Thinking outside the media box
If we want to make change, it’s vitally important that we remember to think outside the media box. The mainstream media, including the New York Times, NPR, and other “liberal” news outlets, project the views of the dominant class, the ones currently running the show (mostly from behind the scenes). Why else would NPR is constantly broadcast “business news” and stock market reports, but have no regular programming on labor issues?
Luckily, it’s easy to think outside the box (the harder part is always remembering to do it). I’ll give you two examples – hot-button, already-on-the-2012 campaign trail topics – that, if you think about it, you can understand better using your own common sense (or asking a child) than by listening to “the news.”
The first is the federal budget. It can be brought into line, leaving plenty for social services, by ending the U.S. effort to control the world. In other words, bring every last soldier home and stop spending trillions on planes, bombs, missile “defense,” etc. Despite government propaganda about al Qaeda and other terrorists, there’s no real threat. On the spiritual level, as I keep saying, we have no enemies, because we’re all one (part of what I call Spirit and others call the divine). But even in the “real world,” no one’s really threatening to hurt us, or can hurt us effectively. The Muslims in Arab countries seem to be more focused on getting freedom for themselves. Some of them may be fundamentalists, but even among these, al Qaeda isn’t that popular. Ever since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, our government’s tried to use the threat of Islamic terrorism as it did the threat of communism from 1945-1991 – as a bogeyman to distract us from the real issues and get us to go along with its foreign policy and fight — or put up with — its wars. This got a lot easier after 9-11 (on which see my recent post), but the principle is still the same. Bottom line: the only military we need is one to defend our actual shores and air space from attack. And, if we play our foreign policy cards right, and work toward global disarmament, we won’t even need that.
Social Security and Medicare aren’t just a subset of the budget issue. Conservatives have been attacking both programs for years, because they don’t like the “New Deal” principle of “entitlements.” The usual criticism is that they’re “fiscally unsustainable.” Not if the federal government would stop taking money from Social Security for other purposes, and not if we want these programs, however they have to be funded.
The only problem with Medicare is that it doesn’t go far enough. We need not just Medicare for all (as the slogan goes), but free health care for all. Yes – “socialized medicine.” We’d pay more in taxes (on a fair basis, if we went back to a true graduated income tax), but gain much more, monetarily, in terms of health care and insurance costs – both individually and as a nation. Businesses, large and small, are going under because of the contributions they have to make to employees’ health insurance – an average of $15,000 a year per employee I heard on NPR yesterday (there is some good information to be had there). That’s like a lead balloon sitting on top of the economy, which will get worse, with health care, prescription drug, and insurance costs projected to continue to rise, because under the current system they can’t be controlled by the government.
Where are the savings in a government health care system? Simple – just subtract the profits now going to drug and insurance companies. Why do we need middlemen expecting to profit – at a higher rate than any other type of business – from our need to prevent and cure illnesses? Cut those profits out, add a modest amount to the average person’s taxes, and we can have a health care system that provides good, basic health care free, to everyone. If we adopted a system like England’s, that would include doctor visits, prescriptions, ambulance, and hospital stays – everything, except elective surgery and “heroic” efforts to save lives that are ending anyway.
Think for yourself, outside the box. You’ll find a lot of ideas that make better sense to you than those presented on “the news,” even if they differ from mine. However your conclusions differ from mine, I’ll bet they end up including the need for big changes in the current “system.”