Finding our protest voice

This isn’t necessarily a rant against the tea party, but against our priorities.

Nine years ago, we were attacked on our own soil on 9/11.  As a nation I think we felt shocked and hurt, and wanted to strike out at something to ease the pain.  We wanted justice, we wanted revenge.  Bush took advantage of that, and with the almost complete approval of Congress, led us into Iraq and Afghanistan, with different reasons for each one.  Iraq was supposed to be preventative, Afghanistan punitive.  The reasons for invading Iraq eventually began to unravel, and only time will tell if it was worth the cost.  Afghanistan is no better for us now than it was six years ago.  We’ve spent trillions of dollars and, more importantly, thousands of lives in these efforts, and at least initially we as a nation approved of these endeavours.  It was only after a few years that our dissatisfaction with the wars arose and we began to ask questions and protest.  I use the royal “we” there; while I was 100% against invading Iraq from the start, I was in favor of going in to Afghanistan.  I think I was wrong in supporting that.

Now, we have a president who is doing a pretty crappy job as a whole.  He’s not much different from his predecessor, keeping most of the same policies and reneging on his promise for an open administration, in contrast to the previous crew.  However, one thing he did keep his promise on was to enact sweeping health care reform.  His purpose in doing this can be argued: some will say he just wants more governmental control over our lives, others would say he’s altruistic in this and sincerely wants all Americans to have health care.  Perhaps, as usual, the answer is somewhere in-between.

For various reasons, this has been protested even well before it was made.  Most point to the cost and say it will destroy small businesses and lead to higher taxes across the board.  Many of those people also say it’s another giant step toward socializing the government even further.  I think these arguments have at least a base of validity, but like rumors they tend to exaggerate with each telling until they balloon into something absurd and unreal.

I love that we live in a country where we’re free to protest as we do.  I’m grateful that in a few weeks I’ll be going to a rally to meet with like-minded people and share ideas and BS with them.  However, I’m disappointed that at least part of the response to health care is that “if you don’t work you don’t deserve it” and a lack of compassion.

I understand times are really fucking hard right now.  I know that most people out there are watching every dime (currency that, along with the penny, we need to get rid of, but that’s another topic) and they can’t afford any more taxes or garnished salary for health care.  I think those are perfectly valid reasons to protest the health care reform.

I just wish that there wasn’t a large element of “you’re not entitled to it” mixed in.  What the fuck kind of skewed priorities do we have when that’s the case?  Let’s go wherever we want around the world and do what we want, regardless of the body count, but fuck giving our citizens basic health care!  They haven’t earned it, those lazy mooching bastards.

I’m not a bleeding heart, but I’m not heartless, either.  I do believe in earning your keep and working hard to get what you want (quiet, coworkers!).  I’ve done that all of my life.  I started working with my dad at his auctions when I was seven (true, I had no choice, but still) and then on a farm in the summers when I was 14.  I know what hard work is.  I also feel some compassion for others, perhaps more than many others do.  There are a lot of things my taxes go to that I don’t approve of; I’d much rather focus on them than on health care.  Health care isn’t frivolous.  Yes, there is fraud and waste in the system that needs to be addressed, and I won’t argue against that.  I’m just arguing against people not deserving health care.  I think they do, and I’d rather that be a legacy of our country than the body counts and empty coffers from war.

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