The GOP’s latest memo on how to be empathetic about unemployed people got me to thinking. (More)

Midday Matinee is our people watching, people doing and people being feature. Join the Woodland Creatures for an afternoon break.

I was fortunate to raise my two kids in a great neighborhood. One neighbor Pat was a nurse and the mother of four great teenagers. When we needed a babysitter the odds were that one of her kids would be available. She was who I called when my oldest was a year old and cracked his head on the bathtub. She correctly predicted the number of stitches he would require and drove me to the ER.

Fast forward to a neighborhood gathering held after we took all the kids out to sing carols for the neighbors before Christmas. My boys were 4 and 1+. The oldest punched the youngest and Pat and I saw it. I told the oldest to “tell your brother you’re sorry. We don’t hit people.” The oldest gave a not at all heartfelt “I’m sorry” and they scampered off. No big deal.

Pat then said, “And that is how we teach our children to lie. He wasn’t one bit sorry.” I was shocked. I was so shocked and can still picture exactly where we were sitting and recreate the whole party and the little incident in great detail in my mind. We talked about the natural empathy that kids have and how in the process of ‘civilizing them’ we teach them not to hit and to apologize when they do.

From the Washington Post link:

House Republicans are urged to be empathetic toward the unemployed and understand how unemployment is a “personal crisis” for individuals and families. The memo also asks Republicans to reiterate that the House will give “proper consideration” to an extension of long-term insurance as long as Democrats are willing to support spending or regulatory reforms.

The House Republicans are punching the unemployed and they are not one bit sorry. They are also not 4 years old even though they may act like it. The phrasing of “personal crisis” seems to make the persons responsible for their individual situations and ignores the entire economic and policy structures that created the crisis. The GOP owns the harshest policy proscriptions that created this crisis. Perhaps instead of a backhanded ‘sorry but it’s your fault’ they ought to look in the mirror.