What has happened with regards to the deepening health care crisis is a symptom of what is deeply wrong with governance in America. Politicians of only two political parties occupy virtually all elected offices in state and national government. And corporations, with their PACs, simultaneously flood both major parties, and elected officials of both parties with massive campaign “donations” and, on top of that, billions of dollars, annually, for lobbying “access” and pressure on government officials.
The problem with that is that the two major political parties in the United States are in thrall to huge corporations and the super-rich, and have decided to depend, first and foremost, on their money and support.
In return, the corporations and the super-rich expect BOTH parties to defend and advance corporate interests.
And they understand and expect that the two parties will jockey for political advantage while doing so.
The two parties squabble and fight each other tooth and nail for incumbency and dominance over one another in electoral politics.
The two parties often appear to play “good cop/bad cop” roles, but neither party truly fights against corporate interests for the needs or the rights of the people when there is such a conflict.
And both parties cooperate in making laws, regulations, and procedures that prevent the emergence of any political representation of the people other than from within the two-party discipline and structure.
The two parties take any position that they think will give them political advantage on issues deemed irrelevant or unimportant to corporate and oligarchic power and profit. (For example, abortion rights, race relations, immigration law, voter fraud, the death penalty, definition of marriage, criminal justice, or womens rights are types of issues that the two parties have free rein to manipulate and exploit as they wish, for the political advantage of the party.)
Corporate interests expect that issues important to them will be handled quietly. If legislative action becomes necessary, corporations prefer that it be unexamined by public hearings or the media. At rare instances, these issues rise to a crisis status and public attention and controversy may ensue. (For example, the health care crisis, the TARP bailout, climate change, and the worldwide war to end “terrorism”.)
The two parties then both carefully stake out certain opposing positions on those issues. But none of those positions threatens corporate interests. And the two parties exercise discipline over party members to prevent the conflict between people’s needs and corporate interests from being publicly examined, much less resolved in favor of the people.
The two parties appear to argue and fight with each other, and in fact they often do fight viciously and tenaciously. But what they fight for is the political advantage of their party. They never fight for the people when that means fighting against the corporations and the super-rich. Any struggle that pits the rights and needs of the people against the power and profits of the corporations and the super-rich is “off-the-table”. Both parties do it because each party believes it is in the best interest of the party and of their well-heeled, highly valued sponsors.
So dramatic struggles between the two parties over issues and arguments are really just jousting matches between them for temporary political advantage. Corporate interests are never actually placed at risk in those matches. Subjects that are framed to be highly controversial and divisive, but do not involve issues of any inherent importance to corporate interests or the super-rich (such as abortion rights, for example) become “wedge issues”, which are deployed by corporate strategists to derail and distract from reforms and initiatives that rise from the true grassroots and would serve the needs and rights of the people at the expense of corporate and oligarchic power, privilege, and profits. Those set-piece jousting matches serve two additional important functions.
With the cooperation of the corporate mass media, these jousts serve to distract attention from the roots of troubling and dangerous crises, and from important problems and solutions that would establish that government exists to serve people and not corporations.
And, with full cooperation of the corporate mass media, these jousting matches serve to divisively exaggerate, exacerbate, and exploit the natural diversity that exists in America with respect to nationality, personal background and experience, culture, psychological makeup, and beliefs.
This is why virtually the entire Congress and Administration of the national government (acting with astounding collegiality on this particular matter, despite their fierce party allegiances, and with the complete cooperation of the mass media) immediately and swiftly placed the simple, workable, and only solution to the health care crisis that looms ever larger in America, “off-the-table” and out of sight and public consideration, before hearings were held, before articles were written, before media programs, interviews, and commentaries were even scheduled. This decision by both parties was merely (and quietly) announced publicly by majority party leaders. The decision itself was never the subject of public discussion or hearings or debate. The one simple, easy, money saving, and obvious solution to the health care crisis that has been carefully researched, proposed, and reviewed for years, and long advocated by serious, caring, non-partisan health care professionals and citizens alike, was not even discussed in public by the politicians of both major political parties. It was shunned, disdained, and ignored.
The proposal to simply strengthen and enhance Medicare, and phase in its coverage to all Americans, was derailed at the outset, by both political parties, at the insistence of their corporate sponsors. Virtually every family knows that Medicare has served the difficult population of the elderly and the disabled well and efficiently since it was enacted and implemented over the strenuous opposition of the same corporate forces that now oppose the truly effective and significant health care reform that America so badly needs.
The two party system, controlled by corporate and oligarchical power, is, inherently and invariably, ‘a divider not a uniter’, and cannot serve the people. The current legal interpretations (that corporations have the same constitutional rights as human beings, and that distributing money is protected as though it were free speech) are destroying democracy and human rights. Therefore, the American people must bring those ways of doing things to an end. We must do that in order to secure the health care system that American families need, and in order to get a government that is of, by, and for the people, rather than one that is by and for the corporations and the super-rich. We cannot wimp out, drop out, and opt out of our responsibility to gain and defend democracy. It’s up to us to leave a decent legacy for the future. We may not be the “greatest generation”, but we are here now, and it must be done.
Postscript: See an excellent summary of the current status of health insurance reform measures currently before the Congress, with links to articles examining the proposals and recommending how we should respond, in sections 1 and 2 of Jack Lohman’s latest eNewsletter #110.
Don’t miss this summary analysis of the current proposed bills by Rose Ann DeMoro, RN.
References: analyses of the health care reform measures currently before Congress, and background of the health care crisis.
http://www.healthcare-now “Healthcare – Now!”
http://www.pnhp.org “Physicians for a National Health Program“
http://www.throwtherascalsout.org “Moneyed Politicans” and Jack Lohman’s eNewsletters
guaranteedhealthcareforall.org “Single Payer Alliance“
http://www.1payer.net “Single Payer Action“
mobilizeforhealthcare.org “Mobilize for Health Care for All“
The health care crisis, and the “enhanced Medicare for All” solution, spotlighted over the past seven years by Clyde Winter