15 September 2008

How can it be?

I was talking politics with my Dad this evening. I love my Dad. I respect him. I think he's an amazingly smart guy, immensely talented, really great. But there's just nothing I can say to him that would have him not vote against Obama. I can't understand it. Every argument he advances I can prove is incorrect. It came down to me asking if there were any information that I could give him that would change his mind, and he said "No." So I gave up.

I have been a lifelong Republican but the last eight years have really beaten the party out of me: I just can't drink the Kool-Aid any longer.

How can I be a citizen of the greatest country in the world and allow my country to have no national health policy? How can it be possible that, in my country, if one loses one's job, one can die in the street because one has no health care? How was it allowed to amend the bankruptcy laws to prevent the declaration of bankruptcy to dissolve medical claims when medical claims are the number 1 reason that bankruptcy is declared? How is it allowed that uninsured persons can be charged 5-6 times the amount per procedure that insured persons (whose insurance companies wield collective bargaining clout) are charged?

This leaves aside the utter destruction of the environment that goes along with promulgating a sense of entitlement rather than privilege, where Americans believe that cheap subsidized petroleum products are their right, that policies promoting sound conservatorship make no sense as long as "we can drill in ANWR"- all, what, a few months worth of cheap gas with profits accruing to oil companies later? Where is the concept of long term planning? What happened to the understanding of the tragedy of the commons? Is everyone in power in the US a selfish, rich, basically evil person? What happened to the tradition of the wealthy individual caring for those less fortunate?

My brother called me a Communist, and I really think he was serious, because I do think that a national healthcare system, a national commitment to family friendly policies and women's and children's rights, and a movement to a national retirement plan (where the plan is not tied to an employer but administered by the government in behalf of the worker, like Switzerland) is something necessary for America to be considered a real 1st world country. We can't be content with maternity leave less than that of Namibia, can we? And I need to stop being ashamed of my coutry's treatment of the poor and the mentally ill.

America is the best country in the world and we need to take a breath, pay more in taxes, and reshape our policies to reflect what we really believe: in a moral, equitable world, with compassion and mercy informing our behavior.


Dr. J said...

I rarely jump in on political blog posts because, well frankly because I usually can't be bothered.

But I really do have to ask here: what are you basing the claim of best country in the world on?

C N Heidelberg said...

This topic has been frustrating me a lot lately. I want life to be better in my home country!! I don't want to have to stay away from my family in order to enjoy the quality of life I can get from having six weeks vacation STARTING, universal health care (where we can see ANY DOCTOR! wow!), real maternity leave, retirement that allows kids to spend so much time with their grandparents (ever notice they're everywhere on summer weekdays!?)...

G in Berlin said...

Dr. J-
That would be on my belief, and of course, the beliefs of those millions who vote with their feet. That we have problems, that we may need to change, doesn't invalidate that the US is the best country in the world. I certainly won't be giving up my US passport, ever. Because unless things get a whole heck of a lot worse, my country is where I can go when the rest of you turn your backs. Not to say that I am not an Anglophile (as so many of us are, in a superficial way) or that New Zealand doesn't look absolutely gorgeous or that the Sea of Galilee was the most beautiful place I have ever seen or that I love the German women's and children's rights.
To me, it boils down to one thing: we may have bigots and racists in the US, but it is not acceptable. Everywhere else it is.