GOP: Bob Cratchit’s Already Got A J-O-B So No Free Stimulus Turkeys This Christmas
Republicans in Congress continue to block any reasonable aid for struggling Americans during a pandemic. It's as if they are physically incapable of passing a bill that helps anyone who's not rich without also tossing in some cursed frogurt.
House Rep. Jim Jordan went full, pre-redeemed Scrooge Friday, declaring on Twitter that the best stimmy is — wait for it — a JOB.
Robyn already explained why this is bullshit, but I'll repeat it louder for the assholes in back: There aren't enough jobs for everyone. The national unemployment rate is 6.7 percent. COVID-19 has devastated entire industries, including restaurants and live entertainment. But Jordan is all “you got to have a J-O-B if you wanna be with me."
Retail sales also fell for the second straight month in November, which includes the sacred American holiday, Black Friday. At least a sensible Scrooge would understand that getting cash in people's hands during the annual solstice-timed celebration of consumerism would stimulate the economy and create jobs.
Jordan is also like that Spider-Man pointing at himself gif. He thinks the real Scrooges are the medical experts and Democratic politicians who advise Americans against traveling during the holidays and spreading good cheer spiked with coronavirus to everyone they meet.
Public health measures intended to keep people alive through New Year's are just another battle in the imaginary, non-existent "War on Christmas" that Jordan and other Republicans whine about every damn year. But what does Christmas even mean to Ebenezer Jordan?
Jordan seems too dumb to have ever read A Christmas Carol, but he's probably at least seen the Muppet version. Scrooge's problem isn't that he refuses to say “Merry Christmas." No, as Charles Dickens writes, Scrooge is a "squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!" He refuses his nephew Fred's invitation to Christmas dinner, but that's probably for the best because at this point, he's like your obnoxious rightwing uncle who annoys everyone with his presence. He'd just rant about the liberals who tried to guilt him into donating to charity.
Scrooge, like Jordan, has nothing but contempt for anyone who's not wealthy. He considers poverty a character flaw and believes it's enough that his tax dollars already fund social programs for lazy people. (Of course, Republicans will donate even more to politicians who promise to reduce their “tax burden" and cut most of these programs to the bone.) Even Americans with jobs are struggling this year, and robust stimulus checks could could keep people from losing their homes or even just brighten the holidays after a dismal year.
"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the Poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time. Many thousands are in want of common necessaries; hundreds of thousands are in want of common comforts, sir."
Are there no prisons?" asked Scrooge.
"Plenty of prisons," said the gentleman, laying down the pen again.
"And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"
"They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I could say they were not."
"The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?" said Scrooge.
"Both very busy, sir."
"Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course," said Scrooge. "I'm very glad to hear it."
"Under the impression that they scarcely furnish Christian cheer of mind or body to the multitude," returned the gentleman, "a few of us are endeavouring to raise a fund to buy the Poor some meat and drink, and means of warmth. We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices. What shall I put you down for?"
"Nothing!" Scrooge replied.
"You wish to be anonymous?"
"I wish to be left alone," said Scrooge. "Since you ask me what I wish, gentlemen, that is my answer. I don't make merry myself at Christmas and I can't afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned—they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there."
"Many can't go there; and many would rather die."
"If they would rather die," said Scrooge, "they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.
Later, when Scrooge asks the Ghost of Christmas Present if Tiny Tim will live, his cruel words are thrown back at him. Scrooge is not a modern conservative, because he's capable of shame. Today's Republican would not accept any responsibility for Tiny Tim's fate. It's Bob Cratchit's fault that he can't provide decent health care for his son. Why should Scrooge double Cratchit's salary if the market doesn't demand it? Why should Scrooge send the Cratchits a huge turkey when a middle class family was stuck with a normal sized one? Those ghosts were a bunch of socialists.
In the 1984 version of A Christmas Carol starring George C. Scott (my favorite next to the Susan Lucci one from 1995), Scrooge is confronted by homeless families, huddling together over a pitiful fire. He wonders, “What does this have to do with me?" and the Ghost of Christmas Present shouts, “Are they not of the human race?"
Republicans such as Jordan can only celebrate Christmas as another means for the “in group" to lord it over anyone who worships differently. They don't consider it a season for compassion. However, this year, more than ever, we need to beware of “ignorance and want." Republicans will happily stuff both in our stockings.
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Stephen Robinson is a writer and social kibbitzer based in Portland, Oregon. He's on the board of the Portland Playhouse theater and writes for the immersive theater Cafe Nordo in Seattle. Tickets are on sale now for his latest Nordo collaboration, "Curiouser and Curiouser," an adaptation of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" and "Through the Looking Glass." It promises to feel like an actual evening with SER (for good or for ill).