Dec 8, 2009

A common good: The gift of sharing.

I've been writing about patience & waiting in the days before December. I've also been listening to our national debate over health care. The debate is coming to an end w/the Senate floor action. During this discussion many ideas flop around, assertions made, facts determined, and opinions expressed.

The Headline: Sunday, November 29, 2009,
New York Times:
Food Stamp Use Soars Across US, Stigma Fades
The Maps:
1) Growth of Food Stamp use from June 2007- June 2009.
Front page map shows high growth in food stamp in FL, home of the head "Ditto-Head" and in ID, WY, UT, NV, & GA. (These six states have ten GOP Senators.)
2) Percentage people in each county who receive food stamps, June 2009.
Jump page map show use highest across the south from AZ thru NM, TX, OK, MO, AR, LA, MS, AL, KY, TN, NC, GA, SC WV, & FL. (These 16 states have twenty-two GOP Senators.)

I feel really good about sharing the wealth of our nation with anyone who needs. Using the Department of Agriculture Food Stamp Program should be stigma free and available to any citizen who is hungry. Even if they are Republican. I ask are these the same places where people are organizing against a right to affordable health care insurance under the label of the Tea Party Patriots? I didn't do a scientific study but looking at the lists of links by state at the Tea Party Patriots Web site and at the Wikipedia page it seems like a large number of these states are the same places. Citizens in good conscience rail against "socialist health care" yet while use the roads, libraries, fire departments, public gathering places and our shared wealth in the form of food stamps. Where are Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the like most popular? I looked around and it looks like they are popular all over. I guess the masters of misinformation drive the discussion on this point and they'll certainly ignore this story.

In many cases these are the same people who think nothing spending millions of dollars for three days of intensive care for a malformed premature infant whose prognosis at birth, or even before birth, is for three to six months of life. Life, they say, is sacred. Often the same folks who would force a pregnant woman to seek illegal care to control the outcome of her pregnancy, on the notion that God endows life and life begins when sperm meets egg & genes are intertwined. A poor definition of life in my book. Life is a line, not series of dots, lined up. People exist along the line we don't start & end, we participate. Each moment of consciousness is a decision to continue participating. Life began 3.X billion years ago on Earth and now it is in every crevice and nook.

We can disagree about policies and programs a government should promote. We can disagree about what unseen, or unknown things to believe in. We can teach our children what we choose even if it is a lie like the Easter Bunny exists or Santa comes down the chimney on Christmas morning to celebrate the birth on earth of God made man. But we need each other. We need all of humanity to continue our life on this planet. We even need people who believe such wild stories as are being told in the ultra-conservative, "taxes are only for poor" mainstream media like Fox. We need to share our world if we are to live on it long enough for our species to survive. Self-awareness should allow us to plan the next step in human culture but only if we can move as one.

Health is key to life so it should be a basic right. We need our neighbors to be healthy or we will get infected by them. Our children deserve to be taught how to be healthy. Our government is a great place to mediate & govern the vast and complex issues that make up the public, individual health care universe. A doctor is only a small part of the healthcare system. Patients have responsibility to monitor their own health, instead we've become a nation of fools paying more for less and believing we're getting the best. It's as if we have are the Emperor in the story of the Emperor Has No Clothes. I mourn for our democracy if the loud voices who led us with the failed policies of the past 3 decades can win this debate just by lying to their fans.

One final note on the health care debate: Our nation deserves to have healthy citizens, we need healthy citizens so we can once again lead the world in: innovation; creativity; social, cultural, economic, & artistic ideas; sports; technology; and medicine. We can afford to have the best if we stand up and demand reason prevail over faith, lies, and superstition. We can not afford to continue the byzantine system of healthcare delivery we have now, it bankrupts individuals, small & large businesses across the country. We need the Senate and the House to finish their work and deliver a bill to President Obama for signature.

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