By Timothy V. Gatto
August 20, 2009
I attended a town hall meeting in Greenville today. Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) was the speaker. The subject of this particular meeting was health care and particularly President Obama’s plan. I expected to hear my Senator’s views and some suggestions from the people attending, what I didn’t expect was to hear however, was the good Senator bashing the President and the Democrats for almost an hour.
I realize that the Republicans don’t have much support in the Senate, but I don’t see how distorting the entire debate on health care in South Carolina will help the government come to some sort of compromise that will help to insure the 47 million people that currently have no health insurance. In fact, I don’t see either party working in the best interests of the American citizen. What I see is a fractured, broken political system that seems to be working not for the best interests of the people, but for the insurance companies.
Sen. DeMint came right out and said that he trusts the insurance companies to make health care decisions rather than Washington bureaucrats. My wife who is a retired RN and also has a degree in marketing was livid. She had her hand up throughout the meeting, wanting to ask DeMint if the bureaucrats would make money by denying coverage to policyholders. We all know that insurance companies would deny every procedure if they could get away with it. This seems as if DeMint would put all his trust in the for-profit sector. Senator DeMint is a very trusting guy.
I believe that what started as a desire to bring universal healthcare to Americans has become just another bail-out, this time for the insurance industry. This comes at a time when the nation has the best chance in decades to provide for the people instead of big moneyed interests. Legislation that would have provided for universal health care would have meant that the United States would no longer be the only industrialized nation without it. We have become a laughingstock to other nations whose citizens don’t die from an inability to pay for timely medical care.
Senator DeMint said that the Democrats didn’t wish to provide a health care bill, what they really want is control over the lives of Americans. I believe that both political parties want that, and I believe that the government just about has it too. This health care debate shows how both parties can get Americans bickering with each other so that universal health care becomes just another impossible dream.
The meeting began with a plea to Jesus to watch over Senator DeMint and his team along with all the brave Americans fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan to preserve “America’s freedoms”. I should have thought twice about staying for the rest of the meeting. Listening to that prayer made me think of the Roman Empire and also of Hitler’s Germany, both empires never fought anything but “defensive wars”. How we are preserving our “freedom” by killing close to three million people in Iraq and Afghanistan escapes me. I guess I missed that day in school.
The entire time I was at the town hall meeting, I felt like I was in an episode of “The Twilight Zone”. It was absolutely amazing how the Senator, with a few polished phrases about the power of the ever expanding federal government and “socialized medicine” had a crowd of about four hundred that live in one of the most economically disadvantaged states in the union, clamoring and railing against health care for all Americans. I was wondering if he could have come out against food and water, would they have cheered him on then? It was an amazing sight to see, people taking a side against their own best interests. There is no longer any doubt in my mind about how Hitler convinced the Germans to declare war against the rest of the world.
Today was one of those days when what you see, leaves you daunted. I live for the day when Americans realize that the train has left the station one too many times without a seat for them. I don’t think, even with what I experienced today, that the day isn’t too far off. When the Republicans had a majority in Congress, and George W. Bush was president, nothing was done on health care. Now that the Democrats have a huge majority under president Obama, they still can’t put the people first. We have no trouble paying 47% of the entire planet’s military budget, but we can’t make sure that a sick kid can see a doctor. Does anyone see something wrong here?
It’s true, the government can’t do everything. It can’t make people get along with each other, it can’t stop a hurricane and some diseases continue to kill people. One thing that it can do however, is treat the people that hurt each other, become homeless or sick because of a hurricane, or stop the conditions that cause disease. This is just commonsense. This is what people expect of their government. Maybe it is time to expect more. Still, as long as the two corporate controlled war parties get away with masquerading as agents of change, as instruments of the people, we will receive very little as long as we are competing with lobbyists and special interests. They have all the money, therefore all the influence.
It will all stop when Americans have had enough, enough of bankers, insurance companies, investment banks, defense contractors and politicians ripping us off. As long as we see ourselves as Democrats or Republicans, conservative or liberal, left or right, instead of just Americans, then they wield all of the power. This is the power they have to keep us divided. Power is also what drives the train; don’t let it leave the station anymore until we are all on board.
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