Friday, July 20, 2007

Under Your Nose: A semi-rant

Right under your nose is laughter, stuff you'd never even notice unless you looked at something from a different vantage point or paid attention to details. Sitting in a university bathroom stall I realized that the distributor of the stall lock mechanism is a company named "Hiny Hiders". It was wonderful. Joy is right under my nose too. I find I have more of it when I'm happy to be alive. Love generates energy. Also, right under my nose was tragedy in the form of poverty. Let me explain.

I'm not a student but will qualify for student status in a couple of weeks. Thagard Health Center wouldn't treat me and I couldn't get on my Dad's insurance policy until I'm officially a student. Skin cancer was a real possibility and I couldn't get it checked out unless I wanted to pay big bucks out of pocket. "I'll wait until my health insurance kicks in," I said, but the severity of the swelling and discoloration couldn't be ignored any longer. Alas, I have a strong support system: Mother and Father, friends, mentors, and more, I know would help me in my time of need. But it got me thinking,

What about the people without strong support systems? If I didn't have one I surely would be disadvantaged in many ways. I caught a glimpse of what it is like knowing that something costs X but you can't afford it. It's not the same as saying, "That's a sweet lap top, I'd like to have it but I can't afford it," because I could very well have had cancer and there were really no other alternatives to be treated other than the walk-in clinic, it was a need not a want.

Mark tells me over and over that to have health insurance tied to our jobs (or our status as students) is ridiculous. We would never tie another necessity like food consumption to whether or not we were employed. And what about the fact that these treatments cost twice as much as they should because of malpractice insurance being built into the cost of our doctor visits? I realize some of these are delicate issues but major overhaul is necessary with our courts and our healthcare system. To be near the poverty line is extremely uncomfortable, and like I said, what I got was only a glimpse. I'm certain this is the kind of experience that changes people.

We need a transformed society that is more interested in the well-being of others than their own luxury items. This means less conspicuous consumption, better institutions (That don't oppress the poor in the name of the poor), and more generous sowing. I'm not proposing Marxism but I am proposing a mission to equipping our country with the necessary institutions and heart. We could be a city on a hill if the people that represent our interests cared more about repairing the healthcare and court systems than getting re-elected or lining their pockets. It's kind of sudsy on my soap box I think I'll get off now.


Jeff said...

Mark, I really like this post, not just the content, which is fine, but also the creative way you've constructed it -- the lead in, exposition, and conclusion -- all impressive. I've been thinking about the connection between consumerism and deprivation and think there might be a link in the typical behavior of people living on the edge. I can't pin down this thought, but isn't it generally true that (in the US anyway) more and more people have little to be optimistic about, more to worry about, less sense of security and general well-being? And isn't it also true that this way of life tends to generate a focus on short-term, immediate gratification; in a word, consumerism?

Mark said...

Jeff, I appreciate your kind words on the blog, but I want to make it clear that your compliments should be directed to Doug, because "Under Your Nose" is his post. Mark

Jeff said...

Yikes. My fingers typed Mark when Doug was whom I meant.