Thursday, October 15, 2009

Land of the Lost

Why does the discussion on health care reform keep turning back to a financial discussion instead of a discussion about the "right thing" for everyone? It's becoming increasingly apparent to me that what makes America so very different from other countries is the priority that money takes over all else. Personal wealth trumps everything. It does so much, that if you try to tell an American they will make a few dollars less a year for the need for another's life to be saved, they won't give it up--they just don't care what happens to anyone else if a dime is coming out of theri pocket. Most Americans are so blinded by fulfilling their need for personal wealth that they can't see that they're actually just passing the wealth through their own hands to a corporate power who will take control and pat them on the head and make them think they are in control. Just like they've been made to believe they are safer because we're fighting Al Qaeda "over there" instead of "here".

I think, as a society, we've largely lost the concept of humanity and human dignity and really caring about others. Putting the health care reform argument in terms of whether or not people are dying makes little or no impression with so many people who've been so indoctrinated. Conversely, putting it in terms of what it means to their individual bottom lines is the whole game for them. Add to that, telling them that a few years down the road it will impact them financially because of uncontrolled costs is almost meaningless because most of them don't ever drive past the hood ornament on their car right. It's all about immediate gratification (which is why we are a society dependent on our credit cards, but that's another story entirely).

I remember when my former employer ordered mandatory furloughs for management level employees (during the tech downturn in 2000). My manager went to Trinidad to visit his parents, and extended family for 2 weeks. His children were in school so his wife stayed here in America with them.

Upon his return, he said the hardest thing he ever did in his life was come back. He said if his family had gone with him he might not have ever returned. He realized that his friends and family back home were not wealthy and did not have lots of "stuff" but they went to work in the morning, had time for lunch away from work, and went home in the evening and sat on the porch with their children and enjoyed life. They didn't have diabetes and high blood pressure and heart conditions because they didn't have the stress, pressure, diet and general living conditions that we do here.

I took a trip to the UK earlier this month, and it reinforced this observation for me. I realized that what my British spouse has been saying all along (about the morality of not having health care available to everyone being inhuman and unfathomable) is something that people in other countries are expressing as they hear about the "discussion" here. I made a habit of bringing up the subject wherever I went and the Brits were unanimously and utterly astonished when I told them what the situation is here and how the "discussion" is going. Not one person I spoke to there could fathom not having health care available to all--and having it entirely financed by the government. That includes wealthy, poor, retired, young and hold -- hard working, doctors, lawyers, artists, tailors and teachers, housewives, shopkeepers, publicans--professionals and laborers.

America has many advantages over many countries in the world--that's why most of us choose to stay, and why some of us chose to come here in spite of our birth and citizenship elsewhere. What we lack as a country, however, is becoming more and more apparent. We really are a nation of cowboys and gunslingers. It saddens me to see that with the tremendous resources (human and natural) and freedoms we have that we are so stunted by the selfish adolescent attitude.

In America we no longer believe in the concepts that our forefathers so carefully crafted into our constitution. We've become a frontier society again and the big landowners own the sheriff and the posse, and have become the judge, jury and executioner. America is no longer the land of opportunity and freedom and the people who keep shouting it is the loudest are simply the pawns and mouthpieces of those who rule. It makes sense. We've been conditioned. We know that money is power so we'll stop at nothing to get it.

Sadly, most of us are just pawns in the great scheme of things and in spite of all of our clawing and scraping, we just keep channeling the money to those who don't need more. But we continue to claw and scrape--right over the backs of others.


Blogger Ronni said...

AMEN, Ms Goddard!

8:19 PM  
Anonymous R J Adams said...

Thank you for your comment on Sparrow Chat. I really don't have much to add to your own writing. You've covered the matter succinctly and I agree with everything you say. Americans have been too insular for too long. Most have no idea what goes on outside their borders and still regard Europe as somewhat 'quaint'. In fact, Europe has been leaving America behind technologically for some years and the quality of life in Britain and France, for example, is much superior for most of the population. America seems to focus primarily on screwing Americans. As you rightly point out, the greenback is the only true God.
It's sad that so many of this nation's citizens have been brainwashed into believing 'socialism' and 'communism' are one and the same.

7:01 PM  
Blogger Mary K. Goddard said...

Thank you for the kinds words, RJ, and for stopping by. Look forward to continuing the exchange of ideas--really enjoy what I've read on Sparrow Chat so far. A friend introduced me to it a couple of weeks ago.


12:50 AM  

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