Why should I be responsible for Joe Biden’s brain aneurysms?

Richard Haarbauer

With the Democratic National Convention beginning this week, and Barack Obama announcing that he has finalized the Democratic image in selecting colleague Joe Biden as his running mate, expect little – if anything else – to be discussed in the mainstream press.

Because I am confident that the convention shall receive adequate, or what’s more likely to be insanely excessive analysis and coverage, I wish to address a topic that I feel is of far greater importance to the future of the country and the species than how graceful Hillary Clinton seemed before, during and after her speeches.

On the Aug. 23 edition of Fox News Channel’s “Cavuto on Business,” Jonathan Hoenig, a regular commentator and noted philanthropist, asked, “I know it sounds kind of curt in this age of political correctness and altruism, but why should I be responsible for paying for Joe Biden’s brain aneurysms?”

He was discussing the ever-frightening possibility that Obama and Biden might begin steps toward what is colloquially referred to by the not-so-euphemistic title: socialized health care.

Why indeed. Why should any American care about the 45 million members of their society who live without health insurance? Everybody knows the health care system is working exactly as it should. People like Hoenig who are one step away from achieving full-fledged sociopath status would say health care should be rationed according to wealth.

This is a reflection of large-scale efforts aimed at discouraging social solidarity and encouraging people to think about nothing else besides maximizing their consumption. Despite these efforts, the American people, when asked, still overwhelmingly feel that everybody ought to have decent health care regardless of their income.

Why then do we not yet have such a system? If 70 percent of the population is in favor of universal coverage, then shouldn’t it be reflected in our governmental policy? Not when only giant corporations are factored into the decision-making process instead of the people.

If a vast majority of Americans think we should stop threatening Iran and work toward a solution that doesn’t involve confrontation, then why is even Obama still “leaving all options on the table?”

If a vast majority of Americans, and quite significantly the vast majority of Iraqis, think that the U.S. should leave the country, then why are we building what are referred to by the logically paradoxical title “semi-permanent bases” in Iraq?

The country needs more than just a change in party or a change in the racial makeup of the president. Social change does not come about because a benevolent leader says he will bring it.

Civil rights were not achieved because Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream. Women’s rights did not come along because Frances Willard said they should. And the illegal occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan aren’t going to end because Barack Obama knew they were a bad idea to begin with.

Social change occurs only when lots and lots of people, almost all of whom will never be known or recognized in history books, are doing difficult and inconvenient things aimed at achieving these social goals.

Far too many Americans have what I call a Cheneyist conception of how a democracy works. That is, they have their input once every four years in selecting one or the other faction of the Big Business party, and then they think they should shut up and get back to consuming as many things as they possibly can.

If it’s change that you want, don’t think that Obama is going to hand it to you. Democracy works and change happens only when common people work together and do inconvenient things to realize their common goals.

Richard Haarbauer is a senior political science major and a guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].