When I worked as a submissions editor for an indie publisher, I accepted a book I’ve never forgotten. Some stories never leave you.
A memoir of one man coming to America. As a little boy, he was left to fend for himself. In Africa. He starved, most days, little belly distended from hunger more often than not. I couldn’t stop reading.
As a teen, he won the ability to go to Canada for a competition. He had every intention of winning his way there, and no intention of going back home.
That kid, still just a boy, won the competition, won the trip and went to Canada with his school — and then smuggled himself across the border.
Hanging on for dear life underneath a semi-trailer as it crossed the border.
To America. The land of opportunity.
He was scared, he said. Terrified. But the only thing scarier was going back to the life waiting for him in Africa.
How could I not publish that?
I don’t normally write about politics. I write about writing. Marketing. Humanity, and opportunity.
But the more I watch the news, the more the lines seem to be blurring.
How the hell do you have opportunity, or even humanity, without a government that supports those things?
I’m not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m not a lib-tard or any of the other names each side slings at each other.
I am Canadian.
And there’s a few things about America I don’t understand.
1. American healthcare — what the?
Right now, over 27 million Americans don’t have health insurance. 12.2% of Americans. But hey, that means 87.8% of Americans do, right?
Does that mean your healthcare system works? No. Before the Affordable Care Act, 44 million Americans had no health insurance.
Basic math. Look at the number of people who only have healthcare because of the Affordable Care Act.
Why do you have politicians that want to kill that?
Don’t they care? Shouldn’t they?
Know who has healthcare in Canada? Everyone. Know how much it costs to have a baby in Canada? Or cancer? Nothing. It costs nothing. Unless you want a tv in your room. Then it costs a few bucks.
That’s part of what you pay taxes for, here. Healthcare.
No one gets “less” healthcare because they have less money.
If you’re poor and you get cancer in Canada, you get treatment.
If you’re poor and get cancer in America?
Tough luck. Die. You should have had insurance.
Canada isn’t a perfect system. People who think it is are dead wrong.
More than 20 countries have better healthcare than Canada. The waiting lists are too long here, sometimes. You might have to call the health intervention officer if you fall through the cracks.
I could write all day about the holes in our healthcare system.
But no one goes broke because of a medical bill they can’t pay.
No one is denied health insurance because of a pre-existing condition.
No one worries about whether they can pay to stay alive.
No one goes bankrupt to keep a spouse or child alive.
You think allowing “for profit” corporations to set the prices of healthcare means the “market” will sort it out? Indeed, it does. To the benefit of said market. Not to your benefit.
One of Trump’s first moves as POTUS was to sign an executive order instructing officials to do everything in their power to waive, delay, and defer the implementation of instructions in the ACA.
And that’s okay with some of you? What the…?
2. Lifetime tenure in the Supreme Court
Say the name Ruth Bader Ginsburg and everyone thinks Roe vs Wade. Then a group of special snowflakes, usually on Facebook, call her a baby killer.
Sorry. Try again.
True story. Susan Struck was an Air Force captain who became pregnant while serving in Vietnam in 1970. She was given 2 choices. Get an abortion, or be discharged. That was the way it worked, 50 years ago.
She sued. Thanks to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she won. Women no longer could be forced to abort or lose their job. Not in the military, not anywhere.
I can’t even imagine the number of babies not aborted because of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Women got to keep their jobs and their babies. Imagine that!
RBG was a champion for equality. Not just for women. For everyone.
You already know her dying wish.
Amy Coney Barrett and her husband are reportedly members of People of Praise, a fundamental religious group.
Coral Theill, a former member of People of Praise, told Newsweek that women are expected to be “absolutely obedient” to their husbands and the men in the group.
Read that again if you need.
Trump chose her deliberately. Not because she’s a “woman” to replace RBG. Not some fake feminist choice.
Because she’s a woman that does what she’s told.
She is 48 years old. Your Supreme Court is a lifetime appointment. Wtf?
In Canada, we used to do it that way. Most of our Supreme Court justices used to owe their status to political affiliation. Each judge had ties to the party that was in power when they were appointed. Just like your system.
Until 1949. Then it changed, here.
No more life tenure, either.
Now? Justices hold office during “good behavior,” which can be a life tenure, but they can be removed by the Governor General on address of the Senate and House of Commons.
Which means if they show bias one too many times? Poof. Gone.
In America, there’s no poof, gone. Why did you think they’re in such a hurry that installing her took precedent over stimulus payments?
Y’all are going to be dealing with Kava-nope and the Princess of Patriarchy for a long, long time. Until they die.
I don’t get why you still have life tenure. Do you?
3. The Electoral College
Clinton got 3 million more votes, but Trump won. What the…?
250 million of you are eligible to vote, but the winner is picked by 538 people? Who thought that was a good idea?
Oh wait. I know. Plantation owners. Back in the founding father days.
Problem is, the electoral college discourages people from voting in states where one party holds a big majority. If you’re blue in a red state, what’s the fricking point? That’s what people say.
Most of the people who don’t vote? They think their vote doesn’t matter. Because of the electoral college.
Over a hundred years ago, women were beaten, jailed, strung up by their wrists and force fed for protesting until they got the vote.
And today? Y’all just call each other names on the internet.
Like the “other party” is the enemy.
You know what democracy is, right?
democracy: a system of government by the whole population
You don’t have that. And you don’t seem to care. Long as you can scream at the other side. Screw democracy. Someone to hate is good enough.
I don’t get it. Do you?
4. Unfettered capitalism
The days of trading root vegetables for clothing are done. You don’t walk into the mercantile and strike up a trade for your groceries.
No one buys a house and pays for it with 5 cows, a bull, and a couple goats. Those days are gone. Generations ago.
And we still don’t get that it’s not trading cash for goods that’s the problem. Capitalism is not the problem — unfettered capitalism is the problem.
Unfettered means without restraint.
Fact. 40 years ago, the average CEO earned 35% the average employee salary. You know all them boomers y’all moan about? In their day, the CEO only had to work one month to earn what the average boomer earned all year.
Today? It takes half a day or less. A lot of CEO’s have earned the worker’s entire annual salary before noon on New Years Day. Sometimes, a couple of hours is enough to do it.
Since 1978, CEO compensation went up 1,007.5%.
Where do you think all that extra pay comes from? The sky? Pennies from heaven? No. During the same time, worker salaries went up 11.9%, according to the Economic Policy Institute.
Boomers didn’t screw everyone over.
Unfettered capitalism did.
When Maria Fernandes died in her car between shifts at Dunkin’ Donuts, the state of New York proposed a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers.
Know what happened? The CEO got on national television calling it “outrageous.”
He makes $15,000 per hour. But paying his workers $15/hour is outrageous?
An Amazon warehouse worker would have to work for over 200 years, full time, to earn what Bezos earns in one hour. He could pay them better and never miss it. It is not humanly possible to spend as much as he earns.
But point that out in a public space and some doorknob is going to come along and say “well then, don’t shop there. vote with your wallet…”
It’s like they write stupid on their own foreheads.
Where would you like people to shop when big box stores are shutting down little stores across America? It’s a systemic problem, ffs.
In the hour it takes a new Walmart employee to earn the $11 starting wage, the Walton family earns 4 million.
And what do we do about it?
Well, golly gee — privileged white men get on the internet and write “self growth” tips that only ever applied to middle class white men and we clap that shit up like they’re bringing something besides willful blindness.
Americans spend 13 billion per year on “self help” books and coaching.
As if the average person was ever what’s broken.
Half of America can’t scratch together $500 for an emergency and the wealth divide grows by the year, but hey — you just don’t want it bad enough, right?
In Canada, when people strike it rich, know what most of them do?
Move to America.
5. Socialism for the rich, not the poor — wtf?
When I was watching Bernie and Liz Warren get butchered in the court of public opinion, it occurred to me that one of the most hated words in America seems to be socialism.
Trump addressed the socialism thing in his State of the Union address.
“America will never be a socialist country,”
— Donald Trump, State of the Union address
He wasn’t just speaking to republicans. That’s why you got Biden, not Bernie, right? I won’t throw Liz Warren into the pool, because then we have to talk about feminism.
But, if you think America isn’t socialist, I have one question for you.
Are you kidding me?
America is a hotbed of socialism. But only for the rich.
Socialism for the rich, unfettered capitalism for the poor
Socialism in America is only for corporations and millionaires. For everyone else, there’s unfettered capitalism.
Trump paid $750 in taxes and Bezos paid none, while you pay a quarter of your salary or more. Tax breaks, it seems, are only for big corporations.
Most people hate socialism because they think it means “getting something for doing nothing.”
You know who gets something for doing nothing? The rich.
60% of America’s wealth is inherited. Trump cut the estate tax to apply only to estates valued at over $22 million. Mitch McConnell isn’t happy with that. He wants the estate tax repealed entirely.
Last year, GM got $500 million in tax breaks, much of which went into the pockets of executives while 14,000 workers got laid off.
And now? Millions of Americans are out of work because of the pandemic, senate is too busy ramming through the Amy Coney Barrett nomination to focus on the stimulus for the unemployed — and meanwhile, virus relief funds are going to corporations that avoided paying U.S. taxes.
You think I jest?
Zagg Inc, a Utah-based company that makes mobile accessories, got more than $9.4 million in cash. Zagg Inc made $6 million in profit for 2019, but paid no tax in the United States.
So how come they got 9.4 million and you’re still waiting?
Reuters’ analysis of public data found around 110 publicly traded companies have each received $4 million or more in emergency aid from the program.
Where’s your relief?
Oh, right. Government assistance is only for corporations.
I get it. The government takes care of the businesses so the businesses can take care of the people. Right?
Except they’re not. Because unfettered capitalism. Shareholder primacy. Maybe it’s time for the government to actually care about the people?
Robin Hood robbed the rich to help the poor.
America robs the poor to pay the rich.
And you’re okay with that?
This election is bigger than Trump…
Yes, he’s a boor. Rude. Condescending. Disrespectful. Some people call him a narcissist. I’m not entirely sure narcissism isn’t just the end result of centuries of patriarchy and white male dominance, but whatever.
I keep hearing people blaming everything on Trump.
Trump, Trump, Trump.
That bothers me. This isn’t just about Trump.
Do you honestly think Joe Biden could change anything if he had to work with the same Senate that’s in place right now?
Getting rid of Trump will not solve all the problems.
It will solve some. The pandemic might be handled better, for example.
But, getting rid of Trump would do one very BIG thing. It will send a loud clear message that POTUS is not in charge. No matter who POTUS is.
The president is supposed to represent the people. ALL the people. Not just the ones he likes. When POTUS fails to represent the interests of ALL the people, they can turf him.
Him, and all his cronies.
Because he is not making this mess alone. The people of America can choose to not just vote him out, but flip the entire darn senate.
A total sweep would send a loud clear message that the president is not in charge. Senate is not in charge. The people of America are in charge.
A loud message. That YOU are in charge. Not them.
I’m just not sure you are.
I guess you’ll decide that, soon enough.
American dream? Or nightmare?
Here’s all I know. Years ago, I published a memoir of one boy that escaped to America, saved his own life and became a motivational speaker.
Today he is happy and well and pays his taxes like you do. If a brown kid tried that today, he’d be in a damn cage. And it kind of breaks my heart.
Even if I am Canadian.
The election is not on Nov 3 — the election ENDS Nov 3.
It’s an important distinction. There are quarter mile lines to vote in deep blue areas. It’s not going to get better in the coming days.
If you’re in California, make sure you’re using a real ballot box, not one of the fake ballot boxes the Republicans refuse to remove.
Call me an optimist, but despite everything in the news, I believe in you.
I believe in the power of good to prevail.
Especially if you made it down here.
The haters left paragraphs ago.
But you? You got this.
You may say I’m a dreamer.
But I’m not the only one.
— John Lennon
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