considers the substantial amounts of monies squandered on commissioned reports that are shredded because of some conflict of interest, or because they are not worth the paper they are penned on, or for some other reason, one realises that we are penny wise but pound foolish. And then we leave the most vulnerable in our society to charity. People facing difficult circumstances should receive all the assistance required from the national coffers. It should be a citizen’s right to be assisted in times of need.
Time has come to reinforce social justice with action.
The Malta Independent Tuesday 15 November 2016