Lament of A Hopeful Pessimist


By Richard Davis

There is something programmed into the human psyche that hopes for a better world than the one we have. Hope is important.

The problem is that what some people think makes a better world can be at odds with what others think. That is the world as it is.

When the pandemic unfolded it looked as though the leaders in this country were finally beginning to understand how dysfunctional our health care non-system is. It became clear that those at the lower end of the economic ladder did not have access to the same level of health care as those with more resources.

The numbers supported the long-standing understanding that the poorer you are in this country the more difficult it is to access affordable, quality health care. The pandemic has killed and hurt a disproportionate number of our marginalized populations.

If we lived in a society where leaders felt a need to change things in order to create a more egalitarian society then meaningful health care reform would at least be something that had a chance of being enacted. Instead, we have a health care system based on the Darwinian principle of survival of the fittest.

Washington politicians will never create a single payer system because it would undermine the free market health care brutality that we are subject to. Instead of moving even a little bit closer to a health care system not completely controlled by market forces, we are moving in the other direction.

The Medicare program was created to level the health care playing field for people 65 and older. It has done a good job of that over the decades but with the introduction of Medicare Advantage and other insidious programs, Medicare is becoming just another product of the free market private insurance industry. It is an inhumane disgrace that is playing out behind closed doors and it will be too late for us to do anything when Medicare becomes unaffordable health care for the elderly.

The high cost of prescription drugs is another issue that needs attention. But Democrats and Republicans continue to play their usual games and nothing changes. The Democrats introduced a piece of legislation to control insulin prices that was predictable in a political world controlled by campaign donations.

It would require insurance companies to charge diabetics about $30 for a vial of insulin that now costs $300. The bill would not put the burden on the drug manufacturers, one of the biggest campaign contributors. It is a short term fix that will raise prices in the long-run and do little to save enough lives of diabetics to make a difference. I call it the “Tits on a bull bill”.

The Supreme Court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade. It means that the legality of abortion will be determined by individual states. It is difficult to accept the fact that a law passed in 1973 that established an important freedom for a women is being overturned by a minority of Americans who have learned to manipulate the American political system to their advantage.
There are so many other issues that are not being dealt sensibly. Climate change reality is still debated and efforts to change things will always be too little too late.

Then there is the disgrace surrounding a former president who has broken more laws than all of the inmates in Sing Sing combined. He and his family will probably get off Scott-free because of the power of money and privilege in our tainted legal system.

While we cannot make our own little place in the world better we are also making it clear that we are bringing our damaged philosophy of self-interest to the rest of the world by doing so little to help the people in Ukraine. Supplying money and weapons makes American politicians feel like they are doing something, but it is not enough. The U.S. and all the NATO countries are letting a human atrocity unfold while they only offer the rhetoric of condemnation and token military support. World War III is here and NATO is sitting back and letting Putin have his way with the Ukrainians while he makes fools of the rest of the world leaders.

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