Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Socialism Today or There's Enough For Everybody

The pacemaker replacement surgery last Friday for mom was only partially successful. A third lead from the pacemaker that winds its way through and around her heart to more fully involve the whole heart had to be disconnected as it was coming in contact with a nerve causing her diaphragm to spasm. She was disappointed because without the third lead (something her other pacemaker didn't have) her condition wasn't much different than before surgery. Tired all the time. They told her it would be 7-10 days before they could see her again to attempt to fix the problem. We didn't have to wait that long.

Tracee called me yesterday morning to see if I'd talked to Mom yet today. I hadn't. She said she sounded extremely tired on the phone and that she was going to put in a call to her doctor to see if she could get her seen asap. Mom is always one to minimize her need to be seen and not one to want to be fussed over so the chance that she was going to take the initiative to make the necessary calls was slim. After some back and forth between Mom and her doctor's staff it was worked out that I could take her in late this morning for an early afternoon procedure to replace the bad lead.

It all went well. The doctor told me he replaced the lead with a longer one that allowed him to more fully route it away from the nerve that was causing the problem. He was hopeful that this would make a marked difference in her condition.

My disappointment with Obama is growing but not because he's too liberal. He appears too ready to give in to Republican demands. Clearly, he capitulated to Republican hawks who have a fantasy that we can actually win in Afghanistan when he escalated our efforts there. I'd love nothing more than to be able to make that country a better place for those who live there but the sort of change they need isn't going to happen because we forced it on them; not with their history. If stability ever is achieved there and I have no illusions that it will be, it certainly won't last without our continued presence. At some point, we have to recognize that whatever small successes we're experiencing there are being outweighed by the expense. How many more lives and how much more money before we admit that? Are we at war with al Qaeda still or is our focus the Taliban because it seems we went in there for one reason but now we're there for another. I'm confused. Is Osama bin Laden even alive still?

The most recent way in which Obama let me (and you) down was yesterday when he gave in to Republican demands to extend Bush's tax cuts for another two years, even for the top earners. There's simply no way for us to add to the massive amount of debt we already have but we are. I could see a much stronger case being made for extending unemployment benefits than I can for tax breaks for the wealthiest of us all but now we've added both to our list of things we'll put on the next generation to figure out.

I'm usually an optimistic person who doesn't let these sort of worries occupy much of my time because there's nothing I can do about them. Lately, I find myself wondering more than a little if we're headed for financial ruin as a country? I can't see how we're not.

People are quick to dismiss Bernie Sanders as an out of touch socialist. If that's what he is then you can label me one as well. The views I was offering in the dialog that followed (click on the image to the right) were not views I was looking to legislate but rather, idealistic thoughts about what we need to do to strengthen our middle class, without which there can be no economic recovery.

A co-worker friend had all the Republican talking points down. He was quick to point out that Bernie was only playing the class warfare card and looking to redistribute wealth. He, of course, mentioned that you don't go after corporations, the 'golden goose', with higher taxes because you'll only stifle their production and ability to create jobs. I get that but what about Exxon? (as mentioned toward the end of the video)

The point I was trying to make is that the divide between the haves and the have-nots gets wider every year and to have the vast majority of our country's wealth in the hands of so few can't be a good thing. When a corporation rewards a CEO with a multi-million dollar severance package for driving his/her company into the ground at the expense of the company's labor force we have a real fundamental problem. When did we begin to reward such incompetence while at the same time showing such great disregard to the real people who are at the heart of a company; its workers?

For me this entire discussion came down to greed and that's not something easily legislated away. My coworker is all for a company doing whatever it must to keep their operation running as efficiently as possible and that the labor required to make that happen is something to be discarded when no longer needed. That was my impression anyway and to a certain extent, he's right. But I think what we're seeing more and more today is a lot of people sacrificing themselves for a few at the top who are tightening their hold on the masses a little more with each passing year. I don't like that trend.

We're no longer our brothers' keeper and that's not a mindset you can force on anybody, certainly no more than forcing peace on those unwilling in the Middle East. It's something we either collectively do of our own free will or we get crushed under the weight of our capitalist greed. Look around.

The idealistic me says take care of one another and the rest will sort itself out. There's enough to go around for everybody.


Jackie said...

Kev, It is truly amazing the difference in her. The strength in her voice all of it is so awesome I am so astounded at the difference in such a short time. She is so so happy that she is improving each day. God is good.

Kevin said...

Me too. So glad she opted for going ahead with the surgery. It was difficult to see her pretty much confined to her chair. I'm praying she'll continue to get even stronger.