Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Three Monkey Government

Our old friends in the government are back; you know them, they are old friends, Hear no evil, See no evil, Speak no evil. They are roaming the halls of Congress and working in the highest levels of the Bush Administration to make our country safe from the possible terrors of a Kerry Administration. One of them looks a lot like Cheney, and it isnít Speak no evil.

Now the antics of these monkeys have been a long and arduous study in human history. They include a tendency of all governments to cover up facts about their own incompetence. That is Speak no evilís job and he enlisted Thomas Scully, the former head of the agency that oversees Medicare payments. That was back when Congress was passing the Medicare Deform Bill. That bill converted a program designed to keep elders from dying without the permission of a doctor to a program designed to raise health care costs by half a trillion dollars over the next ten years. I am not a fan of Medicare; I think it is the wrong approach to the problem of elder care, a problem that pervades our society. That problem will get far worse and more expensive as the seventy million strong baby boomer bubble floats through our society until it gradually loses color and finally pops as the boomers die off.

The problem of elder care was brought home to our family as my Father-In-Law aged and died. The last years of his life were as comfortable as we could make them; we enlisted the help of a woman from the Philippines to help care for him at home. There are a few things I think I need changing in our society, one of them is our dependence on the tender mercies of the private sector and government both in regard to supplying medical services for the old and infirm. I think we need to do some things for ourselves whenever possible. The gold standard for death is still to die among those who love you and those you have loved as did my Father-In-Law. He did most of it without Medicareís help. The will to live and the knowledge of the certainty of death are always in conflict in every society; in ours they are also at war with good sense.

We are going to spend that half a trillion dollars for the drugs that keep people alive and often in a stupor of insensibility in our already overstressed nursing homes and hospitals. The family tried a nursing home for My Father-In-Law, it didnít work. He threatened to divorce his wife of fifty some years, fell out of bed trying to go to the bathroom, hit an aide and became drug addicted. We took him out after he went through detox for his addiction to prescription drugs which were all administered by hospital and nursing home employees in an effort to keep him quiet. This man was a Minister in his former life and loved by his community. He went to the best care facility available and his wife visited him twice a day for long periods and brought his food from home much of the time. During the few weeks he was there he was miserable, lived in a wheelchair and in bed and suffered depression and despair.

After we took him home he walked again, we ended the tyranny of adult diapers within two weeks and he made it from his hospital bed in his former office to his wifeís bed before he died. He died in a hospital with his wife holding one hand and his daughter holding his other and telling him how much she loved him. Those years before his death were full of the moments that define family values in real life. Medicare was not required, just careful husbanding of the resources available.

The current political cynicism, which allows men and women to form a government like oursí is today, is a sad addition to any society. We cannot afford the loss of human and family values that this government portends for us. I include both Democrats and Republicans in that in case anyone cares about those labels. No dying person does, I can assure you of that, they only want the comfort of affection and respect and help when it is needed.

The Medicare and Social Security systems badly need reform, they are excessively expensive and promote a massive transfer of wealth from our children and grandchildren to the elderly. In their current forms we cannot afford them. More important than that fact is the reality that our children and grandchildren cannot afford them. Why am I talking about this in the waning days of this election, when my candidate is not gaining on the President? Because it should be the centerpiece of this election, the War on Terror is a side issue. Old age will kill more people in this nation every year for the next fifty than terrorism if we had a repeat of 9/11 every week of each of those years. How we deal with the aging of our population will define more about this society than anything about how we deal with the terrorists. Yet these issues are ignored in the electoral debate, largely because neither party wants to define itself as anything but willing to keep things as they are. The status quo is wrong; it will ruin this nation far more certainly than any terrorist with a nuclear weapon.

Our political system is well designed to obfuscate and diminish real issues. We vote with our emotions, not our brains. That is why our campaigns have come to resemble ďAll Star WrestlingĒ in their scope of discussion and demeanor. Nobody wants to talk about prisons versus schools; or the young versus the elderly; although those are the conflicts that define our society today, not a small expensive war against Islamic Terrorists half a world away. God bless and keep you all safe from the scourge of terrorism, Dick Cheney and his ilk cannot. As for old age, our children will have to provide, we havenít! ©Henri Reynard/GoldenBrush Interactive

Posted by Henri Reynard at September 8, 2004 9:45 AM