STOCKBRIDGE

Why is Ted Cruz getting more air time than Pope Francis? It seems to me, that we should be hearing and heeding Pope Francis' words regarding consumerism and our obsessive focus on the wrong issues instead of being forced to watch nonsense like excerpts of Cruz's 21-hour Senate floor performance to stop health care reform every time we turned on the news last week.

Pope Francis gave a major speech to global leaders in May on the "dictatorship of the global financial system." "While the income of a minority is increasing exponentially," he said, "that of the majority is crumbling." This was his first major speech on finance and the economy, and although he assured his audience that he loved rich and poor alike, "The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal."

n

I don't know about you, but I don't remember seeing much about that speech in the papers or new shows. However, I did get to see Ted Cruz talk endlessly to protest funding for President Obama's health care legislation that will help some of the poor and hungry the pope mentioned.

Francis decried the evil of lobbyists, criticizing "Any type of lobby; business lobbies, political lobbies, Masonic lobbies." I am sure Cruz had lots of encouragement from health insurance lobbyists when he used up all the oxygen in the Senate to ensure that he got enough prime time coverage on Fox News. It was a little like a Jerry Lewis telethon to raise money to fight muscular dystrophy, except it was Ted Cruz, whose cause is much less altruistic. He was at the podium and on camera to raise money for the tea party and support from conservatives.

"This is not Gilbert and Sullivan," Democratic Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland pronounced about Cruz's tactics. "This is the real deal."

As an article in the Washington Post, explains, " If conservatives are successful, even with a short-term government shutdown Cruz and his House GOP allies might achieve, patients will suffer (www.thenation.com/blog/176325/defunding-gambit-will-hurt-patients-bo ehners-district). If young people fail to sign up for health insurance -- the stated goal of one Koch [Brothers]-backed front group now airing television advertisements -- more will drown under crushing debt if they find themselves in need of serious medical care. But Washington, D.C. has a bizarre way of incentivizing harmful behavior, and the sabotage Obamacare campaign is not without its winners." Among those winners -- Ted Cruz, the Tea Party, and the Koch brothers.

As well as the tea party. "A set of campaign consultants and insurance agents stand to profit from confusing Americans on the eve of the health care reform enrollment date." The Post article points out, "Some anti-health care reform activists are truly motivated by their convictions. But others stand to gain financially from making sure their fellow Americans have problems signing up for health insurance."

Last week, while Ted Cruz was performing on the Senate floor, the pope met with unemployed workers in Sardinia, and warned that "the cult of money was making life a misery for millions." I don't know about you, but I would much rather hear or read about Pope Francis talking about how "The world has become an idolater of this god called money," than listen to Ted Cruz read his bastardized version of Dr. Seuss's "Green Eggs and Ham."

n

Dr. Peter Dreier, a professor of politics at Occidental College offered, "Not only would [Seuss] be offended at the misuse of ‘Green Eggs and Ham,' but he'd be offended at almost everything that Ted Cruz stands for, which is to remove the safety net from poor people, poor and vulnerable people. He's clearly more power hungry than he is compassionate and he's a bully... ‘Green Eggs and Ham' is about trying new things and giving it a chance and being open to change, right? And here's Ted Cruz trying to stop Obamacare, really before it gets going.

Let's have a little more of the pope telling us to focus on how to help the poor and vulnerable, and a little less Ted Cruz telling us how to help Ted Cruz.

Michelle Gillett is a regular Eagle contributor.