The Repeal of Life

January 20th, 2011

The New York Times published their tepid account of the actions of the House of Representatives actions to pass a ‘repeal’ of health care even though all involved knew that it would not become law. Where is the outrage? Why is the bid to remove, rather than improve health care for the masses considered to be ‘symbolic’? The politicians telling us they want it ‘gone’ rather than repaired are telling us they have no qualms whatsoever of being the instrument by which the uninsured and the under-insured will be killed through the lack of access to health care that this country can afford to provide.

How is it different from categorizing the actions of Loughner as merely constituting a ‘repeal’ of the lives of those poor people in Tuscon, Arizona last week? Just as the state is currently determining the fate of that criminal, so our society must determine the fate of his surviving victims. Shouldn’t all of them have access to life-saving technology and rehabilitation services without mortgaging their homes and futures? Should only Congresswoman Giffords rate access from among all of the injured because of her position?

Wherefore is it written in the capitalist manifesto, that health care is a commodity? The determination of medical care as something to be bought and sold in a capitalist country is a conscious decision on our parts. Semantics is currently ruling the rabid fervor of our Republican legislators (and three Democrats) who wasted taxpayer funds on ‘symbolically’ repealing it. We are actually being informed that our access to medical care is entirely based upon the political dictionary used to define it – is it capitalism or socialism? Since they chose to ‘symbolically’ repeal it instead of symbolically ‘passing’ another bill to reform it, we have to recognize that those legislators have made this decision without consulting us. They have defined medical care in the absence of debate about the political and economic labels under which doctors labor when performing an emergency appendectomy.

Semantics doesn’t appear to enter into the debate of whether the socialized practice of constructing bridges to facilitate commerce is permissible in America. However, the proper setting of a broken arm in a young adult to promote his increased productivity as a laborer apparently isn’t as desirable. This can only be a function of labor being defined as a commodity—we all know there’s plenty of laborers on the market with two good arms. No, our Republican legislators (and three Democrats) feel a recent high-school graduate must first be privileged to acquire a job with an employer able to afford the privatized version of the Hippocratic Oath: First Do No Harm to the Profit Margin of the Practice Plan. If a practice plan were constructed by physicians to be ‘non-profit’ in nature, is it somehow superior to the same non-profit structure of the medical plan called ‘Medicare’? Non-profit organizations are not socialist in nature – everyone involved is still getting a salary and benefits while competing against other similar businesses for consumers. I worked in non-profit special education school programs for most of my career. They were often better managed than the ‘for-profit’ schools with whom they competed for students not covered by public education programs (due to their young ages).

Words are symbols by definition but hold enormous power as we’ve seen in the recent, post-Tuscon debates about violent rhetoric. In this country we are so concerned about worker productivity that we have regulated the use of symbols, i.e. words, in the workplace. Yes, ‘un-civil’ and violent words may not be used to describe a co-worker’s beliefs or behavior. This is because it creates a hostile working environment. Shouldn’t political parties be concerned when their spokespeople create a hostile ‘living’ environment? That is the only way to term a country in which people are supposed to envision their neighbors as enemies more powerful than Al Queda, merely for wishing all of their neighbors to have health care.

There have been numerable articles written about this subject but I wrote a commentary on one of them over at the NPR website the other day as follows:

Barbara Rubin (agasaya) wrote:

It is time for us to discuss the fact that ‘un-civil’ rhetoric is actually illegal in the work-place. The drive for productivity has made hostile work environments something which are legally actionable. Employees are not required to endure comments personal to their cultures, appearances or religious and political beliefs. References to violence can get you arrested in a post office or airport.

When will political parties REQUIRE their ‘esteemed’ spokespersons to adopt speech styles that convey information without creating a hostile national ‘living’ environment? Are we supposed to change countries as if citizenship was some job held under a poor employer?

Our politicians do NOT employ us. We employ them. Stop paying them to speak at political events if their speeches disparage rather than educate listeners about the choices available to Americans in governmental policies. You can express any sensible concept just by combing through a dictionary or thesaurus and learning new words which aren’t laden with overtones of hate, violence or discrimination. Being specific to conditions or actions you criticize is also helpful in intelligent discourse.

Barbara Rubin

Tuesday, January 18

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Categories: Newspaper Commentary, NPR, NY Times, Published

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