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The Expansionist
Thursday, July 23, 2009
 
Why Not Single-Payer? I watched the Obama press conference tonite and was struck by what a bad job the press did in its questioning after the President's opening statement. Not one person asked so much as one question with the phrase "single-payer" in it. Why not? Why haven't the members of the so-called "Fourth Estate" — or, in American parlance, Fourth Branch — asked what the people want to know:
"Why are we playing stupid games reinventing the wheel? Why do we pursue a 12- or 15-sided polygon when we know about perfectly round wheels? Why are we working on a bastardized, half-assed, cowardly plan that is neither public nor private, neither for-profit nor public-service, but which tries to be everything to everyone? Why is it that every other industrialized country in the world can have a single-payer system — elegant in its simplicity, equitable in its comprehensiveness — but we can't? Isn't it obvious that our healthcare system costs so much ONLY because it has to make a profit for the rich who own essentially all medical companies?"
Why can't we ever do things right the first time? Why do we have to do something almost right but seriously wrong at first instance, then wait a few years until people accept that the worst they feared did not and would not ever happen, then try to enact what we should have enacted to begin with? How many Americans will DIE from the absolutely inexcusable defects of our current system, before an equitable healthcare system emerges in (as regards healthcare) this contemptibly backward country?
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The inexcusable, monstrous injustices of our current healthcare system are never punished. Every keen observer of human nature knows that if you do not punish bad behavior, you do not dissuade future such behavior. Not a single evil healthcare-insurance functionary or executive is ever punished with even a single day's jailtime, much less years in prison, flogging, amputation, or death, as they so richly deserve. Who is going to learn any useful lesson when no punishment is ever inflicted? The lesson our current pussyboy reactions produce teach one thing plainly: you can abuse anyone, economically, and never be punished with any meaningful severity. So why NOT f*k the helpless?
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When I was young, the United States was a wonderful country. We weren't perfect — we had segregation in the South, violent antihomosexual bigotry, and a wide range of social inequities of many sorts. But we also KNEW we weren't perfect, but still felt we could FIX all the problems, correct ALL the social wrongs, and become the lite unto the world that we were meant to be. Never for an instant did we think that the very idea that we were to be a lite unto the world, an alabaster city on a hill, was ridiculous arrogance. We always understood that we were 200 feet from the summit of a very high hill, but were inexorably on our way up, not to be stopped.
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All of that has ended. The Radical Right says we have fallen, as regards our aspirations, due to moral relativism and multiculturalism that says we dare not look down our noses at other countries, no matter how antidemocratic they may be, because we're not perfect. The (non-Radical) 'Right' says we don't have to be perfect, only devoted to being very good. Perfection is not within human reach.
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Quite so: perfection is not within human reach. But must everything the United States actually 'achieves' end up being a terrible disappointment? I am very tired of being embarrassed at how backward we are as against other major countries, and even Canada (not a major country, but a member in very good standing of the industrialized world). Why isn't every single person, of every political persuasion, embarrassed to the point of a chill of humiliation running up their spine or a flood of blood rushing to their face, causing beet-red blushing, by our political inability to do what Canada — a nothing little country — and Britain, our new best friend, can do easily, without so much as the tiniest trace of sweat or economic distress? (Britain replaced Canada as our best friend in 2003, when Canada sensibly did not sign on to an inexcusably wicked attack upon Iraq, a country that never attacked us. Canada and American Liberals were right about Iraq; Bush and American Radical Rightwingers were wrong. But no one has apologized to Canada for the Bushies' bumping it from the status of Best Friend to, instead, Generic Foreign Country, just one of 193 countries on the planet.)
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It is humiliating to have to admit that nothing little Canada has a healthcare system ten times as good as ours. Appalling, disgusting, but undeniable. Canadians — poorer than we are — were able to institute a universal healthcare system that puts us to shame and makes us look like the most cold-hearted, STUPID bunch of losers on the planet. The 'people' who want to keep us from having the kind of single-payer, WONDERFUL healthcare system Canada has (as has Britain, and France, and Germany, and Japan ...) are mostly from the South, that appallingly benited albatross around our national neck. And the typical Southerner desperately needs universal, free healthcare!
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Millions of Americans are needlessly crippled, tens or even hundreds of thousands are DEAD, because of the healthcare "system" — ha! it is to laff! — in place in the United States today. A hundred years from now, kids in grade school will be ashamed that we allowed poor and middle-class people to DIE because the for-profit insurance companies that dominate the landscape today didn't want to spend the money to keep them alive. Future kids will be HUMILIATED to the point of tears to have to admit that MILLIONS of Americans die or walk with crutches or are confined to wheelchairs for life only because they cannot get the brilliant healthcare that Americans largely INVENTED. Future children will be able to go on with their lives only by disowning us, by saying, "I had nothing to do with that, and wouldn't have had anything to do with that. It happened long before I was born."
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How about us? How do WE face our GUILT in the death or permanent crippling of millions?
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Let's do an experiment. Do you have PostIts in your house, those wonderful little stick-it notepapers of varying sizes that 3M took years to develop? If so, take ONE on which the following words will fit, and write: "We let people die because they don't have money for healthcare or even health insurance." Put that PostIt on the mirror you shave in or apply makeup in. Read it every day, and ask if that is something you can accept morally.
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If it is not, REBEL. Do whatever it takes to END that evil, that unspeakably vile crime against humanity. If it means you demonstrate in the streets four times a month, even spending your own cash to buy a spot on a bus to Washington, DO IT. If it means you write your member of Congress and both Senators, DO IT. And, at end, if nothing else works, ask yourself if assassination is the only way to effect the changes we absolutely need, and if you are the person to save us from the people who are perfectly happy to have the poor and middle class die from things the rich survive.
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(The current U.S. military death toll in Iraq, according to the website "Iraq Coalition Casualties", is 4,327 — for Israel.)



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