MY America

We have overcome much, but we have much yet to overcome.  Image from President Obamas Grant Park Victory Rally, via Obama Pics Daily.
We have overcome much, but we have much yet to overcome. Image from President Obama's Grant Park Victory Rally, via Obama Pics Daily.

Hooooooo boy.  Lookout.  I am in the lather of a righteous rage and ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me now.  You’ll have to imagine this entire post in my best Southern drawl, because the accent which is usually barely perceptible really comes out when I’m mad.  Heeeere we goooo. has a new guest blogger (though she’s contributed before), Latoya Peterson usually of the blog Racialicious.  And she had a post this mornin’ that really has me fired up.  She started out with the video of an embarrassing woman from Arkansas, even more embarrassing, because that’s my home state.  This woman got all weepy at a town hall meeting about health care and said she was “scared” about what “my America” is “being turned into.”  YOUR AMERICA???

Then Latoya mentioned the story of a twelve year old who died because of a toothache.

A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.

If his mother had been insured.

If his family had not lost its Medicaid.

If Medicaid dentists weren’t so hard to find.

If his mother hadn’t been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.

By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.

And this tragedy happened in MY AMERICA.

Let me tell you something about MY America.

It is the land of the free, home of the brave.  It is one nation under God, a God who cares for the least and the lost, who sides with the oppressed over the powerful, the poor over the wealthy, the weak over the strong.

It was founded by a religious minority who created a commonwealth.  A COMMON-WEALTH.  A place where everyone gives up a little so that everyone can be better off.  A place where people come together and take care of one another, be that a Little House on the Prairie-style barnraising, or a public health care option where we all share risks and costs so that we all might be healthy.

It is a place that holds certain truths to be self-evident.  A place where all are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.  A place where, among these, are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  What are life and happiness without HEALTH?

It is a place that was founded by We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.  Is not the general welfare the general HEALTH CARE?

It is a place with liberty and justice for all.  What is justice without social justice?

It is a place that is to be a shining city upon a hill.  Right now this light is dimmed by the incredible injustice of our healthcare system.

In my America, children should not go hungry, families should not have to choose between paying for healthcare and food, families should not face losing their homes or delcaring bankruptcy because of the cost of healthcare.  In my America, healthcare should not be a luxury available only to those fortunate enough to be wealthy or have employers who provide them with coverage.  In my America, paper pushers concerned with profit margins would not be able to deny people who had paid all their premiums the care they need, right when they need it most.  It is not a place where some people are “uninsurable.” It is not a place where 47 million people don’t have any health coverage at all.  It is not a place where the price of a procedure or a prescription depends on who’s asking.

That’s MY America.  And if that America doesn’t look like yours, I’d like to ask you to please open your eyes and look around, and maybe even look inside your own heart.  We must do something.

5 Replies to “MY America”

  1. I wish you had a “like” button on your blog. I really enjoy reading all of this, even though I don’t leave a lot of comments (2nd one to date). You’re quite an inspired writer, and I wish I could write like that all of the time. My writing moves in waves. I really have to feel it coming, and I have to hit it at the crest to write my best. However, these waves that I get often come at inopportune times and cannot be forced. So I’m glad that you’re writing what you write. It’s inspiring and thoughtful. I’m really glad for the example of another intellectual liberal-leaning Southerner. We number in the few, but we certainly know how to speak well.


  2. Great post, very passionately written.

    Of course, I could point out that in my home country, the UK, there’s an equal problem with people not being able to find dentists. It even results in some of them doing-it-themselves –

    Until I came to America and got dental insurance, I hadn’t been able to go to a dentist in 15 years. FIFTEEN YEARS.

    So while I agree with everything you wrote – and agree that the system is disgustingly broken – don’t imagine for a second that the answer lies with a ‘nationalized’ health service. Unless you go private in England, you’re in the same situation as this poor boy.


    1. Thanks Roland. Though if you don’t mind my cracking a joke, I thought the Brits with Bad Teeth stereotype was more cultural than structural ;)


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