Archive | Americans

The Right Question

By Jim Wright

Is healthcare a right?

You know, a right?

With all the many ideas we Americans consider rights, you’d think we would have an answer for this.

Obviously, here in America anyway, healthcare is not an enumerated right like Freedom of Speech or Freedom of the Press. But is it one of those other rights? The ones not specifically mentioned in the US Constitution but implied by the 9th Amendment: The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

In December of 2012, the United States along with dozens of other nations signed United Nations agenda item 123: Global Health and Foreign Policy, which among other things encouraged all nations to adopt “sustainable health financing structures and universal coverage” for all people. The resolution also reaffirmed all member nations’ commitment to the idea of “the right of every human being to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, without distinction as to race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.”

Do we believe that?

Is healthcare a right?

Well, is it?

That’s the question I asked this week on Twitter.

Twitter is a weird place, the howling wild frontier of social media. But it’s pretty good for this kind of thing, polling the public mind. I have a large audience there, large enough to get a good sample across the spectrum of opinion, and so I asked: Is healthcare a right?

Not just here in America, but everywhere. Do you believe healthcare is a basic human right?

Now that seems to me a straightforward question.

And it seems to me that it’s the critical question.

Everything in America’s ongoing debate over healthcare depends from the answer to that simple question. Everything. Until you answer that …read more

Via:: Stone Kettle Station

      

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The Seven Stages of Gun Violence

By Jim Wright

Forward:

Every few mass shootings, I update this and move it forward in the timelline.

It’s now been two three four five years since I first wrote this on the day after a madman stepped into a darkened movie theater in Aurora, Colorado and started killing people. Since then more than ten twenty sixty ninety one hundred and fifty thousand Americans have died from gun violence, three seven ten twenty fifty times more than died on September 11th, 2001, more than twenty times all the military personnel killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, twice the number of Americans killed in Vietnam. There have been so many mass shootings between the day I wrote this and now that I’ve lost track, one killing blurs into another and the bloody rampages seem to be our new national pastime.

I got a lot of email regarding this post over the years.

And a lot of people told me I was wrong.

Those people are not only fools, they are damned fools.

I’ve updated the text and updated it and updated it again and again and again and have now updated it yet again and moved the essay forward in the Stonekettle Station timeline.

I left the original comments intact, but because those comments primarily address the Aurora Massacre (e.g. the original impetus for this essay) I’ve added a demarking comment dated April 3, 2014, for the first update and another for June 19, 2015, another for July 24, 2015, another for October 1, 2015, and now, today. New comments will appear after that. The line of demarcation should be obvious.

Anyway, before we get started, I just wanted to say: Way to go America. We can’t build spaceships any more, or ensure every American has access …read more

Via:: Stone Kettle Station

      

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Donation Drive

By Jim Wright

As previously noted, every once in a while I have to ask for money.

Having given up military consulting work and having shut down my woodworking business and art studio (hopefully temporarily) when I left Alaska, I subsist for the moment solely on income derived from my social media sites and this blog.

A few years back, I wouldn’t have believed this possible.

A few years back it wouldn’t have been possible.

But despite the sneering criticism of certain vocal critics, it is possible for a writer to make a reasonably decent living this way.

Yes, writer.

It used to be “writer” was defined as somebody who assembled words and ideas into books, short stories, articles, and perhaps screenplays, fact or fiction, and submitted those efforts via various means to editors at publishing houses or various presses or various media outlets, and then lived on cheese sandwiches hoping a check of some modest amount would come back. Traditionally the profession of “writer” meant you repeated this cycle without healthcare or adequate hygiene or presentable clothes until you died, or gave it up for a real job – both of which happened with distressing frequency.

That model, that definition of writer, still very much exists.

And a lot of writers make varying degrees of living from it.

As previously noted, if you’re a Stephen King or a John Scalzi, you might make millions and live in a golden mansion high on a landscaped hill in the middle of a private island waited on hand and foot by an army of nubile, scantily clad olive-pitters (this is totally true and I heard it directly from one of George R.R. Martin’s gardeners). But more likely you’re a stringer for the local paper, and you might make enough to buy a cheese sandwich or two providing you’re not particular about the definition …read more

Via:: Stone Kettle Station

      

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Memorial Day 2017

By Jim Wright

Note: The original title said 2018. That was a typo, not some subtle message. It’s been corrected, though this essay it will likely apply to 2018 as well // Jim

Last night the air was torn apart by the flash of lightning and shook with the crash of thunder.

This morning the world has gone silent.

Cold rain falls and the sky is the color of gunmetal.

This seems fitting to me. This quiet melancholy day, leeched of color.

For this is the day we Americans are supposed to pause remember those many who have fallen in battle.

Memorial Day isn’t about honoring veterans.

No, it’s not.

Not the living ones anyway.

Memorial day is about the dead.

This is the day some dutiful Americans visit the graveyards and the military cemeteries to place flowers and flags and to remember husbands and brothers and wives and mothers and sisters and sons and daughters who wore the uniform and came when called and gave the last full measure. My own father lies out there, under the cool white marble of a military cemetery, and today I dearly wish I could stop by for a visit – but it’s a thousand miles away and too far. Dad would understand.

Today is a day when we will lay the wreaths and sound the lonely trumpet and shed a tear and a salute for those comrades long gone.

Today is about the cool gray ghosts who still wander the countless battlefields of America, from Lexington to Antietam, from the Ardennes to the Chosin Reservoir, to Tet, to Basra, to Kamdesh, and all the terrible battles yet to come.

And come they will.

Oh yes, come they will, those new battles, in this endless and unending war. …read more

Via:: Stone Kettle Station

      

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