Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim
Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah
Weary and bleary-eyed from lack of sleep (thanks to a teething baby who likes to wake up at night and serenade me), I went through my usual morning routine. I turn on CNN. One of the first stories was about an Alabama hospital where patients had been infected by contaminated IV bags. Imagine you go in for some surgery, and it is successful, only to succumb to a bacteria in your glucose. At least nine patients have died and others are critically ill. This comes on the heels of an earlier story about a much wider contamination of antiseptic wipes that are widely used in hospitals around the country. Seems the largest manufacturer of these wipes has a bit of a sanitation problem. So Grandpa goes in to have his hand stitched where he gashed it opening a tin can and ends up with a raging infection. Then, just to hammer the point home, Johnson & Johnson has recalled yet another batch of their medicine due to a funky smell. Are you beginning to see a pattern here?
Let’s step outside the field of medicine. Let’s talk about, oh, I don’t know, infrastructure. You know, the stuff that makes the country run. Lights, water, sewer, phone lines – we do still have those, you know. First of all, we’re way behind the Koreans in bringing high speed internet to every home. I don’t have a huge problem with that because we’re way bigger than Korea so the logistics are completely different. But I do have a problem with the fact that our electricity infrastructure is old and on the way to obsolescence. Bridges are failing, roads are pitted and marred, we haven’t built a refinery in twenty years, we treat clean renewable energy like some dumb quaint idea our five year old came up with. I could go on and on. As a matter of fact, I think I will….
We have a prison system that is mostly run for profit nowadays. The incarceration business is there to make money; they would rather have your uncle Bob back to stay again and again because they get money for his upkeep, rather than trying to help him, oh, you know, rehabilitate himself and become a productive member of society. If he has a drug problem, too bad. They’re gutting programs and cutting funds for drug treatment. And if he gets out, there’s probably not a job for him.
If he gets sick while he’s in prison, well, cool, he has health care. Might not be great, but it’s free and it’s quite possibly better than what his non-felonious counterparts in the outside world can get for free. Despite the recent watered-down health care “reform” that was recently past and now is constantly fought over, most of the poor in this country are still terrified of getting sick because they can’t afford it. A drug available to women that could help prevent miscarriage was about $10 a shot a few weeks ago; now it is over $1500. No, that’s not a typo. So poor women have fewer options for treatment, and if they do get Medicaid, that Medicaid program might go bankrupt trying to offer them the ongoing treatment necessary to save their babies. You know, babies?
Education. Hmm, what can I say about education? Broken schools, demoralized teachers, disinterested parents, crumbling buildings, drug gangs, cheating on standardized tests.
Drugs. Our southern border is porous, allowing the mayhem from Mexico to spill over. Our busy ports bring in cocaine and heroin and other poisons in containers that are too numerous to inspect. We have a thriving domestic methamphetamine culture with lots and lots of people willing to risk blowing themselves to kingdom come in order to cook up a batch.
I could go on and on but the kids want their breakfast and the baby is teething so I have to stop. The sad thing is that I could go on. Pages and pages, talking about the environment, Wall Street banks, home foreclosures – you get the idea.
What I want to know, given that we have about a gajillion serious issues here at home to deal with, is why we are involved in three wars overseas. We certainly don’t have the moral high ground to lead the rest of the world. We don’t have the financial power to bribe it into submission. Why are we letting our country fall into complete disrepair and dysfunction while we spend billions of dollars overseas? Why? Tell me. Tell the poor women who have miscarriages. Tell the unemployed. Tell the homeless. Tell the people. Because we want to know.