Leo W. Gerard
Last week, in an example of what makes America beautiful, several strangers rushed to the aid of a New York City construction worker trapped in a burning fifth-floor apartment. The rescuers hoisted a ladder up a fire escape and extended it to the smoky windowsill where the victim clung.
One of the rookie rescuers risked his life clambering across the ladder-bridge four stories high and grabbing the victim as he dropped from the window.
A group of unrelated men cooperated to save the life of a fellow human. That is the best of America. That is what Americans aspire to be - participants in a human community that works together to benefit all, to advance everyone. But the American ideal of brotherhood from sea to shining sea is under attack.
A cult of the selfish relentlessly assails the value of American community. And now, the cult's cruel campaign of civic meanness is achieving tragic victories. Just last week, for example, it succeeded in getting a bill passed in the U.S. House of Representatives that would slash funding for food stamps by $40 billion - taking milk from the mouths of millions of babes in the richest country in the world. Also, it secured passage of a bill in the House that would de-fund the Affordable Care Act, thus denying health care - and in some cases life itself - to millions of uninsured Americans.
Denying food to the hungry, chemo to the cancer-stricken? That is not American. That is what ruthless dictators do. That is the stuff of Kim Jong-il. That is not how Americans treat each other.