Tuesday, November 17, 2009

"This is an outrage, it's an abomination; and there is a moral duty here."

1000 people in New Orleans at a free healthcare clinic. 90% have two or more diagnosed problems; 82% diagnosed with life threatening conditions. 4 taken directly to hospital: do not pass "Go," do not collect $200. Not all of them "poor," but none of them with insurance.

And tonight Keith adds that only 1000 were treated because New Orleans, 4 years after Katrina, still doesn't have the medical equipment necessary to treat people who are ill or injured. The equipment the clinic needed was simply not available to borrow, not even for one day, not even for 1000 people. As Gene Robinson said to Keith, this is an outrage and an abomination. And there is a moral duty here.

And we should be ashamed, but we don't even notice. We should be appalled, but we don't even care. Personally, socially, perhaps as Christians or Jews or Mustlims or atheists or simply human beings, we care. In small groups, perhaps we care. But politically, as a nation? We don't give a shit. The pictures of New Orleans drowning, those horrific pictures of 4 years ago, aren't on TV anymore; and we don't care. We never did. The poor of New Orleans existed because we didn't care. The drowning and abandonment of New Orleans happened because we didn't care. Four years later, we still don't care. New Orleans lacks medical facilities, medical equipment? Who knew? Who cared? Who cares now?

Individually, perhaps we do. As a people? We don't care enough to not even give a shit. We're obsessed with Sarah Palin, or whether Obama bowed to a foreign leader, or even over what he's doing or not doing about health insurance reform (it isn't health care reform now, everyone has admitted that). We don't care. We don't care. We don't care.

Thanksgiving is coming, and we will once again congratulate ourselves on how much we care. It's a lie. We don't care. Men and women are dieing and suffering and being injured and broken in Afghanistan, ruined for life; and we don't care. New Orleans is still recovering, New Orleans has been abandoned, the poor in this country have been abandoned: and we don't care.

Give thanks for what you have this year. Give thanks because it is yours, and you have it. Give thanks you aren't poor, in New Orleans, or anywhere else in America, or in the world. Give thanks, and don't consider for a moment that while we might be compassionate, as a nation: we just don't care.

Government of the people, by the people, and for the people, is only for the people we care about. Give thanks you are among them. That's all it means, anymore.

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