I got an e-mail from Blogger saying they'll cancel my blog if I don't discuss US Healthcare at least once - apparently this is what blogs are for this year, not unlike last year when I was required to write about New Zealand electing its new pope at least once.
The last time the entire world got swept up in the U.S. Media cycle was the Election '08 - it's happened before that as well, and will happen again, I'm sure. But I've got to just say that it was a lot more fun having every world news site monopolized by McCain, Billary, Obama and Giuliani than it is now having BBC talking about whether or not U.S. should socialize health care.
Few reasons for that: with the campaigning thing, it was fun to pick a horse and root for it. Each had strengths and weaknesses, and the polls were changing -- it was fluid and interesting and it was a character-driven narrative. With this healthcare thing, it's issue oriented, and it's super-polarized, and the compelling thing is not a McCain blunder causing a hit in the polls or "Did Hillary play the race card or not?" but it's "How shrill have the republicans gotten this week?" and "How many times was Obama compared to Hitler yesterday?" -- ROK Drop even suggested that the US political landscape is starting to look as shrill and polarized as the Korean one.
When stuff like this happens, I die inside a little. Is this REALLY how people engage relevant issues?
Anyway, my dear blog-friend/friend in real life Tamie has written an interesting blog post asking how Christians in America can quote scripture as they basically assert that they don't think the poor should be helped...when helping the poor has been one of the basic tenets of Christianity, pretty much... all the way until the political party that had co-opted Christianity wanted to oppose socialized health care. You should read what she wrote, if you care about the way religion and politics so often bleed into each other in the US.
For me, I feel like socialized health care is something that every country's going to eventually end up doing, as its infrastructure becomes able to accomodate it. "The arc of history is long, but it bends toward justice" (MLK Jr.) (and also toward societies figuring out how to help their own out). It's more a question of whether US will come up with some form of socialized health care this year, or in 2026, after being made a laughingstock by other, smaller, poorer countries, who HAVE managed to help out the little person (by which I mean the working poor, not the vertically challenged) sooner than they, because some rich people didn't like to share, and the health insurance lobby was too successful protecting their income.
But that's just me, and my political leanings have been made pretty clear by now, so you don't have to believe or agree with what I say... just don't compare me to Hitler.