Economic Triage: Euthanizing Hope and Promise in the U.S.
Our nation's forefathers started us off with good intentions.
We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
That's not to say that they envisioned a "welfare state" -- an accusation oft tossed into the mix by radical right-wing conservatives. The line "promote the general welfare" does, however, denote the support and importance of the "health, happiness, or prosperity; well-being"1 of the people, the states and the nation itself. The mythos that later came to embody the "domestic Tranquility" and principles of liberty and justice in a free democratic Republic was bolstered with the words from a plaque at the base of one of our most notable national symbols, the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
-- Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus, 1883
What a grand dream of freedom, of democracy, of goodwill and equal opportunity...
How horrified our founding fathers might be now, to read of the way our system has been twisted and corrupted so that the poor and the sick are effectively shut-out from the benefits that modern-day medicine can provide, like the child who was taken off a liver doner list through an example of the cold, hard nature of economic triage2 as reported recently in the Miami Herald:
BY CAROL MARBIN MILLER of the Miami Herald
Posted on Tue, Jul. 08, 2008
A disabled foster child whose liver is failing has been removed from a Central Florida hospital's organ-transplant waiting list because hospital administrators fear the state's shaky child-welfare system cannot ensure he has a permanent home in which to recover.
Shands Hospital in Gainesville removed the boy, 15, from a waiting list for organ recipients after administrators determined the boy's unstable living conditions make him a poor candidate for a transplant, said Nick Cox, the Department of Children & Families regional administrator in the Tampa Bay area, where the boy lives.
The state's next move: appeal to Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, which DCF officials hope will put the teen on its transplant wait list.
Article continues at link in title.
This is but one small example of the ongoing euthanasia and murder that is justified through the "magic" of numerical accounting; it's been titled "Murder by Numbers" and "Murder by Spreadsheet" in order to illustrate the cold logic behind the calculated decisions over life and death.
From Murder by Numbers:
Now you can join the ranks of the illustrious
In history's great dark hall of fame
All our greatest killers were industrious
At least the ones that we all know by name
Industry. Banking. The military-industrial complex. All have blood on their hands. From mining to Big Oil and on through to a Culture of Corruption based on a corporate backbone, murder is -- literally -- big business.
And Big Business uses numbers to justify murder. Perhaps not explicitly -- that would be crass after all -- but through the numerical justification of policies that dictate denial of service justified by sustainable business liquidity (read: "profit margins" and ROI). As mentioned in the opening paragraphs, the piece by nyceve provides an excellent illustration of how this technique is put to use, masking what is ultimately nothing more than unjustifiable "justification" of homicide. Call it whatever you will -- homicide, fratricide, matricide, suicide, genocide, casualties or even simply statistics -- it's still a matter of life and death. Usually death.
But there's a pinnacle to this pyramid, a peak level of achievement from which one may murder and commit mayhem, enabling all the lower levels to operate more openly and freely.
But you can reach the top of your profession
If you become the leader of the land
For murder is the sport of the elected
And you don't need to lift a finger of your hand
The Presidency of the United States, as embodied and foresworn by George W. Bush and arduously protected by the snivelling and snarling neoconservative cabal of his Administration and the neoconservatives of the GOP portion of Congress. (And Joe Lieberman, but he's in a class all by himself. It's called "Connecticut for Lieberman," in fact.)
Lost in the shuffle of attempting to utilize business practices devoid of human sympathy and consideration are the factors which initially underscored the founding fathers' efforts: the people.
In particular, the children.
"Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of God."
-- Mark 10:14
The cesspool of vitriolic evil that comes from the lunacy of the radically unhinged -- those who so often tout the importance of "family values" yet staunchly fail to promote or defend anything remotely resembling an actual "value" -- has come alive, foaming at the mouth and conducting focused attacks upon two young children and their family. The curtain has been pulled away, and the creature behind it revealed for what it truly is: an un-evolved cretin, wearing a fleshy mask of humanity in an effort to blend in with the rest of the human race, but screeching an ungodly hypocrisy that is no longer hidden behind by a veil of illusion.
These are the same people who support an illegal war. These are the same people who forsake the freedoms our forefathers fought to provide this nation over 200 years ago. These are the same people who call themselves Christians and Patriots while undermining the fundamental teachings of Christ and subverting our Constitution.
They call themselves "conservatives." They call themselves Republicans...
Granted, the Republicans aren't solely responsible for the reprehensible state of our Union with regard to healthcare; they are, however, the primary stumbling block on the path toward establishing a more economically feasible and socially mature method of providing life-giving services.
In this day and age, if we dare delude ourselves by inferring a type of "civilized" self-agrandizement upon our technologically advanced status among the nations of the world, we need to keep in mind that simply saying we are civilized doesn't mean that we actually are civilized.
There is a difference between the genuine pride of accomplishment and the arrogant pride of presumption; the former is self-effacing and personal, while the latter is external and condescending. Yet it is the prevalence of the latter, oft touted as if it were the former, that lay at the core of the problem: "Why should we deign it our responsibility to help others, when nobody helped us?" is a common example of that. Other, worse and far more stark examples exist; several of those examples serve as driving themes for mindless masses to assemble behind and shield themselves from the realities of their own hypocrisy.
They're "right" because they say so, and their Bible says so -- even when they're wrong, or when their Bible contradicts their interpretation of its words.
It's all wordplay to them, and when we acquiesce and remain complacent they have a tendency to get all of us into trouble.
For why is all around us here
As if some lesser god had made the world,
But had not force to shape it as he would?
-- Alfred Lord Tennyson,
Idylls of the King: The Passing of Arthur. Line 13.
Harsh, indeed, rings the title of this article; all the more inciteful for the accuracy with which is betrays the blatant, arrogant hypocrisy of the "priveleged" few. They who would beat their chests with cries of righteousness and claims of Christian piety are the self-same misbegotten misanthropes who call for the annihilation others in the name of their god. Images of destruction and the realities of war fail to penetrate the thick miasma of self-delusion that so heavily clouds their hearts and minds.
We as a nation have been played, taken for fools by fools themselves. I've heard said that there is no rest for the wicked: so be it. There are none more wicked than those who support this Administration and the follies of their war, for it is not a "Global War on Terror" that they wage: it is a war on all that it holy in this world.
This world isn't our world; we are simply travelers upon it. Our lives span decades, not centuries; the planet is but a temporary haven for the human mind and spirit, where our souls cavort in a variety of meat-encased shells and our day-to-day activities often distract us from the fleeting nature of this thing called "life."
We are mortal, yet our potential for eternal life exists through our actions and through our children, and the actions that they and the their descendants take.
Our future depends on what we do and how we enable our children to take over when we must retire from our roles as stewards of our respective lives. The education, health, safety and welfare of our children determines how well we have prepared them to take over when their time comes, and how well they'll be able to prepare their children to take over for them.
It's a cyclical, recursive process -- ad infinitum if we do it right.
We can also learn from the process, and from our children, simply by observing them and seeing how they take what lessons they've learned so far apply them when an opportunity presents itself. This can aid in our ability to improve our world in the here-and-now and to strengthen both it and the opportunities for survival that we leave for future generations.
And sometimes, we learn some valuable lessons for ourselves along the way.
A famous US patriot once said "These are the times that try men's souls." At the time, he spoke of the events and circumstances surrounding the birth of a nation destined to be defined by the rights and freedoms of the people; a nation led by government of the People, by the People and for the People, where leaders could inspire the People to stand united in spite of differing opinions or particular religious influence.
The advent of the twenty-first century has marked the most severe departure from our founding principles than ever before. We stand on the brink of self-immolation, leaderless and adrift, while selfish, arrogant hypocrites steer our ship of state toward the shoals.
Should we fail now to grow resolute and united in our determination to right this ship, we fail not only ourselves but our children, and their children's children.
It is time to look to those children for inspiration and a reminder of what we, as adults, are tasked with as parents and guardians: to create and foster an environment where children can grow to adulthood, secure in the knowledge that we have passed along the best models for ethical leadership and responsible stewardship of this nation that we know how.
For us to learn, to grow and to provide the best opportunity for ourselves and our posterity, we must ensure that our nation itself is working properly. Lately, that doesn't seem to be the case.
Our Congress and our leaders in several areas of government -- most notably the Executive Branch -- have fallen into a rut. They are awash in a sea of mediocrity and swimming only effect the survival of their own careers and partied interests. In essence, they are slowly drowning our nation in effectiveness born of a near-permanent deep shallow.
From The Deep Shallow:
By definition, it means it does nothing. It changes nothing, but allows us all to make statements for media consumption and allows some of those who made the original vote to use force the ability to shirk the responsibility of that particular action.
Our nation has been betrayed by those who cover for the current Administration's gross negligence, criminal incompetence and outright unConstitutional behavior. Our people have sent a clear message to Congress and the Executive Branch through last November's election. Elections have consequences. And the November election of 2006 also set some expectations. Congress is on notice.
The Executive Office is manned by people who now clearly meet the definition of "domestic enemies" -- enemies of the State, who seek to undermine the proper workings of government for their own good. Those who adhere to them and give them aid and comfort are committing treason. The White House, with the adherence of these traitorous bastards, is attempting to define any opposition by Congress to their plans as unPatriotic and treasonous, knowing full well that they themselves are the ones truly betraying their nation.
Enough is enough, folks.
It is time for Congress to stop the political games, to step up and call out against the tactics of this Administration and their proponents. The political comfort zone of staying within "the deep shallow" must be forbidden to them.
Regardless of party affiliation, this cannot stand; the center cannot hold.
We must communicate among ourselves and open the floodgates of communication to Congress, insisting on their protection of our founding principles as embodied within the Constitution and Bill of Rights.
With apologies to Ben Franklin, "We must all hang together, or we shall surely hang separately."
Footnotes and References
- From here.
- economic triage: word parlance An evaluation of the impact of the patient's care on fiscal aspects important to the clinician; e.g., can the patient or applicable insurance cover the cost of a lucrative intervention, or alternatively, might an expensive procedure result in diminution in income based on per-capita clinician expenditures?
See also triage:
triage (trēˑ·äj), n a process of sorting a group of patients in a hospital or military or disaster setting to determine the immediacy of an individual's need for treatment. The type of injury or illness, the condition's severity, the level of urgency involved, the availability of medical facilities, and the likelihood of survival are the criteria used in triage.
Jonas: Mosby's Dictionary of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (c) 2005, Elsevier.