America is the wealthiest nation on Earth, but its people are mainly poor, and poor Americans are urged to hate themselves. To quote the American humorist Kin Hubbard, "It ain't no disgrace to be poor, but it might as well be." It is in fact a crime for an American to be poor, even though America is a nation of poor. Every other nation has folk traditions of men who were poor but extremely wise and virtuous, and therefore more estimable than anyone with power and gold. No such tales are told by the American poor. They mock themselves and glorify their betters. The meanest eating or drinking establishment, owned by a man who is himself poor, is very likely to have a sign on its wall asking this cruel question: "If you're so smart, why ain't you rich?" There will also be an American flag no larger than a child's hand--glued to a lollipop stick and flying from the cash register.
The above passage is Nazi propaganda, written by a former American who was an official in the German Ministry of Propaganda. The sad part is that it's true. Poor Americans are taught to hate themselves because they're poor, and the rich and powerful are their "betters." That's why we have a pack of millionaires in Congress who are attempting to take away health care from poor people. Because those millionaires can, and because the poor aren't rioting in the streets, demanding health care and a living wage. The poor have been taught to accept their poverty as something that can't be changed.
In every other developed country in the world, when a person gets a serious illness, he or she doesn't worry about how to pay doctor or hospital bills. That person's only concern is getting better, and that's the focus of the health care providers, as well. I've worked in the American health care system for close to 20 years, and I have seen people decide against necessary treatment because of the cost. People will choose death over expensive treatment, because they don't want to lose their houses or leave their family with incredible debt. There is something criminal about that.
Yes, as you can tell, this passage has made me step up on my soapbox. A little one. I'm just tired of seeing and hearing rich people tell me that I should be happy because I have to work two jobs to almost support my family. I'm tired of teaching college students who are going to graduate with debt that rivals that of small third world nations. And I'm tired of telling patients who are sick that they have a ten thousand dollar outstanding balance. That all sounds pretty criminal to me, too.
Americans are pretty dumb, though. They think they can't do anything to change these situations. They're afraid of rich politicians when rich politicians should be afraid of them. Maybe it's time to take to the streets like they do in nations like France. Time to demand our rights to universal healthcare, free education, and decent salaries for everyone. Those things aren't privileges reserved for the wealthy. They belong to everybody.
Saint Marty is thankful today for the Constitution, which guarantees me the freedom of speech. Perhaps the President of the United States should actually READ that document, not that he would understand it.