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.

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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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

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