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climate change vs. health care July 31, 2009

Posted by januaryolympus in Uncategorized.
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Someone at work said something really frustrating today. I suspect we come from similar backgrounds (white, private schools), except he oozes money so I also suspect that he is wealthier than I. At office lunch, we were discussing the big bills they are working on in Congress.

“Bob”: Well, to me, personally, health care isn’t a big priority.
Boss: Well, that’s because you’re young and healthy.
Bob: Okay, true, but I still think that if I had to pick between passing health care reform and passing the climate change bill, the climate change bill is far more important.
Me: …. Fine, but it’s really easy to say that when you already have health insurance and you’re healthy. But what if you don’t have insurance or if you’re sick–
Bob: (interrupting) And I certainly empathize with that, but I still think it’s the right decision to make.
Me: I don’t think it’s fair to expect people who aren’t insured, or who are ill, or who have loved ones who are ill to place something a lot more vague and abstract like climate change above health care in their list of priorities.
Bob: Well it’ll just be a travesty if cap-and-trade doesn’t pass, and sometimes you can’t have both.

(Obviously name was changed, some of the dialogue was paraphrased, but you get the gist)
UGGGHHHH!!!! please step down for one hot minute from your ivory tower of unacknowledged privilege, “Bob”!!!!! No wonder people think some branches of the progressive movement are TOTALLY disconnected from everyday people. THEY ARE! “Empathizing with” people who have LEGITIMATE, IMMEDIATE things to be worried about cannot be expected to place climate change on their list of priorities above everything else! It’s just the sad truth!

Don’t get me wrong, climate change is a very serious threat to our security and our way of life. But so is denying millions of people access to adequate health care. Personally, I think we can have both. But if we can’t, in my opinion, prioritizing climate change above the quality of life – or just /life/, period – of millions of people is wrong.