Idiocracy: a nation or government run by idiots.
What a marvelously simple and descriptive word. I saw it used in an editorial about a month ago (I don’t recall who the author was, unfortunately). I’d never heard the term before, I guess. But it seemed like I should have. Once you see a descriptor like that, you think yes, of course, that’s the right word. That defines what he’s talking about exactly. Anyway, I had a good laugh and then promptly forgot about it. Until about 2 days ago.
That was when the latest installment of the Healthcare soap opera here in the U. S. began to unfold. It was also smack-dab in the middle of the international climate change summit being held in Copenhagen. Both of these events strongly reminded me of this latest addition to my vocabulary.
The details are not worth getting into. Especially the details concerning the healthcare debate currently raging in the United States Senate. The U. S. Senate, you see, is not exactly a great example of democracy in action. In all fairness, it was never meant to be. As part of the system of checks and balances in this country, it’s supposed to be difficult to get legislation through this body. For a bill to pass, you need 60 votes (out of 100). A simple majority won’t do it. It will in the House of Representatives, but not in the Senate. In other words, 3 of every 5 senators have to vote “yes” to get a bill through. Again, it’s not supposed to be easy.
The problem, though, is that it can give a small group of senators, or even a single senator, enormous power. A senator from a small state, representing only a small fraction of the U. S. population, can become the most powerful person in the country if the right set of circumstances occur. And that’s what’s happened in this case.
The current bill in the senate has been turned into something that nobody wants, all in the name of “compromise”. A few senators, knowing that their individual votes are critical, have removed virtually every part of the bill that could be called “reform”. The single payer option – gone. The public option – gone. The Medicare at 55 option – gone. There is, in fact, nothing left in this bill that will force the insurance companies to truly compete. The bill is a Christmas present to the insurance companies and only to the insurance companies. The rest of us get, well, more of the same old crap.
Now, guess where some of these senators come from. Joe Lieberman is from Connecticut. Have you ever driven through Hartford, CN? If so, and if you’ve looked up at the names on the buildings, then you know who this guy actually represents. As one pundit put it, Joe is the senator from Aetna. Or as another said, he is nothing more than a Senatorial prostitute. He did what he did for the money.
There are others. Grassley from Iowa, DeMint from South Carolina, and Baucus from Montana. All bought and paid for. Not an altruistic bone in their collective bodies. It’s just about money.
And what a coincidence, that’s exactly the problem at the so-called climate summit. Money and greed. The real debate is over who’s going to come out financially ahead if some agreement is actually reached. Who’s going to pay for fixing this mess – that’s the only relevant question under consideration. The rest is all window dressing. If I’m the leader of China, my one and only concern is whether or not an agreement is going to hurt my growing manufacturing sector in particular and my overall economy in general. The same holds true for any other developing nation. Everything else is just collateral damage.
So pardon my renewed cynicism, but I honestly don’t see a way out of either mess. At least not one that will do anything that benefits the average person. In my mind, the evidence is pretty clear. The inmates are running the asylum.
Two pieces of advice, then:
1. If you live in the United States, don’t get sick.
2. No matter where you are, try not to live too close to a coastline.