Want to Read Something Gross?

I’m not the kind of person who goes around making political comments on other websites. I have two reasons. One is that politics enrages me and when I start to talk about it, it’s hard for me to remain rational. The other is that I have a hard time believing that, beyond voting, there’s much that I can do to change things directly.

I can try to appeal to the better judgment of the people in power, but the whole system seems to me to be set up to keep the rich and powerful rich and powerful and the rest of us not. So, they’re going to do what they’re going to do, for better or for worse, and we’re going to have to live with it.

Our ways of making change have to be much more subversive.

So, the state of Tennessee has this problem. We have this program called TennCare which provides health insurance to a good portion of Tennesseans and when I mean a good portion, I mean like one in four or one in three. It provides better coverage than any federal government program. And, so, as you can imagine, it is the main expense in the state’s budget and it keeps getting more and more costly to the citizens of Tennessee.

Something must be done. But what?

I don’t know. What’s happening right now is that they’re kicking a quarter of a million people off of TennCare and some enrollees who will loose their coverage have occupied the governor’s office.

What will come of it? I don’t know that either. Probably not what the protestors want.

But here’s the thing, if most of these folks don’t have TennCare, they won’t have any insurance. And some of them will die.

This, to me, means that this ought to be a very solemn decision. Whatever we have to do, this is a grave situation. There’s nothing to indicate that this isn’t weighing heavily on the governor’s mind, but, if you’d like to read some really gross stuff, I recommend you head over to Pith in the Wind.

Here you’ll find such nuggets as:

So yeah, from an intellectual standpoint those people “kicked off” TennCare will either (a) find alternate forms of coverage; (b) pay for it out of their own pockets; or (c) forgo treatment, and, like all of us, eventually die. Too bad. So sad. But that’s life. The cliche that there are no free lunches simply has now come home to roost for this population.

And:

To laud a group’s convictions when their whole purpose is to take value created by someone else rather than actually add any value is quite telling indeed. I think in nature we call them parasites.

And:

Why are all the leftist activists (and, boy, this is a left wing bunch) not at work? I’ll bet they are graduate students, TA’s, gov’mint workers, you know the crowd, all on someone elses’ dime. Lot of 21st avenue slackers, I would guess

And:

I disagree with the premise that wealth redistribution is the solution for poverty, crime, and public health. It simply rewards indolent behavior at the expense of the producers thus contributing to a smaller economic pie upon which we all depend. Sure there are differences in income…but there were differences in behavior as well; and even our lowest earners enjoy a standard of living in the top 10% in the world. Would I be crying the blues if I was still living in my two bedroom trailer with two in diapers and scraping by on $900 a month? Well, maybe so; but that’s what night school, student loans and a work history of busting your ass. I agree with a basic safety net but a quarter of the population on a Cadillac insurance plan that even the highest earners can afford– one that includes no inducements not to over-consume and drive the costs through the roof for all of us? Guys, come back down to earth–your ivory tower is just an echo chamber for your flawed premises.

So, to sum up, the general argument by the conservatives over there seems to be “Well, tough shit if you die. You brought it on yourself by being poor.”*

I honestly don’t understand what conception of government these folks have.

I think I have a series of obligations to folks. Some obligations are stronger than others. I have deep and grave obligations to my family, deep obligations to my friends, important, but not as important obligations to my acquaintances and colleagues, and lesser, but still vital, obligations to my community and country and world, etc.

My efforts or lack thereof to meet those obligations affects the health of the whole group and meeting those obligations or not has far reaching implications. One doesn’t have to be a psychologist to see that my great grandmother’s failure to meet her obligation to raise her family in a loving, non-fearful, non-violent environment still echoes down even to both of my nephews who don’t have a stable home. This doesn’t mean that my brother is off the hook. He has even greater obligations to those children and his inability to meet those obligations has far reaching consequences. But that doesn’t mean that leaving the initial failure unaddressed doesn’t have continuing consequences as well.

And there are consequences for y’all too. I mean, think of poor Lavender Howse. I don’t know what obligations to him were not met, but the failure of his family and his community to meet them means that he now has done something so terrible that he can never make it right and indebted himself to the family of that man in ways they’d rather he hadn’t.

His fate and the fate of his family is now tied to the fate of that family. His life or death now means something to people who preferred they never even knew him. It’s the continuing insult after the initial crime.

We’re not a nation of individuals whose actions have no affect on others. We’re groups of people tied to each other through things as important as love and thing as slight as proximity. Your actions affect me and mine affect you.

One thing I hope the government would do is provide a means for us to meet our obligations to each other in ways we can’t do alone.

Does this mean that we can continue to provide health insurance to people who desperately need it? I don’t know. Personally, I wish we could. To me, having watched enough people I love desperately die, if another few pennies every time I bought a can of pop would help, I’m all for it.

But maybe we can’t. If that’s so, that’s not something to gloat about. We created an obligation to those people when we said that we’d provide them health insurance in the first place and now we’re going back on that. We’re going to fail to meet our obligations to them. That’s going to have consequences and the gloating going on about it, as if they’ve won the lottery of life and know it, and fuck everyone else not lucky enough, really sickens me.

*The only reason I can figure that these types of conservatives are anti-abortion is that they resent that they’re denied the chance to actually watch the “kids” die.

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The Importance of Having a Good Name

I don’t mean to downplay the seriousness of the crimes committed by Mr. Howse; he’s been in and out of trouble with the law for a lot of his teenage life.

But sometimes you can understand what might make a kid that deeply troubled.

Imagine if your name were Lavender. It just doesn’t even matter if they pronounce it Lah-vin-der, you’re still the kid named “Light Purple.” That’s gonna fuck with a kid.

A name like Lavender is basically assurance that you’re going to be violently mal-adjusted.