I received a compliment from a nice reader, saying that I encouraged debate on “political” issues. She felt that her opinions were too hardcore and only attracted readers who agreed with her. I told her that she nees to be who she is, because her style is just as important, maybe MORE important in getting things done in the REAL world. In many way, my “encouraging debate” is a positive spin on “being wishy-washy.” I tend to always look at the others side, which would make me a bad President, football coach, or union leader.
Leaders need “vision,” something as hard and rugged as the concrete of a New York City sidewalk, in order to inspire his follwers. Leaders cannot be like Charlie Brown, debating whether or not to trust Lucy and kick the football.
This month’s big debate is over health care. It is shameful that so many Americans live without health insurance. Something needs to be done NOW.
The main argument against change is a fear of “socialized medicine.” You hear the same questions being asked over and over again. “How can we trust the government with managing our health care? They screw everything up! Have you ever gone to the DMV?”
Rebuttal: There are examples of socialized medicine working successfully around the world.
Wishy-washy: But every truth has two sides.
There is some truth that the government tends to make a mess of things. Obama health-care supporters shouldn’t become so ideological that we brush this under the rug. There has been a lot of discussion about “socialism” from both sides, and I sometimes wonder if people really know what they are talking about online. No one wants to turn the United States into the Soviet Union. On the other hand, I read someone on Twitter trying to persuade others to push for socialized medicine by asking, “What’s so wrong with socialism or Marxism anyway?!”
I can only assume that this passionate leftist is a sophomore at Columbia University, because it is something after a year of Contemporary Civilization classes. I’m now an old fart who has sadly accepted the uncomfortable fact that most of us do when we leave the university and try to make a living — most people are lazy, selfish jerks who won’t do anything if there is no competition. Free enterprise is necessary. And yes, so is some “socialism” to help those who need it. We’ve all seen the good and the evil of both systems. And yes, I include going to the DMV as one of the evils.
If you look outside from my mother’s dining room window, you see a supermarket right downstairs. We are over the parking lot. When I was growing up, this store was Waldbaum’s. It was a decent store. I remember every can of the store’s own brand of vegetables had a photo of “Julia Waldbaum” plastered on the label, smiling at you.
Sometime in the 1980’s our neighborhood declined. I have written in the past about how an entire city block went out of business. The local bakery, an aromatic piece of heaven, where my grandfather would buy onion rolls and jelly donuts, has been shuttered and graffitied for over fifteen years!
Despite the closing of these stores, there are three supermarkets within seven blocks of each other. It is a crowded neighborhood, and people still need to eat. As more immigrant families moved into the neighborhood, the three supermarkets seemed to care less about the quality and upkeep. The first time Sophia came to visit, she thought that I lived in the “slums.” Waldbaum’s changed into a Pathmark, and this supermarket was super sucky. The vegetables were always rotting, and the cashiers were high school kids who really didn’t give a shit. The management was so cheap that during day hours, there would be three counters open, and the lines would reach up to twenty people each, snaking into the cereal aisle, and blocking those who wanted to pass. My mother still shopped at this supermarket, mostly because it was the closest, and the other two markets in the neighborhood were even worse.
Two months ago, this Pathmark closed and an Associated Supermaket took over the spot. The owners spruced the place up, and even put in a wood floor. The store was Korean-owned, and everyone, including the checkers are Korean, and the store runs as efficiently as a new Hyundai. The vegetables are beautiful, and because fish is an essential part of the Asian diet, the fish department has doubled. They have sushi, gyozas, and soba noodles! You do not understand how revolutionary that is for this neighborhood!
This new supermarket has had a domino effect throughout the neighborhood. Everyone went there, despite the higher prices. They had ten checkout lanes! Organic foods! A real deli! And the help actually HELPED YOU!
Two weeks later, one of the other supermarkets in the area went out of business. A new owner bought it and promised to make it better than ever. Today, I walked by the third supermarket in the neighborhood. They are closing until November for a complete renovations.
My socialist aunt would hate to hear me say this, but “F**k Yeah, this is Pure Capitalism at Its Best!” Without the competition, the neighborhood had three shitty, uncaring supermarkets. Once, ONE stepped up the game, the others had to change for the better or die. And that is good.
I’m still for health care reform, by the way. You don’t treat people’s health like a supermarket.