How did we become this?

It is day 15 of the shutdown.

All because Tea Partiers hate Obama and what to destroy the ACA.

I read the news.  (Less and less, I do admit.)  I worry about how we’re going to make it if this thing goes on more than a month.  (And before you say “That’s not going to happen” — the shutdown in 1996 lasted 21 days (over Christmas yet, the bastards) and the people in Congress at that time were horrible, but not batshit crazy like now.)

And then there are the reductions in the SNAP program, which make me feel sick to my stomach.

And then I go to work, where in between the people telling me that Obamacare is going to destroy the country (or at least the middle class) I hear the other stories:  people who have been going to ERs (and that only when they absolutely had to) because they had no insurance; people without insurance because with this economy they have lost their full-time jobs and can only find temporary or part-time work, if they find work at all, and have no way to pay for medical care; people with pre-existing conditions or who are close to retirement age (but not old enough for Medicare) who the insurance companies refuse to even look at; people prioritizing which of the medicines that they are supposed to be on did they absolutely need and which could they sort of be without, even if it had long-term ill effects on their health; people celebrating that finally, finally, someone seems to be on their side.

[Don’t get me wrong: the ACA is not perfect.  The plans are still expensive (which is why there is premium assistance) but they are less expensive (often by several hundred dollars) than what you could get if you were buying insurance on the private market.  And yes, some people are going to pay higher premiums, although with the added benefit that your insurance company cannot drop you if you get cancer, or if they find out you have a pre-existing condition.  And, judging from a lot of the people I have talked to, the most important part of the ACA is the expansion of Medicaid.]

There are so many people who are worse off  in this world.  I have a roof (at least for this month — we just paid the mortgage), I have food on my table, I have health insurance.

I need to remember all of that, and stay grounded.

But I still look at the situation and wonder — how did we get here? How did we — so rich in technology, in resources, in food — develop into such a nation of uncaring bastards that we really do not, as a nation, care for our fellow human beings?  That we are willing to say to millions of children, “we don’t care if you starve?” How can there be people who want to say to those who are seriously ill and can’t get insurance, “It’s not my problem — go ahead and die?”

It looks like Social Darwinism is alive and well in the new millennium.  We are all the poorer for it, in moral, ethical, and spiritual terms, if not financially.

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