Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

On Being Rich

The other morning, on the way to work and school, I was having a conversation about politics with my randy little guy Sandis. We were talking about the differing priorities when one is well to do and when one is not so well to do. We talked about the inclination to preserve the funds that one has coming in, and preserve the freedom to do what one chooses with that income. We also talked about something called “social justice” and the health care quandary our nation seems to be in.

This may seem like rather heavy material for a 7 year old, but I find that Sandis’s ability to comprehend the heart of the matter in regards to politics is quite uncanny. So after some conversation, and then some conversation about the differences in theory between the GOP, DFL, and even the GREEN, Sandis had something to say to me.

“All these people have it wrong, though, Mom. Being rich doesn’t mean you are loaded with money. It means you are loaded with love and family all around you.”

So simple.

It is easy to say when you are 7, and all your needs are provided for. He has clothes when he needs clothes, shoes when he needs shoes, a couple of helpers to help him accomplish things he would have trouble accomplishing without, a behavioral therapy programmer, an entire team at school dedicated to helping him succeed, food & medicine without need of conscience in regards to their cost...

This too will pass. This boy will grow up. And while Sandis will always be loaded with the love of those around him, he will learn how it is hard to prosper, flourish, grow, and appreciate ones circumstances when basic needs are ignored and not met.

Being rich is not about money. Sandis is right on about that. Being rich means that society (you & me) cares enough about you (or your children, or your parents) that your very basic human needs are met. Basic human needs that include food, clothes, shelter, medical care, compassion, empathy, and love (and I’m sure a few others.) Some of this we can get from our family members. Other things we must rely, at times, on society to provide should one be unable to provide independently for oneself.

The sum of a nation, of any society, is merely the heights its most vulnerable citizens will reach.

What a unique concept that is: to judge our society not by the richest or most powerful, but on the poorest and least powerful.

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