22 January 2008

...in which I respond to some political rhetoric and other noise...

The New Colossus by E. Lazarus

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-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Just make sure that when you send them, they are healthy both mentally and physically and that they have an aptitude for languages so that they can learn English quickly so that we Americans who have outgrown our own Immigrant status by way of seven or so generations born here won't have to take care of them...because if we will, you can just keep them. Go on, keep the antiquated system of health care we have that leaves a vast population without options for something that should be every person's right. Keep it up, make sure that everyone knows that Obama's middle name is Hussein, and he is therefore unfit to run our country. Remind everyone over and over that we are One Nation Under God because it says so on our failing dollars. And whatever you do, close those borders...we've got enough of everyone else's wretched refuse here already, so slam that golden door fast, before any more of them get in...

If you've read thus far and are afraid that I've hit my head on something hard have no fear. My tongue was so firmly in my cheek while writing that paragraph I think I may have bitten part of it off.

I was just participating in a debate on a message board I belong to that started with someone asking for opinions on the movie "Sicko" and became a back and forth about the state of everything from health care to prescription medications to discussions of how the US is viewed from the outside. And how are we viewed by the other nations of the world today? Lemme tell you, it ain't pretty.

They wonder why we are the wealthiest nation in the world, and yet we leave our homeless, our mentally ill, our poor to live and die on the streets. They see how we seek to fight terrorism, and how we have become automatically afraid of those from the middle east, yet our president is in the back pocket of those in Saudi Arabia that control the world's oil. They see how we have No Child Left Behind, but we seemed to have no trouble with The Lower Ninth Ward Left Behind after hurricane Katrina. We are a nation of contradictions, but one thing seems clear. Americans live in a consumerist society...in that we consume everything, as was well stated by a member of that message board. We are loud, we are rude, we are arrogant. I was on a plane recently on an international flight, and it was easy to spot the Americans in the crowd. Easy! Flashy, blingy (is that a word) clothes and accessories, loud voices, seats pushed back into other's laps, feet sprawled out in the aisles, no realisation that there was ANYONE on the plane other than them...we are a nation of people who have been wearing the title of "wealthiest country in the civilized world" for many years and now take it as our birthright to be obnoxious and rude and superior. I could hear the people around me speak and I could pretty much tell which ones were Americans and which weren't...and I will admit to keeping my mouth shut and wishing I'd picked up an accent in my 10 days abroad so that people wouldn't confuse me with the family three rows up that was annoying everyone from the other passengers to the flight attendants.

Now for the promised response to rhetoric...

Should we have universal free health care? In a word, YESTERDAY. Many people in this, the wealthiest country in the world, don't go to their doctors until they have to because they can't afford it, even with health insurance. We choose our jobs based on what kind of benefits they offer, and not if it is truly a job that we will enjoy and find fulfilling. While I love the commercials put out by the AMA now that say (in reference to those uninsured in America) "1 in 7 isn't just a number, it's 47 million too many," the plan that they propose on Voicefortheuninsured.org is just MORE insurance. Let's don't help people buy it, let's don't make it more affordable...let's make health care become so they don't need insurance at all.

Here's an example: I work with my hands. If I don't have my hands, I don't have a job. I had to stop going for chiropractic care because my insurance company decided that I should pay for my preventative medicine, not them. They will be more than happy to pay a co-pay, however, when I go in for my carpal tunnel surgery that could have been avoided with wellness care via my chiropractor...but only if there is a doctor that deems it other than elective surgery, and only in triplicate.

Another from my personal experience: Thankfully Zyrtec goes OTC on the 24th of this month...I haven't been able to get it for 2-3 years now (whenever it was that Claritin went OTC) because once other allergy meds became OTC my insurance stopped paying a co-pay on my Zyrtec. While I was taking Zyrtec I was FREE of the allergy symptoms I've had my entire life. Free. I had to switch to Claritin, which doesn't help me, really, and supplement it with Benadryl if I want to keep those allergy symptoms at bay. I know, I know, you're thinking "Why didn't you just get the doc to write something up that said you had to take the Zyrtec?" Excellent suggestion. I asked after that, and was told that (at the time, may be different now) allergy medications are "elective" medications in the absence of a condition such as asthma or worse, so he couldn't do anything for me.

I'm sorry, elective? It's not like I asked for a doctor's note to get botox. All I wanted was to be able to breathe. Didn't realize that breathing normally or having clear vision rather than eyes that feel like they have a pound of sand in them was my choice. It's sad when I think I wish that I had asthma or worse because then I could have my Zyrtec. Un-freaking-real.

As for the whole immigration thing, I was out to dinner with a friend last night and we were discussing that very topic. (I'm a tree-hugging left wing liberal commie pinko blah blah blah and proud of it, just in case you've missed that in some of my past posts here at The Lettuce.) I want to live in a country where people can come to get a better life. I want to live in a society where we help each other get along because it's the right thing to do. I want the America back that inspired Lazarus to write the poem above. I suppose there should have been another stanza that said something about "but only until we're full," or "but only if they agree to learn English," or "but only if they promise not to get sick or have babies until they've become citizens," because that is the rhetoric of the "Patriotic American" in 2008.

I really didn't mean for this to turn into a rambling rant...but it has, so I'll wrap it up. I'm annoyed with myself that I forgot to change my address with voter registration so I can't vote in the primaries...but since I'm a democrat living in South Carolina, I have to ask what the point is of making sure that I'm registered come November. Blah. It's a bad time to be an American...or a socialist...or at least that's how I see it. I just hope I'm on the other side when that Golden Door clangs shut and locks.

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