It’s quite frustrating to discuss socio-economic issues at home, in the U.S…. even with ostensibly educated and demonstrably successful Americans. The problem almost universally tends to be one of myopathy, a lack of understanding outside of basic or parochial: Democrat and Republican, Liberal and Conservative, Black and White, Deserving and Undeserving… and most disturbing, a general antipathy to caring about any nuanced but meaningful “other” or alternative.
I don’t have this experience in discussions with the educated and involved I encounter from Europe, Australia, or even China. The experience provides new meaning to me — and not in a good way — for terms such as, “American Exceptionalism” and the “Ugly American.”
The misconceptions that Americans — especially those never traveling or living abroad — have about Social Capitalism is shocking to me.
Regarding the conservative/republican/libertarian conniption about “Obamacare,” a Scandinavian associate wrote about his experience in the U.S., “I’d say: the medical system has gotten so bad here, that the US can only win by adding many private non-profit insurances. Extra bonus: you get to learn from the lessons that Europe has learnt throughout the last two decades (i.e. how to avoid abuse of benefits) and do it right right away.”
Another associate wrote, “My son who lived in Spain for 4-years came back to the U.S. about 4-months ago, and he is ready to go back to Spain with his family, where he gets single-pay health care, vacation-time required to be given by all employers, and many other incentives across the nation, that empower and compel good families!”
He went on to remind this group of educated peers that 30-years ago no stores used to be open on Sundays. “Just look at where this country has gone with U.S.-styled Capitalism (instead of family) values, as our primary motive. Even in health care, it is the bottom-line and not our humanity which drives the conservatives to be against universal health care.”
Are Americans educated well enough to understand health reform is not about socialism?
The majority of Americans are not those who have read or traveled abroad to see different aspects of living with their own eyes. Certainly, it seems that few are willing to listen and observe. Yes, holding onto the familiar is safe and reassuring, which is human nature. But still, the question is begged, “how can we Americans, supposedly the best in the world, not have the best health insurance or access to health care for all?”
Our national, wounded pride blinds a huge segment of “normal Americans” and prevents us from accepting our reality and changing our way of thinking, even as we sit on the brink of bankruptcy. Some people are born not to be persuaded through education. Instead, authority and established systems will compel them.
After Americans are forced by reality of our lost wealth from an ineffective economic system… perhaps then we will have a taste of the benefit of the European way… and will accept it.
No compassionate, civilized modern democracy should countenance a system that so abysmally fails it’s most vulnerable while it advantages those who need it the least.
As a country we need to grow up and do what’s right…
…NOWHERE MORE OBVIOUS THAN IN COSTS AND OUTCOMES OF THE TWO HEALTH CARE SYSTEMS
…and that is something we’ll look at next in Part II.