Guest Editorial
By Marlon Black
Towards the closing days of the election, then Senator and now President Elect Obama made a statement and used the term ‘redistribution wealth’. This terrified some of my more conservative friends who began talking about him as a ‘dangerous socialist’. Some of the more extreme opinions I’ve heard even warned that his victory would result in the ‘United Socialist States of America’. And, while I don’t pay too close attention to punditry, I was relieved that they didn’t similarly grab hold of this.

But, hold on here. Socialism? Redistribution of Wealth? Call me crazy, but didn’t our current (and fervently free market) President just shove Congress into supporting a 700 billion dollar redistribution of wealth? Sure, I heard a lot of people complain, but why didn’t anyone call him a Socialist? Obama and McCain both voted for it twice, so why is Obama maligned as the Socialist, by himself?

Well, America. I have a little wake up call for you. We aren’t capitalists. We love to say we are, and when times are good and we’re rolling in the green we’d sooner cut our toes off than consider regulating industry. But you know what? When things get hard and it’s time for us to take our lumps, we charge it to our American (Tax-Payer) Express. We’re only capitalists until capitalism is inconvenient. Do you know who, in a strict capitalist sense, is too big and important to fail? NO ONE. The threat of failure is what is supposed to regulate the market and prevent people who take dangerous risks from polluting the rest of the market. America has taken the teeth out of capitalism, we’ve rejected socialism out of hand, and then sit around wondering why isn’t working right.

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I watched Michael Moore’s movie, “Sicko,” a couple of nights ago. While I knew things were bad with the health care system in the United States, I didn’t realize they had gotten utterly miserable. (Scratch that. Maybe I did know, but it’s too painful to go to that dark place.)

Health care insurers do their damndest to find ways to deny people coverage. It doesn’t matter how life-threatening the illness – if people are sick, it costs insurers profits. Really, the system has become one of “Pay us, or else, and we will give you nothing in return. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. That won’t be covered under our pre-existing conditions clause.”

Those who sit on committees to deny people health coverage have little to no conscience. If they do have a conscience, very few of them have the courage to speak up or do something. From my way of thinking, for every person denied coverage who later dies from lack of needed treatment, the insurer should be charged with murder. It might be easier for them to blindfold their sick clients and shoot them, because, in essence, that’s what they’re doing. But, of course, they have to rob them blind first. (Blindess? Not covered. Pre-existing condition.)

And we stand for all of this.

And we fall for the line that socialized medicine is the world’s greatest evil, with its long lines, poor care and high tax rate. This primarily comes from conservatives who can’t stand the thought of sharing their money with anyone. (Sounds like the insurers, doesn’t it?) Michael Moore’s film points out the fallacy of this line of shit, showing the benefits of universal health care in Canada, England and France. He also indicates that we socialize plenty of societal functions, such as the military, libraries, and primary level education, when its in our best interests to do so.

Funny thing about the military vs. health care. The greedy and powerful are all over sending the poor to war for them, but screw the poor when it comes to health care. Either way, the end result is the same – DEAD POOR PEOPLE. (You can hear them tittering in the corner: “Good riddance to bad rubbish. They’re not like us anyway.”)

The film made me ashamed to be an American. Where do we get off treating people this way?

An about-face was to come . . . .

Last night, I attended a benefit dinner for Brad Hoheisel at the Alliance Church in Little Falls. Brad was in a motorcycle accident not long ago and needs further physical therapy. The family can’t afford to pay for the costs of treatment, so the dinner was held to raise funds for this purpose. The church was packed with people, the line for dinner at times snaking out the front doors.

It was gratifying to see such an outpouring of support from everyday people. I am no longer ashamed of America, at least as far as ordinary citizens are concerned. They care and care deeply. But I’m still mad as hell that our society and the powers that be in this country have allowed the health care system to disintegrate to the point that people are forced to host spaghetti dinners in order to pay for treatment.

It’s time to force doctors to uphold their Hippocratic Oath, which they conveniently get to ignore by allowing insurers to make treatment decisions for them based on money. It’s time to take the profit out of illness. It’s time for universal health care.

Spitting blood in the pond,

Phineas F. A. Pickerel