The more conservative elements of our great society have been sending some very interesting messages of late. It has been suggested that the current kerfuffle over Medicaid in the new version of national healthcare could be solved if people would just go out and get jobs. Furthermore, I suspect that within that circle there are also unsympathetic responses to the growing accounts from Americans of what will happen to them if the proposed cuts are enacted. After all, so what if you must sell your house to pay for healthcare or that your debilitated elder parent can no longer be cared for in a nursing home and must come to live with you? This is America, pal. Stop whining. If you can’t take the heat, then we don’t want to hear about it. We only like winners, especially wealthy ones.
The whole thing reminds me of the infamous line attributed to Marie Antoinette in the run up to the French Revolution. The story goes that she was asked, after the streets of Paris had been showered with sugar to imitate snow for the benefit of the 1%, about the suffering of the French people. Legend says she shrugged off the question with the curt reply, “let them eat cake”. It was not too long after that, that the French people responded and she ended up another victim of the guillotine.
Is there a corollary here, or am I just trying to be clever? I think there is. The current attempt to change what is now in place (without even trying to repair the current format, fixing what is wrong and keeping what is good) is woefully lacking in basic common humanity and compassion ostensibly exhibited by the unfortunate Marie Antoinette. If the story is true, she clearly did not care about the French people and it seems neither do the politicians who are trying to shove a draconian approach to something that is an essential commodity for every American. They focus on numbers related to debt reduction and tax breaks as cost effectiveness and, the biggest hypocrisy of all, the “freedom” to walk away from coverage at a time when the American people need them to be visionary and humane. It also begs another question: what should we be spending our national treasure on if not our people? They don’t seem to want to deal with that. Instead they just keep saying to the people who need their help the most, “you’ll be fine…. just eat cake”.
And that brings up another rather conservative sacred cow……. if a baker can refuse to make a cake because he does not agree with the lifestyle of the people ordering the cake, or he can claim that baking that cake violates his rights because his religion is somehow perverted ….it might be increasingly difficult to find someone to bake that cake to feed to the masses.
Maybe that’s another issue for another day, though.