The Sorry State of Liberal Compassion

The famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill that, "If you're not liberal at 20, you have no heart...if you're not conservative by 30, you have no brain," may need some tweaking given the recent antics of the American left.  Having built the credibility of their political movement on the grounds of compassion and empathy, their actions and policy proposals are reflective of just the opposite.

Start with my home state of Indiana, whose Republican legislature and governor enacted a law to prohibit taxpayer dollars from flowing into the hands of any health clinic that performs abortions.  Through entirely predictable demagoguery, the bleeding hearts of the left pounced on this action as an irresponsible assault on legitimate health services like cancer screenings and mammograms.  Where else will poor families turn for their healthcare, they asked, as they painted the picture of the impoverished dying in the streets due to an unprovoked conservative attack on choice.

Of course, beyond the reckless sensationalism, the fact remains that those tax dollars are still funding responsible family clinics that provide those essential services.  They are only being denied to the ones who use the family planning cloak to shroud the evil butchery of abortion that appears at the top of their menu.

Nevertheless, with the stage set, Barack Obama waded into the fray with the trademark political thuggery he once used to brow-beat Arizonans over their immigration policy.  This time, showing the extent to which he is beholden to the abortion lobby, Obama has threatened to deny Indiana its federal Medicaid dollars if Hoosiers don't capitulate to his demands and restore Planned Parenthood's blood money.

Do you notice the irony?  The left accuses the right of lacking compassion by playing politics with the health services of poor people.  This while their grand leader threatens to cut off the health funding for Indiana's poor people over politics!  Apparently the highly vaunted liberal empathy for the impoverished is only reliable until it can be leveraged and exchanged for more dead children.  But hey, everyone's got to have priorities.

For an even more personal view of the left's true compassion, pay attention the next time you fill up your gas tank.  You will inevitably encounter the same heartbreaking scene I recently did.  Standing at the pump, a disheveled looking man in an old Chevy Cavalier pulled up next to me, looking at the balance ledger of his checkbook as he got out of his car.  Shaking his head, he wrote a check, walked in, paid the cashier, returned, filled up, and left before I had finished filling my own tank.  Out of curiosity, I glanced at his pump and saw he had only been able to pay $5...enough to buy him just over a gallon of gas.

Our leftist leadership can pretend that by telling us we are in an economic recovery, we will all be convinced that it's true.  But people aren't going to judge our economy by proclamations and press releases.  They will judge it by what they're living.  What happened to that man at the pump may be anecdotal, but real-life struggles like his are rippling throughout our economy and having devastating impacts not just on jobs, but on families.

While we sit on top of some of the world's largest fuel supplies, our leftist leadership keeps telling us that there's nothing we can do about the oil and gasoline situation.  If you ever wanted to know what the left's compassion really looked like, watch them continue lying about that as struggling Americans scrape up change to put a single gallon of gas in their car.

Remember, it is Barack Obama who implied he has no objections to $4 a gallon gasoline, as well as his energy secretary who has stated we should be paying double that amount.  After all, they tell us, such high prices will push us to more fuel efficient vehicles.  Here's a newsflash to the president: that man at the gas pump next to me won't be able to afford a hybrid anytime soon.

Maybe he can just bum a ride from rich liberals like the newly christened "Patriotic Millionaires," a club for wealthy progressives who want to keep their left-wing compassion credentials without having to actually show any.  These leftist fat cats just held a conference where they feigned compassion by demanding the government tax them more.  Not surprisingly, when asked by if any of them would be willing to get out their checkbooks and make a personal donation to the Treasury Department's contribution website to help pay down the national debt, they bristled.  One of the group's spokesmen, Dennis Mehiel, scoffed that such an idea was "preposterous on its face."

Of course it is.  Because to do so would actually cost them something, whereas going on TV and demanding you be taxed more (when you know you have perfected ways to dodge the IRS) gets you good publicity without actually hurting your bank account.

Given that this is the current state of liberal compassion, perhaps 20-year-olds with a heart should start shopping for a new ideology.

Peter is a public high school government teacher and radio talk show host in central Indiana.  E-mail, visit, or like him on Facebook.

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