by Madeleine Kando
The Supreme Court’s decision today to uphold the Constitutionality of the Individual Mandate took me so by surprise that I still cannot believe it. It looks like the Republicans’ appeal to try to overturn the Reform bit them in the ass big time. Whether the Justices came to their decision because they were trying to protect their own image, to follow the middle road or to try to convince the public that the Supreme Court hasn't been 'politicized', the bottom line is that this is a historic moment, both from a personal perspective and for America in general.
Many decades ago, when I first came to this country, I already felt that America's lack of universal health care was a big stain on this country's international standing and that most Europeans' view of America as a 'dog eat dog' society, was justified. Fresh from the Netherlands, I couldn't understand how a nation could allow so many millions of people to fend for themselves when it came to their health care. I considered affordable, universal health care as birth right, the right to be treated without questions asked. It has been a source of shame, especially when I had to confront my former European friends and explain to them why I liked living in America when all they saw was this barbaric aspect of this country. It took this long, and it is indeed almost a life time, for me to finally be able to say: 'America has joined the ranks of civilized countries'. I am happy because I know that this is a turning point in America's history.
It will take another ten years before Americans realize that this is the only way to move forward if they want to keep their country from falling behind and be considered a 'banana republic', where only the people who can afford it will get health care.
Yesterday, I was all caught up in writing about the 6 billion dollars that the Super Pacs are spending on political campaigns. I was trying to figure out how much better that 6 billion dollars could be spent, how it could alleviate the huge amount of poverty that we have in this country. I came up with these figures:
The official poverty level in the US is $11.000 or less. For a family of 4 it is $23.000. That means that if those 6 billion dollars were spent on the poor rather than on wasteful television advertising to badmouth a political opponent, over half a million people could be taken out of poverty for a whole year. Half a million! With that kind of money they could forego hunger, homelessness, misery and death. I have listened to the discussions about the super pacs, how it corrupts the political process, how a handful of rich people can buy the elections and how Senator Bernard Sanders is proposing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn the 'Citizens United' ruling by the Supreme Court. What I missed in all the discussions is how misallocated this obscene amount of money is.
Today, because of the Supreme Court ruling on Health Care, I realize that what Chief Justice Roberts was trying to do is to self-correct. On the one hand the Justices have created a monster, which hopefully will be overturned by Roberts' Amendment, on the other hand, today, they have voted in favor of the people, which is, in my opinion, what a Supreme Court is meant to do: to uphold the moral standard of a nation, through the law of the land. Today's ruling has made a believer out of me again. I believe in America again. This is the best anti-depressant I have taken in a long time. leave comment here
Thursday, June 28, 2012
by Madeleine Kando