The presidential election will be fierce and fiery, more negative than it might have been had the High Court struck down the law, with cries of “socialism” leveled against President Obama.
I am beginning to understand what I call the “politics of the fortunate,” the “fortunate” being those lucky enough to have enough resources to live comfortably in this country. In many of their minds, entitlements, including Medicaid, welfare, and other large-scale programs funded by the government to aid the poor allow and encourage people to be lazy and content to allow others to pay for their needs.
What “the fortunate” don’t seem to understand is that while there are certainly people who take advantage of government programs, many people would rather die than take government assistance, yet would probably literally die were not government assistance available for them.
They don’t seem to understand that many of the unemployed are not working because they seriously cannot find a job; they don’t seem to understand that underemployment is as bad as is unemployment in many instances, not providing enough money for employees to adequately take care of themselves and their families.
What they don’t seem to understand is that just because a person is poor does not mean that that person does not deserve to be treated as a human being. People in the 21st century ought not be walking around with cancer that they cannot afford to get treated, or with abscessed teeth because they cannot afford to go to a dentist.
What they don’t seem to understand is that nobody wants to be poor. Nobody wants to struggle financially. And nobody wants to be penalized and be made to feel like they are not worthy of health care just because they are poor.
It feels strange to live in a country where many put more value on the proliferation of military might than on the protection and care-giving of its own citizens. It feels even stranger to be involved in wars that fight for democracy in other lands while democracy here is broken – because, surely, a country that does not take care of its poor is broken.
I have heard people today say that this health care bill converts America into a socialist country. I do not understand, but I am sure it has something to do with the resentment that many have that the poor are being helped along by the government …and by their tax dollars.
If you never see the poor, look into their eyes, see how they live, see what they endure, then it’s easy to be dismissive and critical of their presence. If you have not been unemployed or underemployed, it is, again, easy to make judgments about people who are in those situations, and blame them for their situations.
Sarah Palin, like I said, is probably right. This action by the High Court is going to get the Tea Party boiling mad and energized in their fight against big government.
But as we have big government anyway, much of the recent “bigness” put in place by President Bush, causing us to go into serious debt, I rest a little easier knowing that some of my tax dollars are going to help those who absolutely cannot get out of their economic ruts. Like it or not, that is a reality in America. Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the “haves” and the “have-nots” is that those in the former group are more likely to have help to get out of their ruts, while the have-nots get more and more entrenched in theirs.
All people, wealthy or poor, deserve health care. No human is so poor that he or she deserves to be treated like an object with no feelings and no needs.
A candid observation …