and what do YOU think?Posted: 26/02/2010 | |
the last couple of weeks have been kind of exhausting for me, and not just because i’m blogging every day. see, in Minnesota, there’s this program called General Assistance Medical Care (GAMC), which funds health insurance for the poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick in our state. these are folks making less than $8,000 a year, who’ve fallen on hard luck, who’ve grown up in poverty, who have mental illnesses, are veterans, are homeless and/or are desperately sick. i’ve been working on this a lot, like last week, for example, when i organized that vigil.
last spring, our Governor line-item vetoed this program, to help balance our state’s budget. i’m not going to get in the politics of why; let’s just leave it as he vetoed it. it’s gone, by the stroke of one person’s pen.
over the past nine months, grassroots efforts have shone a light on the Governor’s veto, which effectively balances the state’s budget on the backs of the poor. a logical, money-saving bill was written, passed in both the State House and Senate, in an overwhelmingly bipartisan way. and then it was vetoed. again.
i guess what has been making these past few weeks so difficult is that i honesty CANNOT wrap my brain around the argument against GAMC. it fundamentally shakes me, makes me so angry, to read comments like this:
Greed is when you demand others pay for services you consume. Greed is the result of envy for things you don’t have and are too lazy to earn. Those on GAMC who are “vulnerable, dependent and needy” are that way because Democrats encourage them to be.
i’ve been stewing on this, mostly because it appears to be so straightforward. it is SUCH a common sense argument. but then why does it make my skin feel all crawly, my neck feel like it needs to be cracked, my eyeballs like i want to pull them out of their sockets?
are there really people who exist who feel that they are immune to poverty, immune to the chance that someday, s/he might be the one in need of a service s/he can’t pay for? do they think homeless people deserve to be homeless, don’t care that they’re homeless, don’t want a stable life? i don’t understand. i firmly believe that each person currently on GAMC IS ALSO every one of the rest of us, in another life, or a few years ago, or perhaps a few years from now. how can one person be so arrogant as to believe that s/he earned everything s/he has, all by himself? how can one person be so shortsighted? what IS this arrogance that infects us? what is this PREJUDICE that we hold so close to our hearts? when it comes down to the sacrifice of money, versus the sacrifice of bodies… shouldn’t bodies win out?
this is what GAMC is all about. without medications, without appropriate health care, people WILL die. i know it sounds extreme. i know it because i hate writing it, because i typically shy away from anything too extreme. but it’s the ugly reality that no one wants to hear: without prescriptions, a person with diabetes (cancer, PTSD, heart disease, anxiety issues, depression…) will inevitably die, in all likelihood because they weren’t taking the meds they need.
i don’t know. i’m STRUGGLING with this. that “other perspective” is neither logical nor compassionate, two places i most often go to when making decisions about what i believe.
my strength, academically, has usually been the ability to understand other people’s perspectives. it’s what makes my spiritual life so undefined, because i can so clearly see the rationale for other religions, and other modes of (un)belief. but this way of thinking, the kind that is based on the refusal to acknowledge where another person is coming from… it escapes me.
someone comment, yah? help me figure this out. what do you think?