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Our family, like so many of us here on Kos, has its share of right wing believers.  When my wife posted a link on her Facebook page to this wonderful infographic:

Why your stitches cost $1,500

she got a reply from her uncle:  “healthcare is not the responsibility of the government.”  Well, besides the fact that he’s on government run, government subsidized Medicare (my wife’s Facebook reply), I couldn’t pass up a response.  So here’s my reply to his assertion.  My wife also put a link on her page to this diary.  Apparently on Facebook you can’t have a reasoned statement of length.  Main reason I avoid it, though it has its uses.

Dear uncle XXX:

OK, this comment is as nuts as it gets.  Government has an interest in protecting our national security, right?  Surely you grant that defending us is the primary obligation of government.  If our defense was left to everyone to handle on their own, we’d all be speaking Russian or some other language by now for sure.

So of course government, just like you and I, has a major interest in everyone’s healthcare.  If the Black Plague struck, or as happened to us here in Hong Kong, as SARS did in 2003, and government said, “hey, you’re on your own; it’s no interest of ours” we would all likely be dead by now.  AIDS, malaria, typhoid fever, scarlet fever, yellow fever, black plague, smallpox, polio, strep throat, tetanus, rabies, and on and on for a frighteningly long list of communicable diseases, were frequent killers in our world until government stepped in to organize and help us defend ourselves.  The only way to wipe out smallpox, that used to kill people by the millions and wiped out the American Indians so that European immigrants could step in and take their land away from them, was government mandates to vaccinate everyone.  And our government joined others in pushing this around the world until smallpox is extinct except in a very few, highly protected (by government) labs.

Governments in the west who had your silly ideas that healthcare was no concern to them discovered to their horror that Hitler had created an army of incredibly healthy warriors who wiped the floors with our boys. (Your brother the two times Bronze Star winner told me that the German soldiers were ten times better than the allied soldiers.  Some of that was training and some of that was better government-provided healthcare, education, and nutrition.)  The British particularly discovered that their people were so unhealthy that even the draft could not find enough healthy people to fill the ranks.  That’s why they started the National Healthcare Service after the war.  They knew if they didn’t, the next time they might not be lucky enough to have the Americans—including your brothers and my wife’s father and my father—and the Russians come to their rescue.  The German Socialists almost took over the planet before their opponents could even get organized.  And if their government-funded scientists had discovered the bomb before our government-funded scientists did, you can be sure everyone in America who wasn’t dead or a slave would recognize the value of government involvement in much more than just healthcare.

I agree that government shouldn’t be involved in many things.   What business does government have in who marries whom for whatever reason?  Why should it have a say in what a woman does with her own body?  But it surely must be involved in other areas.  Protecting us against violent criminals, which some folks appear to characterize as a form of “health” care that government should stay out of, and who advocate that everyone should go around everywhere armed, is something I want government involved in.  I don’t want kids in school having guns, nor do I want their teachers to have them, nor the parents picking them up from school.  I can just imagine what weekends would be like if all the sports fans went armed and inebriated to football games.  Policing ourselves within reason is okay.  Abolishing the police altogether because “personal security is not the responsibility of the government” is not.

I want the police to come when I call them.  I don’t know how to do CSI work on my own.  I couldn’t afford to pay for my own personal cop to follow me around or lab tech to investigate crimes against me.  I want fire protection too, and I’m willing to pay for it and make others who aren’t willing to pay for it whether they like it or not.  If their house catches fire it might burn mine down too if there are no firemen on call.  So of course healthcare, which protects us all from each other’s communicable diseases and from communicable diseases spreading across borders, is the proper business of a government doing the job I pay it to do.  

We have tried the private approach—get government off my back—policy you advocate for the last 30 years or more, and you can see the results.  Americans live less long than others in many other countries.  We pay far more for what little healthcare we get.  We are sicker than people in other countries are.   We have to worker harder for less.  Our kids don’t do as well in school, in part because of lousy nutrition pushed on us by corporations that are also taking over the government because, well, people like you were deceived into thinking you hated government and just wanted it to go away, and so stayed out of making it work for us and be responsible to us.  So here we are, owned lock, stock and barrel by giant private firms that don’t care if we live or die so long as they can make a profit off it.

No, healthcare is not the responsibility of the government.  Healthcare is the responsibility of us all, just like democratic government is our responsibility.  We are supposed to own and direct the government, and I want to work with my fellow citizens to help pay for a government that does its job of more effectively protecting me and my children (and maybe someday grandchildren) from the many things that threaten our lives.  That is what it means to be a citizen in our democracy.  Isn’t that the democracy—the form of government—you and your brothers risked your lives to defend?

Sincerely,

Your niece’s husband, the pointy-headed liberal professor living in “Red China”—with better, government-provided healthcare.

Originally posted to Global Expats on Sat May 14, 2011 at 03:20 PM PDT.

Also republished by J Town.

Poll

So how do you handle your right-wing relatives?

3%1 votes
0%0 votes
3%1 votes
18%6 votes
24%8 votes
9%3 votes
0%0 votes
33%11 votes
0%0 votes
6%2 votes
3%1 votes

| 33 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (18+ / 0-)

    America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

    by monkeybrainpolitics on Sat May 14, 2011 at 03:20:18 PM PDT

  •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)

    This reflects FB discussions I have had with many, both related and not.  I had a hard time picking my vote above, as I have tried all those tactics except moving overseas -- but don't think I haven't thought about it!!

    Can't think of a thing here with which I disagree. I don't know the WWII history well, so will take your word on physical health cause and effect, as you've laid out.

    Oh, and by the way, my final means of dealing with FB discussions with relatives was to unfriend them all. They are in-laws. I figure if I need to know something, my husband can let me know.

    I woke up this morning only to realize, it's opposite day again.

    by Melanie in IA on Sat May 14, 2011 at 04:27:16 PM PDT

    •  Actually, hadn't thought about the unfriend (0+ / 0-)

      action!  Should have put that on the poll.  That's what I get for not being on Facebook.  It's got to be a satisfying thing to unfriend somebody for their comments.  Sometimes, with the really stubborn ones, that's all you can do.  But most of the time even they hear what you say and they will, or at least might, remember it if and when something happens to them to reconsider the role of government.  Nothing like a flood, a fire, a hurricane or some other disaster to make people reconsider things.  Shame it has to take that form so often though before people can put themselves into someone else's shoes.

      America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

      by monkeybrainpolitics on Sat May 14, 2011 at 04:54:30 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I never unfriend anyone (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        angelajean

        Even the people I'm fighting with I'll stay connected with. Sometimes others of my friends on FB stand on the sidelines and watch the battle take shape, and many times it's been an opportunity for me to answer everything and sway someone else to my position.

    •  to monkeybrainpolitics - you're right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      princesspat, monkeybrainpolitics

      We do need government in health care. Thanks for the excellent diary.

      sig...You just ran into a hardcore progressive who's just another working stiff with an MBA degree & therefore a vociferous labor union supporter [smile]

      by Democrats Ramshield on Sun May 15, 2011 at 03:36:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I simply suggest to them (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    princesspat, monkeybrainpolitics

    that even though the cost of operating a national single payer plan is far far less than the cost of health services now in the US, it could be made even cheaper by simply excluding from it anyone who didn't want it and/or wouldn't put up even the slightest fight for it - although I do think it should cover their children, and they should have to pay premiums for their children but not for themselves.

    Antemedius | Liberally Critical Thinking

    by Edger on Sat May 14, 2011 at 06:02:58 PM PDT

  •  I like to ask people: (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    princesspat, Eric Nelson, BachFan

    How is this different than paying for roads you don't drive on or national parks you don't visit? They only exist because we pool our money, by choice, due to the representatives we elect.

    Or: a large factor in our own health care costs is that we have to cover the people who don't pay. This freezes that part of the cost forever.

  •  Your concluding paragraph resonates with me..... (3+ / 0-)
    No, healthcare is not the responsibility of the government.  Healthcare is the responsibility of us all, just like democratic government is our responsibility.  We are supposed to own and direct the government, and I want to work with my fellow citizens to help pay for a government that does its job of more effectively protecting me and my children (and maybe someday grandchildren) from the many things that threaten our lives.  That is what it means to be a citizen in our democracy.  Isn’t that the democracy—the form of government—you and your brothers risked your lives to defend?

    The stubborn quarrel re health care puzzles and saddens me. Thanks for writing.

    Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

    by princesspat on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:19:38 PM PDT

  •  Government is a vehicle for Americans (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, princesspat

    to combine our resources (of the people) and invest in our country (by the people) for the good of all Americans (for the people).  We need to stop letting our government be a tool for corporate interests to rule not for the good of all but for the profit of a few.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

    by ahumbleopinion on Sat May 14, 2011 at 08:48:27 PM PDT

  •  I handle them with I story from Dugits.. a Kossack (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    monkeybrainpolitics, princesspat

    Dugits lovely story on socialism

    •    "Socialism"
    This morning I was awoken by my alarm clock powered by electricity generated by the public power monopoly regulated by the US department of energy.
    I then took a shower in the clean water provided by the municipal water utility.
    After that, I turned on the TV to one of the FCC regulated channels to see what the national weather service of the national oceanographic and atmospheric administration determined the weather was going to be like using satellites designed, built, and launched by the national aeronautics and space administration. I watched this while eating my breakfast of US department of agriculture inspected food and taking the drugs which have been determined as safe by the food and drug administration.
    At the appropriate time as regulated by the US congress and kept accurate by the national institute of standards and technology and the US naval observatory, I get into my national highway traffic safety administration approved automobile and set out to work on the roads build by the local, state, and federal departments of transportation, possibly stopping to purchase additional fuel of a quality level determined by the environmental protection agency, using legal tender issed by the federal reserve bank. On the way out the door I deposit any mail I have to be sent out via the US postal service and drop the kids off at the public school.
    After spending another day not being maimed or killed at work thanks to the workplace regulations imposed by the department of labor and the occupational safety and health administration, enjoying another two meals which again do not kill me because of the USDA, I drive my NHTSA car back home on the DOT roads, to ny house which has not burned down in my absence because of the state and local building codes and fire marshal's inspection, and which has not been plundered of all it's valuables thanks to the local police department.
    I then log on to the internet which was developed by the defense advanced research projects administration and post on freerepublic.com and Fox news forums about how SOCIALISM in medicine is BAD because the government can't do anything right.
    "Crank up the crazy and rip off the knob!" Stephen Colbert
    by Dugits on Mon Oct 11, 2010 at 06:26:12 PM PDT

    I couldn't help but bring up this story for those "wrong wingers" that are family& friends and one cares about but are unaware of how essential our government is.

    No, healthcare is not the responsibility of the government.  Healthcare is the responsibility of us all, just like democratic government is our responsibility.
    ... And we are the government, at least that's what we're working for :)

    Thx monkeybrainpolitics

    •  This is one of my favorite excerpts (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Eric Nelson, princesspat

      thanks for posting it here again!  It's always worth another read, and another chance to send it on to cranky relatives.

      America needs a UNION NEWS channel. We (unions) have the money, we have the talent. Don't buy 30 second time slots on corporate media, union leaders; fund your own cable news channel and tell the real story 24/7/365

      by monkeybrainpolitics on Sun May 15, 2011 at 02:18:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Republished to J Town (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    monkeybrainpolitics

    You've been Republished in the J Town Babbling Brook

    burble burble

    I have been thinking about your words.....thanks again.

    Love is the lasting legacy of our lives

    by princesspat on Sun May 15, 2011 at 04:29:41 PM PDT

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