Sunday, March 02, 2008

They Look Down on Us

Europeans Can't Believe the State of America

I watched today's 60 Minutes about the Remote Area Health care charity that provides assistance in the United States. It is a disgrace to see that we claim first world status, but we cannot provide basic health care to the population. For those who did not see it, please check out the link. Basically, these groups who would set up volunteer health care camps in the Amazon started setting them up in the United States because of the demand. The reporters visited one in Knoxville where the group was staging a Stand Down type program for the uninsured or under-insured, and thousands showed up asking for help. The charity had to turn away 400 people because they ran out of time and supplies. We are all so worried about the rationing of health care if we had socialized medicine. If the current system does not ration care then I don't know what that looks like. The whole health care system needs scrapped and we need to start over with a new health care system.

Because of this foreclosure story, I have been talking to journalists from Europe. Yesterday, I talked to Italian Public Television and a few weeks ago to a Scandinavian television journalist team. They were in Cleveland to follow up on the foreclosure story, and were shocked by the state of homelessness in America. They could not believe that families were homeless and living in cars and shelters. They did not understand how families had to split up in order to get shelter. The Italian TV people were amazed by the state of temporary labor. It seems that they could not understand how people could work full time and remain homeless. They did not understand the exploitation on the job or that chronic health conditions could lead to homelessness. They look down on us. For those who do not get to talk to people from other countries, like me, this is quite a come down. We are constantly told that this is the best country ever by the media and our movies and that no country can compete with the United States. Then we fall hard when we talk to European visitors. We have become the jungle country that Europeans visit to point, stare at, and take pictures before going home. How did this happen?

Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.

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