Sunday, October 4, 2009

Telling It Like It Is

Your house is on fire. Everything you own and cherish is quickly going up in smoke. The local privately owned fire control company, "Fire Fighters Inc." rushes to the rescue and begins to deploy their equipment, when a representative asks for your financial information before they can get to work. You have lousy credit, little in the bank, and your Visa card is maxed out. They tell you they're very sorry, but they will be unable to provide service at this time, and they let your house burn.
Your driving cross country to see granny and need to take $10,000 with you to pay for the tolls on all of the privately owned roads and highways on the way.
The country is paralyzed by an epidemic of swine flu that caught the nation unprepared as there are no agencies like the CDC to predict such emergencies.
You get sick from the water you drink and the food you eat on a regular basis because there is no Food and Drug Administration to look out for consumers, and no Environmental Protection Agency to stop major polluters from poisoning our environment.
We never went to the moon because there was no money to be made by doing so.
We are all tremendously stupid, like a nation of village idiots, because we could not afford to pay to go to school from kindergarten through high school.
Your getting up in years and soon will no longer be able to work, and fear destitution and poverty as there is no Social Security to help those who have worked throughout their lives and can no longer do so.
Legions of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis), take over our cities as there is no National Park Service, no police, or animal control services to keep them in line.
Sound far fetched? No, it actually sounds pretty scarey to me, but that is the world the Republicans would have us living in if they could, where private industry provides for all of our needs (for a price), the market rules, and money is God.
President Bush wanted to privatize Social Security by placing those funds collected in payroll taxes directly in the hands of Wall Street, in the form of individual retirement accounts, creating a fake social security crisis on order to scare the public into believing this change was necessary. Wall Street, you may recall, are the very ones responsible for the current, and past, economic downturns, depressions and recessions. Just what would have happened to our seniors now if he had been successful?
Business exists to make profit. That is their one and only goal. There are certain instances and services that are vital to national security and interests that do not lend themselves to the for profit model, such as those listed above: Fire prevention and control, the national highway system, disease prevention, forecasting and control, regulation of the food and drug supply, environmental concerns, the space program, the public school system, Social Security (by the way, Social Security wouldn't be facing any shortages if politicians did not raid its funds for other programs), and grizzly monitoring.
For profit health insurance falls into this category as well, because the only way for health insurers to make a profit is to deny coverage to those who need it. They do this in a variety of ways, canceling the policies when the insured get sick, deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, deny coverage for "experimental treatments," when they aren't experimental, but firmly established practices, etc. There are no real good reasons for the health insurance industry to exist, as they do not provide any health care themselves. They are the middle men, those who decide if you live or die according to their rules, which again, are profit orientated. Thus the current efforts of the Obama administration to reform the national health care system.
Yet the Republicans in Congress would see this effort fail. Why? They don't want anything President Obama does to succeed, due to purely political reasons. They are also the party of big business, actually the political arm of industry, and have never sided with the common good over the interests of corporations.
And they will say and do anything to scare the American public into disregarding their own best interests, such as:
– “Last week Democrats released a health care bill which essentially said to America’s seniors: Drop dead.” [Rep. Finny Brown-Waite (R-FL), 7/21/09]
– “They’re going to save money by rationing care, getting you in a long line. Places like Canada, United Kingdom, and Europe. People die when they’re in line.” [Rep. Steve King (R-IA), 7/15/09]
– “The Republican plan will] make sure we bring down the cost of health care for all Americans and that ensures affordable access for all Americans and is pro-life because it will not put seniors in a position of being put to death by their government.” [Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), 7/28/09]
– “That’s exactly what’s going on in Canada and Great Britain today…and a lot of people are going to die.” [Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA), 7/10/09]
– “One in five people have to die because they went to socialized medicine! … I would hate to think that among five women, one of ‘em is gonna die because we go to socialized care.” [Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), 7/
They are unconscionable in their efforts, would continue to deny help to the 45,000 who die each year due to lack of health insurance and care, and provide no solutions to the problems that even they admit exist. Yet they seem to get their feelings hurt rather easily when someone in a rare display of gumption and honesty calls them out.
Last Wednesday night, Representative Alan Grayson of Florida, a Democrat, said this from the floor of the House of Representatives: "It's my duty and pride tonight to be able to announce exactly what the Republicans plan to do for health care in America. Here it is. The Republican health care plan for America: 'don't get sick.' If you have insurance don't get sick, if you don't have insurance, don't get sick; if you're sick, don't get sick. ... If you do get sick America, the Republican health care plan is this: 'die quickly.'"
What he said is fundamentally the truth, yet the Republicans were outraged that someone had the guts to say it and demanded an apology. And they got one.
"I apologize to the dead and their families that we haven't voted sooner," he later said.
Representative Grayson has become something of a media darling on left wing radio and television news programs, such as The Rachel Maddow Show, and the Ed Schultz program, and has been vilified by the right for essentially telling it like it is, very unlike his mild mannered colleagues.
I have to admit he's become my new hero as well, and call on the rest of the Democrats in Congress to follow his brave example.

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