Maybe a little grandstand-y...but the dude deserves it.
Do all people have a right to health care, or only those that "earn" it, as Congressman Mike Rogers suggests in his recent statements to the US Congress?
Congressman Rogers obviously has his opinions on the subject. In his statement, he said:
"Abraham Lincoln said, 'You can't make a weak man strong by making a strong man weak'. And so what we've decided to do is to abandon the very principles of America and say, you know what? It's so hard and so difficult, we're gonna punish the 85% of Americans who have earned health care benefits as a part of their employment, and we're gonna punish them and the employers who give it to them, to try to cover the 15% that don't have it.
That doesn't hardly seem like a solution that any of us would come to. Why would we punish the part that's working to cover the part that's not?"
Does Congressman Rogers think that paying taxes is a form of punishment as well? I mean, SOME of that tax money might go to help OTHER PEOPLE, like the elderly, many of whom depend on Medicare (a federally run health care program) for their medical needs. Some of YOUR tax money might right now be going to help firefighters fight SOMEONE ELSE'S fire! Well, THAT hardly seems fair! I mean, YOU weren't the irresponsible jerk who started that fire! Why should YOU pay to help SOMEONE ELSE survive it. If they die, it's their fault for being on fire, right?
Let's get real for a minute. Better yet, let's get human. Let's care for a minute what happens to our fellow citizens.
And let's be honest about who those 15% who "aren't working" are. They're real people who work just as hard as you do to make ends meet. They're ME. I am one of the 15% who does not have health insurance. (15% of the US population, by the way, is about as many people as live in California and North Carolina combined. That's a lot of people, even if it isn't everybody.) As one of those uninsured 15%, I take personal offense at Congressman Roger's comments. NOT WORKING?! Trust me, I would love to quit even one of my two jobs, but I can't afford it. I would love to have employer-based insurance but neither of my employers provide it. If I could afford to buy private insurance, I would.
Congressman, who are YOU to tell me that I don't work hard? That I don't deserve to go to a doctor when I am sick because I don't make enough money? Who the hell do you think you are? Shame on you. And shame on those of you who let your fears get the better of you, who let your greed for more, more, more get the better of you. It's easy to blame others for what they don't have when those "others" are random strangers, isn't it? Well, those strangers are your friends, your co-workers, your family, your fellow citizens. They are people just like you. And they have the innate human right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, just as much as you do, regardless of how much money they earn.
We live in one of the free-est, healthiest, richest countries on Earth. We are all fortunate to have the lives that we have, relatively free from hunger, war, and oppression. Many people on this Earth are not as fortunate as we are. (Many people in this country are not as fortunate as we are. Does anyone else remember Hurricane Katrina? A lot of those people are still suffering, but since it's not in the news anymore, I guess it doesn't count, right?)
And yet, when we, who have more means than any other nation on the planet are given the opportunity to help our fellow citizens just a little bit, we balk. We hide our heads behind the red herring of "socialism", claiming that our freedoms (by which we mean our money) are being taken from us. Are we so small, so shallow and greedy of a nation? Are we so easily led by lies and self-interest?
We tell ourselves these lies about health care because we are scared. Because it's easier to ignore or belittle the problem when it's not in our own house, in our own belly.
So, Congressman, tell me: what are these "American principles" you speak of? Those of you who call yourselves patriots, what do you think that word means? If this is the best we can do for each other, then I think we, as a nation, have a long way to go.
There is a beautiful and famous poem on the base of the Statue of Liberty. You may already know a few lines of it by heart, but I think the whole thing is worth repeating. It says this:
"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
But given our behavior in the recent health care debate, maybe it would be more appropriate if it just said:
"Every Man for Himself."
In short: Congressman Rogers, go fuck yourself.
The Mother of Exiles
ps- The congressman is right, Canada IS behind us in cancer survival rates. We're 2nd in the world. They're 3rd. Cuba, a socialist nation, is 1st. So much for statistics, friends.