Hubert’s Test

Hubert H. Humphrey, the 38th vice president of our increasingly un-United States, believed some crazy things. One of them was that the moral test of

Hubert H. Humphrey

government was in how it treated the children, the elderly, the sick, the needy and the disabled.

He thought that’s where the discussion should start—that it should be our one untouchable premise. That every decision should be seen through a prism of responsibility for the young, old and weak among us. That the defenseless should be defended.

Silly, naïve Hubert. What a total wacko.

I don’t much care who won the debt ceiling debate or who lost, who gained political advantage or who committed political suicide. We can argue forever about economic theory and budgets and blame. We can revel in and hide behind every philosophical abstraction. But meanwhile, real people are going to be hurt. Badly.

That’s what happens when our foundation is eroded, when our moral responsibility for the vulnerable becomes just another expendable nicety—like a space mission, missile system or bridge to nowhere.

As a nation, we’re taking Hubert’s Test—and failing miserably.

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