By now you’ve almost certainly seen part or all of the video of Mitt Romney uttering his now famous “47 percent” comments before a crowd of major GOP campaign donors. The New York Times published a transcript in today’s edition.
There really aren’t a lot of surprises, although Romney certainly sounds crass when he is among friends.
Reporters and “fact checkers” jumped on Mitt’s comment that 47 percent of Americans “pay no income tax” and are dependent on the government.
He also expressed righteous indignation at the crazy ideas of “those people” who think they have a right to food, housing, health care, and “you-name-it”.
Mitt and his high-roller Republican friends may think the idea of a right to food, housing, and health care is off-the-scale crazy, but these rights were among those accepted by the international community, with the full backing of the United States, more than 60 years ago.
Mitt, let me introduce you to “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is generally agreed to be the foundation of international human rights law. Adopted in 1948, the UDHR has inspired a rich body of legally binding international human rights treaties. It continues to be an inspiration to us all whether in addressing injustices, in times of conflicts, in societies suffering repression, and in our efforts towards achieving universal enjoyment of human rights.
It represents the universal recognition that basic rights and fundamental freedoms are inherent to all human beings, inalienable and equally applicable to everyone, and that every one of us is born free and equal in dignity and rights. Whatever our nationality, place of residence, gender, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, language, or any other status, the international community on December 10 1948 made a commitment to upholding dignity and justice for all of us.
For Mitt’s edification, and that of all the reporters and fact-checkers, here’s a part of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.
That’s among the standards the United States was instrumental in establishing on the international stage. Romney needs to be called to account on his casual rejection of these human rights.