Today at the gym I was treated to Sen. Ted Cruz doing his filibuster to supposedly protect Americans from the evil Affordable Care Act (called “Obamacare” by some).
Recently, a majority of the U.S. House of Representatives, for the 42nd time, I believe, voted to repeal Obamacare.
Those who follow this issue know the rest of the story behind these two symbolic – and very sad – actions, where ideologic rigidity and scarcely hidden hatred for the President drive decision making to attempt to destroy programs which will impact positively on everyone in this country.
Sen. Cruz, during his filibuster, spent time reading Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to his daughters, and expounding on the symbolism of Star Wars.
I know Cruz is young, but didn’t know how young (I decided to look him up): I have two children older than Cruz is. Dr. Seuss was a household staple in our house; when Star Wars came out in 1977, it was an instant addiction for my oldest son, and I took him to the first showing, and didn’t discourage him from attending the movie many times.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being young – years ago I was his age, too. But….
Up against the negative fantasies of Cruz et al, abuts a far more positive reality for the tens of millions of people of this United States who are about to have access to affordable health care. Apparently, this is seen as a threat to freedom: creeping socialism, which rhymes with communism, and is a synonym for evil amongst people who should know better, including those who have long reaped the benefits of Medicare and Social Security, or even of corporate and large employer medical care plans, and just don’t get it…and if the Tea Party has its way, will never get it.
So be it.
The people I don’t understand – well, I do understand, but it stretches credulity – are the young people (my oldest childs age – near 50 and down), who feel they don’t need health care, and don’t want to pay for somebody else’s medical problem.
Just a couple of hours ago a friend came up to me to tell me about another mutual friend, Tom, who’s healthy as can be, a professional tennis coach, and was doing his daily 20+ mile solitary bike ride yesterday. He stopped at a fast food place for a snack, and choked on the food. Long story short, he had no ID on him, an ambulance picked him up and took him to hospital. He’s in a coma, and the prospects of any kind of recovery at all are dim. It took some hours for his wife to find out why he was so late, or where he was. Likely she used another society institution, 911, or a call to the police department, another civic institution we hope never to have to encounter. They were her safety net in this metropolitan area of 3 million.
When this unknown man was picked up yesterday, there was no question about paying a bill. Our country doesn’t allow people to die on the street.
Maybe that’s why the cynical young say “I don’t have to pay for insurance; they’ll pay for me if I need it”.
Maybe they’re (very sadly) right.
But what if everyone had this selfish attitude?
I learned my lesson about insurance very early, two weeks after I got out of the Army in 1963.
My wife was a new teacher, then, and coincident with my return home she had to quit teaching due to an undiagnosed kidney disease which would ultimately take her life two years later.
I could have gotten hospitalization insurance before she was diagnosed, but “couldn’t afford it”. As it turned out, she was uninsurable even then. Her condition was, it turned out, almost life-long pre-existing. Back then, I learned about things like public welfare, and the role of the greater community as a protective umbrella.
Yes, there are people so selfish and cynical that it doesn’t occur to them to consider themselves part of society. Rather, they prefer to cling to the fantasy that they, and only they, are in charge of their destiny, and everyone else should have the same responsibility.
That’s how I see Ted Cruz Inc.