Sunday, September 13, 2009

America— More of an Economy than a Society

There’s an old adage that says, “When two men fight over a woman, they want the fight more than the woman.” And the thing that I remember personally from college is that food fights were never about food. Never! Which brings me to the town hall meetings and the so-called “Tea Parties,” all of which have absolutely nothing to do with healthcare legislation or big government. America just wants a fight. It’s that simple.

My wife and I have spent quality time in two-thirds of the nations on earth over the last twenty or so years. As we've learned for ourselves, without exception, all of the OTHER countries of the world see themselves as (first and foremost) a society. Even the places like China and Burma and Iran get the picture— that the glue of societal common bonding can help citizens cope with even the most oppressive and harsh of national governments. By contrast, we in the U.S.A. see our country as an economy (primarily) and a military superpower (secondarily) and societal considerations are relegated to tertiary status at best. Once I came to realize this, I also realized that obsessing about things like healthcare or big government was as futile as obsessing about impending death just because I'm getting older. So America will now have to make its way without my guidance and input.

The nations that have universal healthcare (this is everyone but the U.S.A.) all started with the premise that ALL citizens would get healthcare. This was the only piece of the puzzle that was non-negotiable. For the most part, none of those other nations got it right when they started. Certainly, none of them achieved perfection on their first try. They each tinkered with their plans and changed the functions and features until they made it workable, with the result that the many different nations have many different systems today for managing and funding their health care. But they all did what they had to do to reach the fundamental goal of universal coverage. We, by contrast, start with a budget (we're an economy, don't forget) and then we ask ourselves what we can afford.

In my lifetime, I've watched America enthusiastically plunge into three wars (Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq) and nobody, liberal or conservative, ever said we should slow down until we knew all the details. And god knows, nobody ever questioned the cost. We're a military superpower, don't forget, or at least we see ourselves that way. Of course, this makes it hard to explain why we can start wars so easily, but why we can never seem to win those wars, but that’s a topic for another blog.

So let's not kid ourselves about the healthcare issue, or about the rage that fuels the town hall meetings and the Tea Parties. Obama's healthcare plan is full of shortcomings and vagaries and imperfections, but this wouldn't matter if we saw ourselves as, primarily, a society above all else. But we don’t. America wants this internal fight simply for the sake of internal fighting, just like the food fights in college. This is why I’ve repeatedly predicted that there will be another civil war, although probably not in my lifetime. This isn't a matter of swinging pendulums. Those irate idiots (on both sides) at the town hall meetings will not be satisfied with a swing of the pendulum. Someone on each side of the abortion issue has now been murdered in cold blood simply because someone on the other side of the issue wanted to end the debate, so on the microcosmic level, the civil war has already begun. I’m going to just stay the hell out of it, because The United States of America isn't worth it anymore.


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Freelance Breet said...

This was a powerful entry and full of emotions.

I agreed with you all the way up to the end..."America is not worth it anymore." I feel that though people disagree (on a number of issues) and as you stated, "have killed in cold blood, on both sides to end the argument," that there still has to be HOPE.

We, the citizens, have always overcome differences. Granted not always peacefully, but that (peace) is possible to accomplish.

I feel that it would take better reporting (from the mainstream media) to reach that - instead of reporting only the hate, depression, and lack of follow through stories. Sadly, that is another issue all on its own.

Thanks for sharing your point of view! I will have to come back and visit --