I’ve grown more than a little tired over the past months with the talk about (rather, the fear of) socialism. Talk radio is replete with references to socialism virtually every 30 seconds, especially as it relates to President Barack Obama. First I am certainly no supporter of Obama. I want nothing more than to see him gone in 2012. And while I understand, to an extent, this neurosis, it ignores certain realities
Without further preamble, we live in country of 300 million people. There is massive poverty and the economic difference between “classes” has never been larger. We are in a buildup to very large problems with a very large population, if we’re not already there. So this begs the question: when are we going to get serious about taking care of the people in this country? Also, when are we going to get serious about taking care of the critical problems in this country? Do we simply relegate people who can’t afford healthcare to die? Do we simply let the government take over businesses that can’t survive because of their unrealistic and atrocious projections of profit? Ever wonder what role healthcare plays in the bankruptcy of some of these major companies, namely the auto industry?
Lots of questions. Anyone got the answers? Apparently not. But lots of delusional ideology, especially on talk radio, substituting for action.
You see, it is very easy for someone making tens of millions of dollars a year to talk about capitalism and “picking yourself up by your bootstraps.” I swear if I hear the phrase “pick yourself up by your bootstraps” one more time I will strangle the person with said bootstraps. It’s easy for the rich to talk about individual empowerment when they haven’t had to work a day in their life. It’s additionally easy for wealthy blowhards to talk about “making the able-bodied on welfare get a job”, despite the fact that there are no freakin' jobs!
Ronald Reagan said “If not now, when?” Funny how Conservatives forget that. It’s easy to say that the United States is the land of opportunity when you have your own jet. But this denies the stark fact that there is virtually no opportunity today for the struggling. Everyone has different talents and abilities. Some people can’t get above the struggle. So do we leave them to perish?
There is going to come a time, not too long from now, when we’re going to have to come to the realization that, no, the individual simply cannot afford their own healthcare in most cases. There is going to come a time when we’re going to have to realize that these major financial institutions and businesses that are currently in bailout had their shot and screwed it up. In some cases, like the auto industry, they allowed themselves to be intimidated by the unions. And now they’re in the toilet. It is at the same time humorous and terrifying that Conservative loudmouths (rich men, all) say, “We should just let them fail”. That’s an easy thing to propose when you have no boss, no one to answer to. Gone from this rhetoric is the simple recognition of the consequences of such an idea: massive unemployment and a further burden on a healthcare system that is supposedly most effectively conducted by catering to only those who can afford it.
This “survival of the fittest” crap is lame and it needs to go away. It’s too late, folks. It’s too late. This country has become too big and there’s no going back.
So I go back to the original question: when do we get serious about these problems and slough off the idealistic garbage of what ought to be as opposed to what needs to be? We do not have the luxury in this period in history to opt for what we want as opposed to what we need. Those days are gone. We are dealing with human life. We have let it go for too long, doling out money to other countries, giving “humanitarian aid” to impoverished nations (and giving weapons to dictators and terrorists) yet ignoring the very same conditions in our own back yard….or front yard.
But there is an underlying purpose to this paradox. The only way to control a large population is to maintain a state of conflict among the various groups within. The major media has been hard at work on this, especially during elections, by constantly bringing up the issue of race when no one else had. Look at what the propagandists that pass for journalists have done with President Obama in the White House. They won’t be able to race-bait the nation anymore, not without being branded as racists, which they are. It will be a frustrating time.
What does this have to do with what I’ve been talking about? Everything. The healthcare situation, the economic situation, and the manufactured oil “crisis” are blatant examples of a holding action. You control people by manipulating the major facets of their lives: health, finance/employment and energy. And the winds of rumor are hinting at yet another area of control in the near future: food.
I am sick and tired of people quoting John Kennedy: “Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.” No. It’s time that we demand that our country address the problems it helped create by virtue of its bloated affluence and neglect of its own population. And close the damned borders, for God’s sake. It is time to take care of our own, whether you like it or not. It’s easy to condemn those less fortunate than you when you have money in the bank and a job to go to.
I’m not suggesting we give something for nothing to anyone. What I am suggesting is that it is time to get serious about what exactly we intend to do for our own. We are heading into a period of what I can only call a “circle the wagons” time. Not to be “gloom and doom” but the die have been cast and there is no instant replay. And while government is not the entire answer, to be sure, it is also important to send the message to the public that we need to do some rather intense soul-searching about where we are, how we got here and what we are doing…and what we are going to do about it.
Often when I write about topics like this, where I ask a lot of questions, some linear thinking whiner will write to me saying, “Well, you didn’t offer any answers!”. Of course I didn’t. I am raising questions that need to be meditated upon and talked about with those close to us. There can be no answers if you are not in a position to implement them. Vigilance is the only answer for now.
But to deny any longer that we are past the point of no return will be become a terminal event.
Andrew T.Durham is a graduate of State University at Albany, with a degree in Psychology/Philosophy. In the late 80's to mid 90's he was instrumental in creating ground-breaking outreach/prevention programs, as well as being a highly successful public speaker. A former acupuncturist and clinician (primarily to inner city adolescents), he has also been a consultant to the Massachusetts State Department of Public Health and several non-profit organizations. He is an accomplished musician - proficient in 7 instruments - ,actor and author of 10 plays, 5 of which have been produced. He is currently a consultant for small non-profit agencies and lives in Rochester, NY