This was asked of me over AIM.
It made me pause. Why ... do ... I ... hate America? Hmmm. Kind of a toughie really.
So I replied that I did not. That being left wing doesn't mean I hate America. I like my country, for all the good and bad it's done. I simply care for it in a different way. I simply believe in a different way of solving our problems.
So I sat and I thought about it. I don't hate my country. I'd like a country with benefits sort of relationship, if you will. Oh yes, I want to see other countries sometimes. That doesn't mean I'm unfaithful to America. Not by a long shot. Finding a place to live -is- a lot like dating. You experiment around until you find something that works or that you can live with.
I believe that Americans deserve safety nets because bad times hit us all. There shouldn't be homeless vets with PTSD and mental illness because land and funds set aside for them never got used or went to the wrong places. There shouldn't be Americans starving to death while working 2-3 jobs because they can't get food stamps. There shouldn't be jobs that give just enough hours to keep you from a second job but don't give you full time benefits because you aren't full time. If we should lose our job, we don't deserve to become homeless or starve to death because our state believes that no one ever gets fired for unfair reasons. We deserve some peace of mind and living means - yes, even in the bad times. It is pathetic when we cannot even honor the benefits we promise people, veteran or civilian while we spend millions to stop health care for low to no income women. Oh yes, birth control -is- health care for many of us. It is sad when people don't realize that Planned Parenthood includes cancer screening, screening for genetic diseases, tests for things like multiple sclerosis, parenting classes and much more all because of attacks on their funding. We need these safety nets so people don't just -die- or kill themselves to spare their families debt. I know I've debated suicide to spare my family economic cost. I still do sometimes. It's Plan Z as it were.
I believe that America deserves to be healthy. We deserve insurance that won't jerk us around, skyrocket premiums or change their mind on procedures. It is tragic when people lose their homes to medical debt or Medicare changing its mind on a surgery... after the fact. No one deserves to have their friend donate a liver, be prepped for surgery then have it taken away and his friend's liver given to someone else because the state changed its mind on financing those transplants. We deserve health care that won't cost us our livelihood and financial prospects. We deserve regular check ups which are hundreds of times cheaper than the thousands spent on end stage treatment and ER care (Because emergency room care is all that some people get). There's even studies that prove being able to get regular checkups and screenings are infinitely cheaper than waiting until you can't ignore the symptoms anymore. We deserve a system that treats mental illnesses beyond a handful of pills. Very few people ever get better on pills alone. If I pay into insurance, it should pay me back when I am ill. We deserve insurance with premiums that are not based on strange, outmoded criteria.
Americans deserve jobs that do not screw them over. We all know the stupid tricks employers use. Giving you just enough hours to keep you from a second job but not count you as full time. Giving you just the minimum wage for what you do while squeezing more and more out of you. And should you not be able to keep up, you are fired and replaced promptly. Taking away precious vacation time, sick days and benefits because hey, profits are low! ... except they're not. Profits have been growing while jobs and benefits dwindle. While banks receive trillions in bailouts at our expense and pay none of it back - in taxes or new jobs (that people can live on).
Americans do not deserve to be bled out because the top 1% and corporations do not want more taxes, more regulations. Already it is the middle class paying more than the people who hold the majority of the wealth. Already it is the middle class losing jobs because a company can send them to a country where a dollar a day isn't so bad. We do not deserve to be bled out, starved and treated like criminals who just want to be poor because the 'job creators' are not creating jobs. They aren't honoring their end of the deal but they demand more of the taxpayers and our government. The same government that already favors the wealthy.
I believe that we are returning to a Gilded age sort of mind set. Where things are so obviously fucked up it's nearly comical.
I believe that America should not throw its money at a pointless and stupid 'war on drugs'. Rapists and murderers get to be out on parole while a guy who ate a pot brownie is in a horrifically overcrowded prison. That money could be used for streamlining regulations, taxing pot and more (including benefits! Safety nets! Jobs! Highways and education!). Even if most drugs aren't legalized, there are far better ways of dealing with it than chucking people in prison.
Americans deserve a chance at decent education. Not a chance to be treated like a criminal and taught how to take a test by an underpaid, overworked teacher with far too many students to manage. The system can't handle ESL, borderline special needs students or talented students very well. It barely handles the average. Tuition rates spiral, while predatory student loans are offered as the main way in. Oh yes, and student loans are not included with bankruptcy while you can spend 20-50k on a credit card no problem! The sad part is, the majority of student loans will never be paid back. Most people cannot ever pay back that much plus interest in their life times. Loan officers often knew this. It's a rigged system and a very strange one, to me. I think we deserve better.
Americans deserve a lot better than what we're getting. I know that you can't save everyone. That's true. But we do deserve better than to be screwed over by a system rigged in favor of people who already have plenty.
America deserves to be healthy, educated and working. So many of us would gladly work so hard for good wages and benefits it's not even funny. So many of us would give so much to have food, shelter and nice things that it's almost tragic.
The sad part is, I didn't even get to some of the insane legislation coming out these days. Alabama managed to scare off/deport most of its illegal immigrants and now they've got fields with crops rotting because no one will come work them. Whatever happened to all of those American citizens who would take those jobs? You know, the ones screaming about those immigrants taking our work? Oh, and if you want to know their solution - Alabama's using prisoners to pick fields. Nothing could go wrong there right? No one's being exploited for cheap labor still? It doesn't solve the problem though and so many fields are still bare. Whether or not they like it, illegal immigrants are a huge part of our economy. The sad part is, the people who get prosecuted for it are the immigrants themselves and not the companies hiring them. We never go that route, do we?
I believe that our Congress has bigger things to worry about than abortion and illegal immigrants, for example. Oh yes, social legislation happens. For now, they need a rectal craniectomy because we need jobs, not cutting women's rights. We need to get our priorities straight and that means fixing the job and economic situation -before- we worry about people having sex.
In the end, I feel that America deserves safety nets, to take care of itself and its citizens and that we really are a great country. We can do better than this. And that may involve making sure that government, corporation and worker all live up to their ends of the bargains. Our people deserve better. They really do. And yes, that includes conservative, religious, military and everyone. If folks can't see how so much of this hurts them too, well - it's tragic. And I certainly don't believe that Americans are inherently lazy or horrible. Most of us really aren't.
I love my homeland. But we're in deep trouble if we don't change.