An Alaskan journalist's perspective on local and national issues

Posts tagged ‘Greed’

America and Greed: A Health Care Story

There was a video that was posted on YouTube by a channel called ForaTV.  They are pretty good about posting some thoughtful videos.  Whether you agree with them or not, they are quite thoughtful.  A very recent video had the former governor of Michigan, and the host of Current TV’s “The War Room,” Jennifer Granholm talking about health care in America.

It’s not a mystery that America spends more money on healthcare.  The amount rounds out to roughly $8,000 per person.  This would be perfectly fine, if what we were getting for our money was worth what we spent.  This, however, is not the case.  Approximately 45,000 people die every year from a lack of health insurance, according to a study from Harvard University.  Over 50 million people in America don’t have health insurance.  One of the biggest causes of bankruptcy is health care costs.  These are real problems that are completely verifiable.

However, take a look at the video linked at the top.  After watching it, take a look down in the comments section.  You’ll find lovely little gems like this –

this women is horrible. i dont spend anywhere near 10000 per year. why should me and my family who have our own problems be paying for others? gottt damn.

truth! i’m sick of government punishing me with absurd taxes because i’m responsible enough to live healthy and save

i have an idea. lets let the nation that did as much testing on its populace as the soviets and nazis unbridled control of healthcare and every other system. what could go wrong.

Accuse us of taking the most radical comments we could find (and its true that there was a lot of genuinely intelligent conversation), but the fact is that there are a lot of people who think this way.  They believe that they shouldn’t be burdened with helping other people.  That because they are healthy, pardon the language, screw everybody else.

The level of greed displayed in that thinking is absolutely amazing.  But it isn’t a small thing.  All over the conservative arena, there are people who will fight tooth and nail to get out the view that they shouldn’t have to help other people, because it’s their money.

Never mind that if universal health care was implemented, they would be saving money.  Never mind that such a system would save everybody money in the long term.  That’s too hard a thing to consider.  The fact is that they are being told, day in and day out that all of this help for the poor is funding laziness and everything else.  Not helping families who desperately need it.

There are plenty of people in America who are working two jobs and who don’t go to the doctor because they know that they can’t afford it.  This is not a new phenomenon.  But the machines of conservative America are putting out every day that these people are just leeches, hoping that the government will hold their hand.  Totally ignoring the fact that these people don’t want anybody to hold their hand.  They are busting tail and working hard to stay alive.  They merely want, and desperately need, help.  Help that should be given because we are supposed to be a better people than what we want to be.

But the greater existential question comes to this – why?  Why do these people just so adamently refuse to believe that this is for a good cause?  Perhaps the answer comes from the fact that nobody wants to sacrifice.  Make people believe that they are going to have to sacrifice, and they will simply work against it.  It is a fact that even in times of hardship, nobody wants to give up some of their good for the betterment of others.

An irony of that statement, however, is that the bulk of the people against universal health care in America identify themselves as Christian.  Being against this is kind of odd, in that respect, because if you look at their holy book, the Bible, there is a passage where Jesus Christ, their savior, openly says how people should treat the poor.

Luke 3:11 “If you have two coats,” he replied, “give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry.”

Helping the poor was a core tenant of the son of the God that they believe is what America is based around, and yet whenever somebody talks about universal health care, there is an argument that often comes up that these people are leeches, and that they shouldn’t have to pay so that they can be lazy.

There was a brilliant quote by Stephen Colbert about how America treats the least of its people –

If this is going to be a Christian nation that doesn’t help the poor, either we have to pretend that Jesus is just as selfish as we are, or we’ve got to acknowledge that He commanded us to love the poor and serve without condition and then admit that we just don’t want to do it.

But these quotes haven’t answered the question – why?  Why do these people seem so dead-set against helping the people who are the most hurt by the current health care system?  Perhaps the ultimate answer is that they don’t know.  Just like so many other people in this country, it is just easier to go with the flow, and not to question something, than it is to step up and fight for anything.

If that is the case, then the real question becomes – what has America come to?

Peace out,


Greed and Avarice at Christmas

One of the most interesting things about the human race is our greed.  Truly, the power that avarice has over this species is almost too incredible for words.  There are videos, countless videos, showing the absolute worst parts of the human race, the greatest day which represents the power that greed has over our species, Black Friday.  Never before has a creation of man been so great at capturing what is wrong with our entire species.

All religion, my friend, is simply evolved out of fraud, fear, greed, imagination, and poetry.  -Edgar Allan Poe

For those of you who don’t remember, there was a creation on The Oprah Winfrey Show which was called “My Favorite Things.”  It was an episode that happened around Christmas each year where she gave a metric ton of stuff to her audience.  Take a look at some of the audience reactions here, and then come back and say that greed doesn’t do anything wrong to America’s culture.  The amount of screaming and crying that people were doing over this is not only pathetic, it is really tragic.

Probably the single greatest flaw in our species is the lack of ability to make sacrifices.  We are simply unable to settle for less, even when times are tough.  The biggest problem in Europe right now is that these countries are telling their people the ugly truth, that they will have to really make some ugly sacrifices, but the people are so unwilling to listen.  There are riots in the street for the belief that none of them will have to make any sacrifices.  Here in America, the rich are completely unwilling to listen to reason.  They are so hell-bent on keeping everything just the way it was, and asking them to make any kind of significant sacrifice is just completely out of the question.

At a time when unbridled greed, malignant aggression, and existence of weapons of mass destruction threatens the survival of humanity, we should seriously consider any avenue that offers some hope. -Stanislav Grof
Perhaps this is the way that it was always meant to be.  While most people choose to look at the very pretty aspect of the holidays, that they are about taking care of one’s fellow man, and how they are about coming together and enjoying the season, the fact is that greed does manifest itself in very ugly ways.This country has capitalized on the gift-giving involved with this season, and it is almost kind of tragic.  How many parents lately are having to tell their children that there isn’t going to be a Christmas for them this year?  How many of the unbelievably large amounts of people on this planet are starving to death, while the wealthiest don’t give a damn about them?!  How can people just sit down and stuff their face, knowing that somewhere out there, some person is dying from something that we have already cured, and simply don’t care enough to give them?Rick Perry can sing all he wants about how “kids can’t celebrate Christmas in schools,” but I contend that it is sick that humanity can celebrate Christmas with a straight face, when the fact is that not only has our species been consumed by greed, but it will be the end of us all.

There are som ugly choices ahead for all of civilization.  Either we are all going to have to make some huge sacrifices, and be willing to tone down the greed a little, especially the richest 1%, or we are not going to be able to stomach the net hundred years on this planet.

I’m not saying that you should hate the season, but can we all at least try and understand that we have to look out for our fellow man?  Is that asking too much?  If it is, then maybe humanity should just let greed and malice consume it, so another species can give this a shot.  Maybe they’ll do better.
Peace out,

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