27 August 2009

Voting yes for universal healthcare

Sometimes I wonder why so many people work so hard to keep jobs we hate. Let's face it, most of us are whores. We work for the money.

And yes, on occasional, we experience a few moments of professional satisfaction for a job well done, but mostly we take it without so much as a kiss or a complaint.

I know from experience--and so do many of my friends--that no amount of money is worth the stress that fogs our focus, raises our blood pressure and twists worries so tight we can't sleep. And we know that stress is cumulative, building in our bodies over time--like plaque in our arteries--until our health is compromised for the rest of our lives.

Yet, when I say that slinging hash in a tourist trap has more allure than putting on my work clothes, many of these same friends react with horror. "You don't really mean that," is the most common response, followed by, "Be grateful you have a job."

Really? Does that mean the prostitute should just be grateful that the john didn't actually kill her? Sure, it's work. But at what cost?

Sadly, when pressed, most people continue to work in soul-sucking environments because of insurance needs. Either they have a condition that could kill them without continued medical care or they fear bleeding out in the ER if an accident happens because they don't have insurance and...

OMG, did I just talk myself into supporting universal healthcare?

Let me think about it.

Yep, I did. The stress in my job is short-term (I hope) and will go away soon. But what about other people? What about those who don't see the end of the road? The poor? Chronically ill? Children? Regardless of circumstances, I don't think insurance, or lack thereof, should drive our choices.

At the end of the day, most of us are willing to live with less stuff, and maybe even dumpster dive for dinner rather than work in place that slowly kills us, but few of us are willing to gamble with our health or our family's health in the short-term even if it means we saddle ourself with long-term, chronic illnesses.


Jeffe Kennedy said...

Being a prostitute means something else, as you know in your heart. It means selling the most intimate part of yourself, that's meant only to be given, and selling it. Cheaply. You aren't giving yourself to a job that's paying you only for insurance or only to keep your comfy living arrangements. They value what you bring and compensat you accordingly. There's honor in that. Honor enough for most people. Wanting something more doesn't change that. Sermon over: Go In Peace Already!

Bernie said...

I'm all for universal health care. It's the concept of universal *government-run* health care I loathe. Surely we can find a way to put every American into pools that level the risks and spread the costs so that everyone can have affordable, private insurance. The government does not need to compete with the private sector (if it does, I truly believe private insurance will disappear, just like health insurance for the over-65 set did when Medicare was introduced, and we'll all be up the creek). All government needs to do is facilitate a reasonable system of pools so that the low-income, the temporarily unemployed and the chronically ill don't end up without.

And I agree with Jeffe. There's a big difference between a prostitute and someone who works a job they don't like. Most jobs aren't fun. That's why they have to pay us to do them.

Anonymous said...

But when you have a job that invades into those most precious moments in you life. Many jobs they don't value you, only the service you provide. I have had many jobs that compensated me well, but I see very little personal honor in what I did. I can't look back and say that i honored my life or that I did something that truly made any difference. It was only after they decided that they no longer valued my services, and I lost those benefits, that I was brave enough to strike out and try something that did make my heart sing and was true to that "most intimate part of myself." Prostitution is trading dignity for a paycheck and don't think you can't do that in an office or while wearing a suit.

Unknown said...

Hmmm... So I really think I like where you're going with this, Keena. If you're correct, and I think you are, that the only thing keeping thousands of Americans from telling the boss to pound sand is the fear of losing health insurance, then maybe - just maybe - a public healthcare option could have the added benefit of making corporate America a nicer place. Because if enough people could walk away when they should, they would (hopefully) ultimately find themselves a job better-suited to their needs. AND the corruption and complicity fueled by fear of bully bosses and the consequences of not playing their game might lessen. Now THAT'S what I call freedom. I'm a capitalist and think government is a little too involved in many industries right now, but if they had been properly regulating them in the first place - and if the good corporate schmucks were empowered to be good and NOT fall in line with the greedy evildoers who find themselves in positions of power in unchecked organizations - maybe government wouldn't have had to step in to begin with.

Or maybe everyone should just be forced to by AFLAC. Can you believe that fucking duck still has a job?

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