If a river's source isn't clean & healthy, eventually, all things in & along the river - the people, the animals, the aquatic life, the water, the land - will become unclean & unhealthy.
It seems simple, doesn't it?
Now, replace the river's source with the government of the United States of America. Imagine the first inhabitants along the river as being the American people.
As the river runs its course, the inhabitants further along become the many countries and legions of non-citizens, both here and abroad, that the United States provides aid to.
Imagine that the strife and infighting going on daily among our representatives in Washington, D.C. is pollution.
As undecided issues vital to the good health & general welfare of the American people go unsolved, the source of the river becomes nearly stagnant & toxic with pollution. Our government ceases to be fruitful. It ceases to nurture its people.
Snaking down the river like a plague, the pollution/indecision, infighting, indifference, selfishness and catering to special interests of government officials sickens and debilitates its own people. As the American people become weaker and forlorn, the pollution continues to seep down the river, eventually poisoning or killing everyone in its path.
How can America's government remain a world power, a vital source of help and hope for the world if it can't take care of itself and of its own people?
The source must be functioning as smoothly as possible, be as selfless as possible, and be as morally healthy as possible to continue as a power, a responsible mentor, a light in the darkness to its own people first and to others second.
I cannot imagine, and think about daily, the pain and suffering of starving babies & children around the world. In a selfless world, the horrific reality that tens of thousands of children die in pain and misery EVERYDAY because they don't have food and clean water would have been rectified decades ago.
But this isn't a selfless world. And talking about why it's not a selfless world is counterproductive.
Action needs to be taken, and it needs to be taken by the people who empowered & created the river's source to begin with. You and me, regular people, need to begin healing our country from within.
The government isn't going to do it. The day I read that politicians were proposing that citizens who lack health insurance be fined, I knew, absolutely and without a doubt, that no matter how down-to-Earth they believe they are, politicians understand NOTHING about average people like us.
I don't know a single person who wouldn't buy health insurance if they could afford it.
Back in the last century, my former, late husband and I bought health insurance through our small business. It was very expensive, but every member of our family needed to be insured in order to receive good health care.
My sister, who barely survived breast cancer because her insurance company recommended that she have reconstructive surgery at the same time as undergoing a radical double mastectomy and as a result had her implants destroyed by radiation causing a nearly fatal infection, pays for health insurance to the tune of about $1,000 a month, through the small business she operates with her husband.
During her cancer treatment, the insurance company she had been paying for years, every month, dropped her. Calls to politicians and news outlets prompted the insurance company to reinstate her, but I'm sure the stress and horror of facing cancer without insurance didn't help.
It sure didn't do anything positive for me, as recovering from heart surgery I faced the very real possibility of losing a sister because of an insurance company!
Sister, who is living with a disfigured breast because she's reluctant to go under the knife again at the hands of the folks who put her life in jeopardy in the first place, is shopping for more affordable insurance because-big surprise in this economy- her small business is failing after 20-plus years of hard work.
In the recent past, I paid for my health insurance at a rate of about $100 out of every pay check, with a match from my employer. Single and with two minor children still at home, I could have used the cash, but we needed the insurance. In my often adhering to "Murphy's Law" life, I gave up the job because I was sick, and lost the insurance (COBRA was too expensive) about a year prior to needing heart surgery.
I'm not even going into that mess, except to say that medical assistance here in PA is only bestowed upon those who make LESS THAN $400 a month (in my county, the last time I checked).
So if you need help, you have to not work to get it, because honestly, who makes less than $400 a month at a full time job? And most people with full time jobs who don't belong to a union can't afford medical insurance.
I knew a woman here in PA who worked full time for health insurance ONLY, and this woman was no spring chicken. Her pay check was $40 a week, after paying the company for her insurance.
So these nuts in Washington- and honestly, I do believe that people go into politics for noble reasons, but the noble reasons and intentions get lost along the way- are going to fine people who work but who can't afford health insurance. And I know lots of people who need the cash to pay the mortgage or the rent, buy the food, the heating oil, etc, who can't spare money for medical insurance.
It seems that every state provides children's health insurance, (which is great, & reproductive education/responsibility is another issue for another day!)) but what are all these kids going to do when their parents become disabled or die because they couldn't buy health insurance? And don't believe it can't happen. The father of my kids died of cancer in 04, and I nearly died in 08!
We have to save ourselves here at the grass roots. I'm not kidding.
In 1978, when I was a teenager on Long Island, a singer/song writer/Long Islander named Billy Joel began an organization called "Charity Begins at Home."
The point was ( and I'm pretty sure still is) healing from within the community. Once the community is strong, we go on to help others, but we have to BEGIN AT HOME.
Teenagers (I bid $200 for Stones tickets for the charity way back when), bikers, radio stations and the like all got behind the cause. I know that "Charity Begins at Home" lasted at least 30 years, as its Web site boasts its 30th anniversary in 2008.
Its Web site further informs that Charity Begins at Home, Inc. raises funds that are directly allocated to agencies in the tri-state area , bypassing the huge administrative costs associated with larger national organizations.
Charity Begins at Home, Inc. is a model for grassroots change. If a rock singer and a bunch of teenagers, young adults and bikers could take a stand 30-plus years ago, then we can, too.
I'm calling on all of you regular folks to e-mail me and to tell me that you want to solve the health care crisis that your government can't solve.
We have to meet,organize, brainstorm, get medical people on board, and act to save ourselves, and in turn, save our government and the world.
The longest, most daunting journey starts with one step. E-mail me and we can begin together! NEPAFollies@gmail.com