Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Thus I Draft Myself

Although it is not yet hopeless, the legislative process is in terrible danger of being successfully perverted into something almost unspeakable. A process of "reform" of the way we manage health care -- a system in the control of large, for-profit entities that have lawmakers in their pocket -- that actually makes things better for the insurance companies and worse for people who are not rich.

So much for social action coming from the top. You don't elect a young new Democratic president and expect justice to bloom like wildflowers. "Reform" is in fact turning into an abscess. Important social progress comes from below, not from the beltway; and a new movement of Gandhian sit-ins is taking form, to gum up the works and build political pressure.

When, after all, did we have a vote on this health care racket? When did we democratically choose a system where Americans die because they don't have the financial resources necessary to pay for their lives? When did we ever vote for a system where we are compelled to pay for premiums without a guarantee our overlords will provide for our care when we need it?

We didn't, that's when. We just let it happen. Shame on us for that; but we do not need to put up with it, and I cannot.

I've signed up, friends. Americans are dying every day simply because they do not have financial resources. We are human beings and countrymen; our lives interpenetrate. The only earthly reason Arnold Schwarzenegger can get health care that my neighbor across the street, who just suffered a heart attack and kidney disease, cannot get - is money.

And there are still people who believe you only deserve what you personally can pay for. Even if it means your life.

Do we accept this as a country where your life or the degree of physical pain and indignity you suffer is determined by your bank balance?

The human choice, the choice informed by the most superficial understanding of our interbeing, is no. That "no" is a call for social action, to use the tools one has as a citizen to say: This is not the correct way; here is the correct way. Let's walk in this direction.

My resources are somewhat limited these days, but I can show up, I will write and speak, and I will get in the way. (My wife says I'm very good at the latter.) It is a call to service for community and country to oppose tyranny. The control over life and decency held by profit-making institutions is murdering people.

People who look like the man across the street.

People who look like my son.

People who look like my dad.

A country where their fate will be determined by financial worth? I never voted on that. But I will be casting my vote -- with my ass, as need be -- from now on.

1 comment:

Nathan said...

I, for one, am right with you. I've been "a pain in the ass" about this kind of stuff, and will continue to be.