“This is the most important election of all time!” (again)

You’ve probably heard by now that if Obama wins a second term we will become a socialist nation, gun ownership will be made illegal, our country will be unrecognizable by the end of his term, and on and on. If you listen to leaders on the Right it sounds like this election is the most important election of all time and that all of America’s freedoms are staked Romney defeating Obama. There’s just one problem. I remember 2008.

In 2008 prominent Christian Right group Focus on the Family put out a sixteen page document called “Letter from 2012 in Obama’s America.” The document was in the form of a letter, a (fictional) letter from a Christian in 2012 writing back from the future about all the changes that had happened since Obama took office. Let’s take a look, shall we? The letter starts like this:

October 22, 2012

Dear friends,

I can hardly sing “The Star Spangled Banner” any more. When I hear the words,
O say, does that star spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
I get tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat. Now in October of 2012, after seeing what has happened in the last four years, I don’t think I can still answer, “Yes,” to that question. We are not “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Many of our freedoms have been taken away by a liberal Supreme Court and a Democratic majority in both the House and the Senate, and hardly any brave citizen dares to resist the new government policies any more.

The 2008 election was closer than anybody expected, but Barack Obama still won. Many Christians voted for Obama – younger evangelicals actually provided him with the needed margin to defeat John McCain – but they didn’t think he would really follow through on the farLeft policies that had marked his career.

They were wrong.

In other words, the purpose of this letter is to scare evangelicals – especially younger evangelicals – out of voting for Obama and convince them to vote for McCain. Here are some excerpts regarding the changes that were supposedly going to happen over the four years following 2008 if Barack Obama was elected (the things that will happen are numbered, and I have maintained that numbering):

(1) The Boy Scouts no longer exist as an organization. They chose to disband rather than be forced to obey the Supreme Court decision that they would have to hire homosexual scoutmasters and allow them to sleep in tents with young boys.

That didn’t happen. The Boy Scouts still discriminate against gay people, and no one is stopping them. They also discriminate against atheists, which means my eagle scout husband will not be able to enroll our son Bobby in boy scouts.

(2) Elementary schools now include compulsory training in varieties of gender identity in Grade 1, including the goodness of homosexuality as one possible personal choice. Many parents tried to “opt out” their children from such sessions, but the courts have ruled they cannot do this, noting that education experts in the government have decided that such training is essential to children’s psychological health.

Nope, actually, schools are still generally unsafe places for LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ teens are still committing suicide because of the abuse they face, not just from other students but sometimes even from teachers.

(10) One change regarding the status of homosexuals did not wait for any Supreme Court decision. In the first week after his inauguration, President Obama invited homosexual rights leaders from around the United States to join him at the White House as he signed an executive order directing all branches of the military to abandon their “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and to start actively recruiting homosexuals.

As a result, homosexuals are now given special bonuses for enlisting in military service (to attempt to compensate for past discrimination), and all new recruits, and all active-duty and reserve personnel, are compelled to take many hours of “sensitivity training” to ensure they demonstrate positive attitudes toward those with different sexual orientations and practices. Any one who seems hesitant or who objects is routinely passed over for promotion. In addition, any chaplain who holds to an interpretation of Scripture that homosexual conduct is morally wrong and therefore does not espouse “mainstream values,” is dismissed from the military.

This one comes closest to being true. Obama did repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (though it took him a while to do so!). But for some reason the author of this letter couldn’t stop there. Special bonuses for new recruits who are gay? Anyone who is not 100% pro gay rights is passed over for promotions? Um, no. That’s not happening. All that changed is that gay soldiers can now, like, tell people that they’re gay.

(11) High schools are no longer free to allow “See You at the Pole” meetings where students pray together, or any student Bible studies even before or after school.

What? Nope, no one is stopping kids from praying before school and no one is busting up Bible studies.

(15) Congress lost no time in solidifying abortion rights under President Obama. In fact, Obama had promised, “The first thing I’ll do as president is sign the Freedom of Choice Act” (July 17, 2007, speech to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund). This federal law immediately nullified hundreds of state laws that had created even the slightest barrier to abortion. States can no longer require parental involvement for minors who wish to have an abortion, waiting period, informed consent rules, restrictions on tax-payer funding or restrictions on late-term abortions. The act reversed the Hyde Amendment, so the government now funds Medicaid abortions for any reason. As a result, the number of abortions has increased dramatically. The Freedom of Choice Act also reversed the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act of 2003, so infants can be killed outright just seconds before they would be born. States whose laws were overturned challenged the law in court but it was upheld by the Obama Supreme Court.

Um, actually, the reality is the exact opposite of this. Between 2008 and 2012 abortion restrictions absolutely ballooned. And the Hyde amendment, prohibiting federal funding for abortion, is still firmly in place.

Also, I’m curious about the suggestion that lifting restrictions on abortions would cause the numbers of women having abortions to “increase dramatically.” If this suggestion is true, it would mean that there are significant numbers of women out there today who want abortions and end up being forced to carry their pregnancies to term and become mothers because they are unable to obtain abortions. I’m sure this is the reality for some women, but how many? Not for as many as the author of this letter things, I’m hoping. But regardless, this statement does make clear the goal of restrictions on abortions – preventing women from accessing constitutionally protected health care.

Alternatively, of course, the author may think that if abortion were as easy to get as a lolly pop, there would be lots of women who are actually okay with the idea of having a baby who would run out and get on at a moment’s notice because, I don’t know, they got annoyed at wearing maternity clothes or something. I remember hearing this attitude as a child, this idea that women were somehow so empty minded that if abortion was available in the local drug store, they’d just run in and get one, as if the decision to have an abortion was something women made lightly and without thought. On a lark, like.

(18) It’s almost impossible to keep children from seeing pornography. The Supreme Court in 2011 nullified all Federal Communications Commission restrictions on obscene speech or visual content in radio and television broadcasts.

Nope. Didn’t happen.

Also, how come the Christian Right is against regulations when they apply to how businesses operate, but all for regulations when it comes to how TV and radio stations operate? I mean, if the free market is so glorious, the “magic hand” and all that, why would it not work in the case of TV and radio? I mean, wouldn’t some channels bill themselves as obscenity-free just to get viewers, while others would go all whole hog obscenity to get a different set of viewers, and then everyone would be happy?

(19) It is illegal for private citizens to own guns for self-defense in eight states, and the number is growing with increasing Democratic control of state legislatures and governorships.

Believe it or not, no one has taken away your guns and no one will. I have yet to meet a single Democrat who wants to completely ban private ownership of guns. (Regulating is not banning. Requiring background checks is not banning. Requiring courses on gun safety, or whatever else, is not banning. Unless, that is, requiring drivers licenses = banning cars.) Also, believe it or not, Obama has not enacted any new gun regulations while in office. NOT ONE. So yeah, that didn’t happen.

(20) Parents’ freedom to teach their children at home has been severely restricted. … The Supreme Court declared that home schooling was a violation of state educational requirements except in cases where the parents (a) had an education certificate from an accredited state program., (b) agreed to use state-approved textbooks in all courses, and (c) agreed not to teach their children that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that Jesus is the only way to God, since these ideas have been found to hinder students’ social adjustment and acceptance of other lifestyles and beliefs, and to run counter to the state’s interest in educating its children to be good citizens. Parents found in violation of this ruling have been subject to prosecutions for truancy violation, resulting in heavy fines and eventual removal of their children from the home. Thousands of home schooling parents, seeing no alternative in the United States, have begun to emigrate to other countries, particularly Australia and New Zealand, where home schooling is still quite prevalent.

Didn’t happen.

Also, could someone from Australia or New Zealand please explain why your countries represent the wet dream of homeschoolers? Almost every time any homeschool advocate discusses the potential regulation of homeschooling in this country, they follow it with “let’s just all move to Australia/New Zealand.” Supposedly, there are already American homeschoolers doing just that. So spill. Do you guys not regulate homeschooling at all or something?

(21) President Obama fulfilled his campaign promise and began regular withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, completing it in the promised 16 months, by April 2010. All was peaceful during those months, but then in May 2010, Al-Qaida operatives from Syria and Iran poured into Iraq and completely overwhelmed the Iraqi security forces. A Taliban-like oppression has taken over in Iraq, and hundreds of thousands of “American sympathizers” have been labeled as traitors, imprisoned, tortured, and killed. The number put to death may soon reach the millions.

Al-Qaida leaders have been emboldened by what they are calling the American “defeat” and their ranks are swelling in dozens of countries.

Didn’t happen. Instead, Obama had Osama Bin Ladin killed. Bet you didn’t see that one coming, huh?

(22) President Obama directed U.S. intelligence services to cease all wiretapping of alleged terrorist phone calls unless they first obtained a warrant for each case. Terrorists captured overseas, instead of being tried in military tribunals, are given full trials in the U.S. court system, and they have to be allowed access to a number of government secrets to prepare their defense.

Since 2009, terrorist bombs have exploded in two large and two small U.S. cities, killing hundreds, and the entire country is fearful, for no place seems safe.

I’m wracking my brain, and I’m not coming up with a single Islamic terrorist attack in this country in the last four years. Well, that one Muslim psychologist in the U.S. army killed several dozen soldiers on an army base, I suppose that counts – though it didn’t involve the “terrorist bombs” predicted. That guy out in Norway killed almost a hundred people, but he was a right wing extremist and that wasn’t the U.S. We’ve had plenty of shootings, from Gabrielle Giffords to the guy in Aurora to the guy who shot up a Sikh temple (because it looked Muslim, I guess), but those weren’t the Islamic terrorist attacks this letter suggests. So yeah. Didn’t happen.

(23) In early 2009, [Russia] followed the pattern they had begun in Georgia in 2008 and sent troops to occupy and re-take several Eastern European countries, starting with the Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. President Obama appealed to the United Nations (UN), taking the same approach he had in his initial statements when Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008: “Now is the time for Georgia and Russia to show restraint, and to avoid an escalation to full scale war,” and “All sides should enter into direct talks on behalf of stability in Georgia, and the United States, the United Nations Security Council, and the international community should fully support a peaceful resolution to this crisis,”

But Russia sits on the Security Council, and no U.N. action has yet been taken.

Then in the next three years, Russia occupied additional countries that had been previous Soviet satellite nations, including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria, with no military response from the U.S. or the U.N. NATO heads of state have severely condemned Russia’s actions each time but they could never reach consensus on military action.

Someone please remind the people at Focus on the Family that the Cold War is over?

Also, didn’t happen.

(25) In mid-2010, Iran launched a nuclear bomb that exploded in the middle of Tel Aviv, destroying much of that city. They then demanded that Israel cede huge amounts of territory to the Palestinians, and after an anguished all-night Cabinet meeting, Israel’s prime minister agreed. Israel is reduced to a much smaller country, hardly able to defend itself, and its future remains uncertain. President Obama said he abhorred what Iran had done and he hoped the U.N. would unanimously condemn this crime against humanity. He also declared that the U.S. would be part of any international peacekeeping force if authorized by the U.N., but the Muslim nations in the U.N. have so far prevented any action.

No, Iran has not nuked Israel. What confuses me about the above scenario is that while Iran is supposedly working on making nuclear weapons, Israel actually has them, and given historical precedent the idea that Israel would just stand down and cede away its land in this situation seems highly unlikely. (Someone who knows more about the Israel/Iran situation, feel free to offer more information.)

(26) The new Congress under President Obama passed a nationalized “single provider” health care system, in which the U.S. government is the provider of all health care in the United States, following the pattern of nationalized medicine in the United Kingdom and Canada. The great benefit is that medical care is now free for everyone — if you can get it. Now that health care is free, it seems everybody wants more of it. The waiting list for prostate cancer surgery is 3 years. The waiting list for ovarian cancer is 2 years. Just as the Canadian experience had shown prior to 2008 with its nationalized health care, so in the U.S. only a small number of MRIs are performed — down 90% from 2008 — because they are too expensive, and they discover more problems that need treatment, so they are almost never authorized.

(27) Because medical resources must be rationed carefully by the government, people older than 80 have essentially no access to hospitals or surgical procedures. Their “duty” is increasingly thought to be to go home to die, so they don’t drain scarce resources from the medical system. Euthanasia is becoming more and more common.

First, this didn’t happen. In fact, when Obama started working on health care reform he didn’t even pitch a single provider system, let alone pass such a thing. Instead, Obama passed the Republicans’ own health care plan. And then, bizarrely, the Republicans threw a fit.

Second, the person who wrote this clearly knows nothing about how the national health care systems in other western nations actually work. (If you live in such a country, feel free to explain the problems with these paragraphs.)

(28) Many Christians who voted for Obama did so because they thought his tax policies were fairer and his “middle-class tax cuts” would bring the economy out of its 2008 crisis. But once he took office, he followed the consistent pattern of the Democratic Party and his own record and asked Congress for a large tax increase. He explained the deficit had grown so large under President Bush, and the needs of the nation were so great, that we couldn’t afford to cut taxes.

Let’s have a quiz, shall we?

Obama did which of the following while in office:

A. Raise taxes

B. Cut taxes

Answer: B

There, that was fun.

(31) World demand for oil continues to climb, and prices keep going up, but President Obama for four years has refused to allow additional drilling for oil in the United States or offshore. Gas costs more than $7 per gallon, and many Democrats openly applaud this, since high prices reduce oil consumption and thus reduce carbon dioxide output. But working Americans are hit hard by these costs.

Yeah, that $7 a gallon gas is really hurting my pocketbook. Or not. I will say that $4 a gallon gas certainly isn’t fun, but $4 isn’t $7.

Also, Obama has opened additional drilling offshore. Yes, you read that right.

(31) As for coal, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency to implement strict new carbon emission standards that drove many coal-powered electric plants out of business. The country has less total electric power available than in 2008, and periodic blackouts to conserve energy occur on a regular schedule throughout the nation. The price of electricity has tripled in places like California, which also faces rolling blackouts during peak energy periods. The impact on our economy, and our homes, has been devastating.

I’m sorry, rolling blackouts? What?

(32) By the summer of 2009, the five-member FCC was controlled by Democratic appointees – including a chairman appointed by President Obama. The “Fairness Doctrine” became a topic of FCC consideration following pressure from Democratic congressional leaders who initially did not have sufficient votes to pass the measure. The FCC quickly implemented the “Fairness Doctrine,” which requires that radio stations provide “equal time” for alternative views on political or policy issues.

As a result, all radio stations have to provide equal time to contrasting views for every political or policy-related program they broadcast by talk show hosts like Rush Limbaugh, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Dennis Prager, Janet Parshall, Michael Medved and Hugh Hewitt, and broadcasters like Dr. James Dobson. Every conservative talk show is followed by an instant rebuttal to the program by a liberal “watchdog” group. Many listeners gave up in frustration, advertising (and donation) revenues dropped dramatically, and nearly all conservative stations have gone out of business or switched to alternative formats such as country or gospel or other music. Conservative talk radio, for all intents and purposes, was shut down by the end of 2010.

Hang on. I have to stop laughing before I can finish this post.

There. Okay.

How does the author finish this “letter from 2012 in Obama’s America”? Well, a letter like this wouldn’t be complete without talk of Christians in the United States being thrown in jail now, would it?

Many brave Christian men and women tried to resist these laws, and some Christian legal agencies tried to defend them, but they couldn’t resist the power of a 6-3 liberal majority on the Supreme Court. It seems many of the bravest ones went to jail or were driven to bankruptcy. And many of their reputations have been destroyed by a relentless press and the endless repetition of false accusations.

Let’s see. The Soviet Union rises again? Check. Christians being thrown in jail in the United States? Check. Just so we’re, you know, being thorough.

And of course, the letter ends with a call to action:

When did this all start? Christians share a lot of the blame. In 2008, many evangelicals thought Senator Obama was an opportunity for a “change,” and they voted for him. They did not realize Obama’s far-Left agenda would take away many of our freedoms, perhaps permanently (it is unlikely the Supreme Court can be changed for perhaps 30 years). Christians did not realize that by electing Barack Obama — rated the most liberal U.S. senator in 2007 — they would allow the law, in the hands of a liberal Congress and Supreme Court, to become a great instrument of oppression.

The whole purpose of this letter, like I said, was to scare evangelicals out of voting for Obama at any cost. And today, they’re doing the same thing. If you vote for Obama, they say, every manner of horrible awful no good very bad thing will happen. Your freedoms will disappear. They will take your guns, they will ban homeschooling, they will send your grandma to death panels.

But this is getting old. See, leaders on the Right do this every election year. Every election is “the most important election of all time,” and every election year they warn that our freedoms as Americans are on the line. Every election year they predict catastrophe if they lose the election. The day after Obama’s election, a friend facebooked me a simple question: “Are you ready for four years of hell?” He went on to talk about Christians being put in jail and socialism coming to America. Didn’t happen.

It’s like all those times Christian leaders have predicted Jesus’ return. You can only predict it and then have it not happen so many times before you lose all credibility whatsoever. It’s as if the Right is playing a game to see how many times they can predict the destruction of our freedoms before they get called on it. And seriously, it’s about time someone called them on it.

And don’t even get me started on the portrayal of liberals as anti-American.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • iggy

    No doubt this will be buried, but as a rider to #10. I’m AD USAF, & the “sensitivity training” kinda happened; we had to take a CBT saying that discrimination wouldn’t be tolerated in much the same way sexual harassment isn’t tolerated. From my personal experience, nobody cares if anyone is gay; all we are concerned with is whether or not you’re pulling your weight.

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  • Oscar

    The main thing to look at is: “ARE you better off than you were 4 yrs. ago? Well?

    • Rosie

      That’s a bit tricky to answer, but I’d say yes. My savings is much diminished due to the purchase of a home, but thanks to the first-time homebuyer’s credit we were able to make some much-needed improvements to said home. My husband has a more stable, if lower-paying, job at a company he really likes.

      As important to me is the question of how others I care about are doing. Gay and bi folks in the military are better off, for certain, and I do care about them though I don’t (currently) know any personally. Gay and bi folks in my home state are worse off thanks to the current Republican state government (which passed a law allowing discrimination in employment and housing for religious reasons), and I AM one of those. My local school district is suffering cutbacks, leaving some of my neighbors unemployed, and others busing their grade-school-age children insane distances–again, thanks to the policies of the state government.

      If you think Romney will serve you better, by all means vote for him. But it seems pretty evident to me that Dems will serve me better in this cycle than Reps.

  • Oscar

    ARE you better off than you were 4 yrs ago? Well?

    • Carol

      Sure, look at the market, it came roaring back after it tanked in 2008. I bet Romney’s better off, that’s why he doesn’t want to release his tax returns.

      We’re out of Iraq, we have a path towards people getting healthcare, people are getting coverage who couldn’t get coverage before. My state is implementing a healthcare exchange thanks to the ACA, so if we decide to start our own business, we’ll have that opportunity without worrying about buying an exorbitant individual plan. The opportunities are out there, if you know how to find them and it starts with ignoring the gobshites that spout their bs on tv. If you’re just going to sit and whine, well, then there’s no help for you.

    • K

      Little late with your asinine question, but as a matter of fact I am much better off than I was 4 years ago. I didn’t realize that you supposed “rugged individualists” depended on the president to make your lives better for you.

  • topiary

    I love in #26, apart from all its other insanity, that the waiting list for prostate cancer is longer than that for ovarian cancer – “And they’ll give the WOMEN treatment before us!” Subtle, but there.

  • Azurist

    As a NZer, with regard to the homeschooling thing: I imagine it’s because our homeschooling rates are quite high owing to us being developed nations that are still fairly remote outside of major cities, hence we have quite high homeschooling rates in rural areas. I was homeschooled for the equivalent of preschool seeing as we lived in a remote location where regular schools weren’t an option (and typically kids will have to bus for 30+min each day or attend smaller schools with ~20 other kids in the more outlying towns if their parents choose regular schools over homeschooling or boarding schools), and I imagine that Australia wouldn’t be much different.

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  • Raul

    If you cant see the socialist values pushed down Americas throat by now by the usurper then he could lead you into full blown communism and I doubt if you would be able to see it even then! What is it about the obama regime for all of you liberals that you are begging obama for his soul oppressing,life theieving marxist state?? Your not fooling anyone,you’re either a communist liberal progressive or your a patriotic American,one or the other!

    • Carol

      You’re such a dithering moron. What is it with you people. Do you have any clue what socialism and communism even is, you blithering, bloviating, uneducated fool? You’re nothing but one of those teabagging, teat sucking, lazy, society- owes-me idiots. Sure, go on your own, you brave, wonderful individualist and just try to compete with the mega corporate empires that will squash you like the bug you are, and have you shitting in your bed every night because – gasp – people can actually get affordable healthcare. Do you even hear how stupid you sound?

  • Raul

    Who will all of the communist liberals direct their hatreds toward after Mitt is elected!

    • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

      Jeez, I’m so tempted to call Poe, but….?

  • ospalh

    Re point 23
    “Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania”
    Sounds more like WW II than the Cold War to me. Perhaps the letter writer just skipped the bit with the secret treaty between Germany and the Soviet Union… erm, i mean, …
    “Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria”
    The poor Slovaks. Always being left out. (Perhaps the Focus on the Patriarchy people think they just changed the name of Czechoslovakia. When they think at all.)

    Also, 25:
    There has been a nuclear war, and they have TWENTY-FOUR other points that are more important? A whole city eradicated, but praying at a flagpole and teaching your kids at home comes first? That’s one heck of a way of setting priorities.

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  • gat

    Is the correct letter attached? In glancing it over it appears so far all the “predictions” I’ve seen actually did come to pass.

    • phantomreader42

      So, gat, are you functionally illiterate, a pathological liar, or suffering from extreme hallucinations?

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    “This Is The Most Important Election Of All Time!”
    As a Brony, all I can say is:
    Cue Rarity and her Fainting Couch — “THIS! IS! THE! WORST! POSSIBLE! THING!”

  • Rolf Boettger

    I know I’m late to the party, but I thought I would add my experience with “socialized” medicine. Back in 1982, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and treated for it in Germany. I’m not that knowledgable about it, but Germany has a healthcare system that mandates that everyone has health insurance. There are non-profit companies that provide the insurance for lower income people who split the premiums with their employer and there are private companies as well. There is basically no way to not be insured. Back to my mom. She battled a migrating cancer for 19 years. During that time my dad was working, laid off, working again, laid off, working part time and and then retired. At no point did my mom have to worry about getting medical care or how to pay for it. There were no phone calls to insurance agencies or procedures deemed necessary by a doctor denied. If she had still lived in the US, I am convinced that my parents would have gone broke and my mom would have died a lot sooner.
    Is Germany having problems dealing with an aging population and rising medical costs? Yes, and they are dealing it by raising some fees and providing incentives for healthy living.
    As for rationing and sending old people off to die, my 83-year old uncle just had prostrate surgery – a few weeks after his doctor confirmed the diagnosis.
    Here’s a good book to read: http://www.amazon.com/The-Healing-America-Global-Cheaper/dp/1594202346

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  • Little Magpie

    Canadian here (you asked for input from those of us with socialized health care systems; I haven’t read all of the comments, so my apologies if someone has already responded “upstream” – and also work in health care…
    re #26. I speak to my experience specifically in Ontario (some things are different from province to province, as the whole socialization of the cost of health care, and therefore the attendant bureaucracy, is at the provincial rather than federal level, although my understanding is that things are more similar than not in other provinces), and specifically in Toronto (large city with a large population but also lots of resources) Yes, there are issues with long wait-times for some things, but generally it’s for, hmm, how to phrase this, … not life-threatening things. Sure it’s not fun to be in pain for a long time while you’re on a wait list for a knee or hip replacement, or even to wait a long time to get an MRI to figure out exactly what is wrong with your knee cartilage anyway. And everybody in the field, from the doctors “on the ground” through to the Ministry of Health, admit that is something that needs to be better and various ideas and programs are being mooted to try and fix that. But my experience has been, that when it *really matters*, the system works. The heart attacks and massive trauma cases go through Emerg and get dealt with quickly, and the people with tumours that look suspicious of malignancy get their specialized imaging, if needed, very quickly, (by specialized imaging i mean, we’d send someone for a fairly basic ultrasound – which you can get organized pretty easily, and the radiologist who gets back and says, this is pretty suspicious looking, but you’d need an MRI to be sure exactly what is is – in that sort of case, you’re likely to get that MRI in a couple of weeks), and to an oncologist fairly quickly. To illustrate what I mean about “fairly quickly” – one lady we had, came in with symptoms of abdominal bloating (in the sense of “my pants are tighter and not from putting on weight,” and there was some sort of palpable lump… which is kind of vague and could be all sorts of things, so we sent her for a pelvic ultrasound, and this is the only step that could have been sborter, it wasn’t right away; we didn’t have an inkling, and she was in no big hurry, so it ended up being a couple of weeks before she did the ultrasound. (But we could have gotten her one within a couple of days at a different clinic, had we known or wanted to.) So when she did the ultrasound, that was the end of August; the radiologist who did it called and talked to the doctor in my office who’d ordered that say and said (i’m paraphrasing, here), I suspect this is ovarian cancer, and I’ll be faxing the report as soon as we get it dictated and printed. So initial diagnosis: late August. She saw the oncologist September 20, and had her hysterectomy-oopherectomy mid October, and I don’t remember offhand whether it’s chemo or radiation that is the next step, but it is happening. So, initial diagnosis to surgery, 6 weeks. Not perfect, but reasonable, and I would say that we’ve had even speedier responses than that – this one is just fresh in my memory.

    So even though it’s a pain sitting a long time in Emerg waiting to get a broken bone reduced and casted (ie something kinda urgent but not immediately life-threatening) while the heart attacks and car accident traumas get dealt with ahead of you (and realistically, that’s because of socialized medicine, that’s called basic triage), and it’s a pain waiting for your knee MRI and knee surgery while the MR machine and the operating room time are prioritized for the cancer patients… those ARE what the priorities should be. Admittedly the resources are stretched sometimes, and there are wait-times and such that need to be worked on, it’s by no means a perfect system. But like I said, when it’s really important, it works.

  • Little Magpie

    Oh and also, as for #32 – conservative talk shows get hampered by having to give equal time to the opposing viewpoint, and end up disappearing…

    Actually, that whole scenario sounds like a good idea all round (both the fairness part in general – I think that’s a good idea whichever side of the spectrum you’re on, and the Rush Limbaugh et al being off the air, because i personally can’t stand that stuff….) :D

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  • Jill

    Canada does not have a single provider health care system. We have a single PAYER health care system (at least, we’re supposed to… some companies are contravening the Health Care Act and going over into grey territory by allowing people or their employers to pay extra for already insured services and thereby jump the queue, which is supposed to be illegal)

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  • Another Dave

    Greetings from Australia. Beats me why so many homeschoolers want to move here. While it is legal and apparently becoming more popular, it’s just something you don’t hear much about. I had to go looking to find anything about it. They may be confusing distance & virtual learning in remote areas with the type of home schooling they are familiar with. Found these links, if you are interested.
    http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/by%20Subject/1301.0~2012~Main%20Features~Primary%20and%20secondary%20education~105
    http://australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/school-of-the-air

  • http://madam-eglentyne.tumblr.com/ Clytia

    I was not homeschooled, nor do I have children that I homeschool (growing up I had some friends who were homeschooled), but I live in New Zealand, so in regards to homeschooling in NZ:
    Parents must apply for an exemption for their child from the Ministry of Education (but if their child is aged 6-16 it must be in school until the exemption has been granted). By the looks of it, the application needs to outline their planned curriculum in detail, and just like schools, homeschooling families can be visited by someone from the Education Review Office (ERO) who pretty much has to make sure that the education being provided is up to scratch (I think). See here for more info on homeschooling in NZ:
    http://www.minedu.govt.nz/Parents/AllAges/EducationInNZ/Homeschooling.aspx

  • Adrienne

    So late to this party, but wanted to share my own health care experience! I was experiencing severe hip pain and incredibly decreased mobility which came on rather suddenly. I had to WAIT 4 MONTHS to get an initial appointment with a specialist. He diagnosed me, and referred me to a surgeon. I needed a regular MRI, and had to wait 2 weeks to get on the schedule. Then I had to get a specialized MRI, and that took more than a month to get on that schedule. The waiting list for a surgery slot was 3 MONTHS LONG. And oh yeah, I’M AMERICAN! I HATE hearing about the unreasonable 6 week waiting times in single payer health care countries, as if that’s not also a problem Americans already face when accessing specialized healthcare. And I didn’t have the benefit of being “triaged” for these services, as our international commenters have mentioned. It was first come first serve, no matter how urgent your doctor judged your need. For anyone about to nay say-I live in a large metropolitan city. I had excellent employer-based health insurance throughout the whole process, which took about 4 years from initial recognition of a problem to completion of surgery. The out of pocket costs were $50k. So spare me the histrionics about the horrors which we will go through with single payer. From where I’m standing, all of your fears sound like upgrades. (Only 6 week waiting times! Yes!!!!)

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