Bodies and Brains

This isn’t about zombies. I know, I’m sorry. I’m disappointed too. Also, if you happen to not be in possession of either a body or a brain, you can just go ahead and skip this one. Go! Get out of here, you Cylon!

Okay, now that just the human-type folks are left, let’s get down to business. A few days ago, while I was wandering around getting caught up on all my stories, I stopped by one of my favorite places on the internet and saw this post. There, among other bits of awesome found by that lady blogger extraordinaire in her web travels, was a snippet from one of the most sense-making things I’ve read in a long time. Truly, I loved reading this. Loved it. I highly recommend reading the entire post, but if you won’t, at least consider some of the parts that I found the most powerful.

“I am unable to shake the belief that there is anything more important to our nation’s future than A. access to affordable healthcare and B. education. Make it easier for your citizens to be healthy and smart and they will save you in ways you have yet to imagine. Make it difficult and your nation will swirl history’s toilet on its way to hell. When a person spends energy worrying about access to affordable healthcare they don’t have the energy to dream up the next Google. I’m sorry that this is a newsflash to some of you, but we are born dying and will each of us have “problems” that need medical intervention; it is not something to be ashamed of or afraid to experience. It is a condition of being alive and I am shocked that ANYONE WITH A HUMAN BODY would place obstacles in the way of their brothers and sisters getting a pill or a procedure that could help them.

The same goes for education. When your citizens’ minds aren’t stimulated by an excellent education, they don’t have the tools to think up the next life-saving vaccine. A country that doesn’t invest in education cannot claim for one second to be interested in its future. There are plenty of words to describe politicians who don’t make their constituents’ health and education their top priority, but for now I’ll let you pick one somewhere on the spectrum between “misguided” and “evil.” I will insist you tack on the word “shortsighted” as well.”

I love that. Have I mentioned yet how very much I love it? You know why? Because it’s true. Because you can’t argue with it. Can you? I mean, go ahead I guess if you want to try. But you know what? You will be wrong.

“What motivates me to write this is that I care about the future of the United States of America and I care about her citizens, whether they voted for Obama or McCain. Hell, I care about the people who voted for Bush in 2004. One big lie the media and the government pushes on us is that we’re different from each other. Fuck that. The lady in Pennsylvania who voted for McCain hugs her kid with the same love the guy in North Carolina who voted for Obama hugs his. What do we all want? Health, safety, and the tools to prosper. You can customize this basic list with an ideological doo-dad or two, but that’s the essence.”

I struggle mightily with my feelings about those whose ideologies differ from my own. I want to be tolerant of difference, but when it comes coupled with – as it seems to with increasing frequency these days – ignorance, hypocrisy and/or bigotry, I won’t. What I don’t struggle with is the belief that people who I think are wrong about some pretty fundamental things deserve the exact same access to health care and education as the people who I think are right.

“When you take a person, in this case an American, and you break them down to their base elements, you’ve got their body and their brain. If you’re given the opportunity to govern these people, you try, with every waking moment to strengthen these elements if you want your nation to have a future that’s worth a damn. There will be nothing else if you don’t attend to these basic raw materials, which are being ignored by too many in Washington, D.C. Health care and education aren’t sexy, but America runs on Americans. Make them strong. If you’ve been given the honor to hold a position of true responsibility in this country—which is traveling down a tough patch of road—this is your job, before any other. Right now, if the country is a car, our government is detailing the trim, tinting the windows and fighting over what color fuzzy dice to hang off the rearview mirror. But they are not putting gas in the tank. I don’t see how they expect it to go anywhere.”

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