Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Political comment from a Healdsburger

I found this blog while surfing through other blogs in Healdsburg this morning...thought it interesting enough to post the following comments and my responses to them...


When I explained the situation he shook his head sadly. "A nation that doesn't provide for its poor is like a father who refuses to care for his children," he said — a phrase that's stuck in my mind ever since.
Of course the Europeans don't understand that what uninsured people are denied is long-term health care, which is of course probably more important the emergency care. Anyone can walk into an American hospital and get help but they are then financially ruined assuming they had any money to begin with. I'm not sure the European model is all that great, but your point is well-taken. People WITH health insurance end up ruined.
The citizens of New Orleans were told they must evacuate. Those with cars drove away. Others got out in rental cars, or other transportation.

But thousands were left for a number of reasons. They didn't have transportation. They didn't have money for transportation. They were too sick or frail or old to leave. They simply didn't understand the gravity of the situation. Or they were simply to skeptical of a government announcement to heed.
I'm actually surprised at how many people DID understand the gravity of the situation, and left.
The whole world is looking at the faces and the bodies of these people, listening to their outcry. They are almost invariably poor. And like all the poor in our country they are for the most part sick, frail, old, children, and/or illiterate. They get their information from pictures, not the printed word. Their dietary advice comes from advertisements for sodas, potato chips, and fast-food restaurants. Their health advice is little beyond pharmaceutical advertisements.
There is always a healthy balance between what we owe them as members of our society and what they owe themselves. We have failed them, and they have failed themselves.
America has turned her back on a large percentage of her children, and they have grown resentful. New Orleans is perhaps only the beginning of their outrage. It is an outrage that transcends race. It is an outrage that just might have a profound influence on the future of American politics. At least I hope so.
The parents of those children were the first to turn their backs; they made decisions like the ones I saw daily when I taught in Vallejo; to have three children before the age of seventeen with no way to care for them, to avoid education and to fall back on government aid with a sense of entitlement that transcends generations; the republicans are wrong when they blame the poor for being poor. The democrats are wrong when they believe the poor bear no responsibility for the decisions they make that perpetuate the cycle.

The Eastside View


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