I was reading Athenae’s post about the RedState Morans, and it all circled around back to a theme I’d been thinking about for some time.
We all have the “As long as I get mine” gene. I know that. There are situations where I would be all for saving the women and children first ’cause I have boobies and I’m kinda short. But when First Drafters raised $700 to send a soldier we’ve never met a bunch of cool stuff, well, it was a good reminder that we aren’t always slaves to our baser instincts.
How many of those teabaggers screaming about socialized medicine look at Jerry’s kids and say, “You’re on your own, kid”? I’m serious. I’d be willing to bet there are a lot of folks on that side of the great health care divide that do donate to charities like that. Why is it so different when it’s the government acting as the go-between? I get that poor people don’t always look like moon-faced cherubs in wheelchairs, which is why the poster child got invented in the first place. But jeez, are we really that shallow as a nation? (Don’t answer that–it’s too depressing…) Why is it we can be so generous on an individual level, but somehow collectively we turn into Mr. Potter?
I mean, if every American chipped in $20 a month, that’d cover80% of the plan the President wants. (July 2008 Census count of American population = 304,059,724, multiply that by $240, and you get nearly $73 billion a year. The President wants a plan that costs$900 billion over ten years.) I could manage that, and I’d be happy to chip in $20 a month for a couple of good friends who are without coverage right now and can’t afford it. $60 a month to get guaranteed health coverage, no questions asked? Hell, yeah!
In World War II, we went on rationing. We had to give up a lot of comforts as a nation so that we could fight and win that war. And when it was framed in that way–that this was your patriotic duty–people did it. Sure, there was grumbling, sure there were people who tried to get around it, but by and large, people did it. And there was the expectation that if you didn’t go along with it, you were a slacker, you were helping the enemy, you were a bad person. I know the good old days were never that good (just watch a Preston Sturges movie and you’ll see that), but at least then patriotism actually meant supporting something that was for the good of the whole freakin’ country. When did that mentality get turned on its head? When did we start demonizing the guy who wants to help everybody else?
I think the problem is the “everybody else” part. That’s a little daunting. So put it in simple terms. What would you do to help somebody you know who needs health insurance but can’t get it? Would you give $20 a month? $40? More?
In case you want an ear worm, here’s thetitle track.