US Healthcare: The Cat is Out of the Bag
The internet, and the media in general, seems to do some very weird things. For instance, when its politically dangerous to say something, and then one person comes close to saying it, suddenly you find everyone running out to state said opinion. And so it was that last night I was relieved to hear the BBC’s Mark Mardell hinting candidly that all the Free-Healthcare-hating in America might, just possibly, be racist
Suddenly the damn has burst, the cat is out of the bag, the elephant in the room has been named loud and clear, and we’ve got everyone from President Jimmy Carter to a whole string of bloggers (example) saying it loud and clear: its about race.
Of course, it needs to be said that its about more than just Obama’s race. As Mardell states, and it needs to be stated loudly, its as much a perpetuation of racism in wealth distribution as it is racism towards Obama personally. We would expect a Black President to have more compassion for those he grew up alongside, we all do, and we all make decisions and set priorities based on our personal experience. This racism, if it exists, is towards all black Americans.
When slavery was abolished, every slave was supposed to be given 40 acres and a mule. This barely started before the remuneration was dumped and slaves were simply cast aside penniless. Since then, White America (and White Britain is little better) has perpetually abused its position, reinforced its sense of privilege, and exploited those who serve them.
Looking at the demographics involved in the protests, its basically the people who’ve made their money, got their health insurance and really really don’t want to give up a single cent of their wealth if they can’t help it; they’re white and well off. It is a reinforcement of the structural racism that dogs American society today.
Even if this isn’t all about Obama’s skin colour, that’s got something to do with it. Surely its time the Black population of America had its day of privilege? But those who hold the wealth are, perhaps understandably, fighting tooth and nail to avoid giving it up. And some of them are quite open about what they fear: a friend tells me a placard appeared on similar protests a few months ago that read “shouldn’t we call it the Black House now?”. One wonders how it took this long to get the words “its about racism” out into the open.
I’m starting to find myself feeling physically sick watching some of the Obama healthcare debates. They remind me of what horrible beings humans can turn into. I’d like to see some kind of goodness in the other side, but increasingly, its harder and harder not to put the categories of Good and Evil on the two sides of this debate. Where are the hearts of these people?
I could say much more. Some of it would involve swearing. Some of that would be entirely gratuitous. Anyhow, I think I should leave it here for now.