Thoughtful Thursday: Balls

Have you ever played with THAT kid? You know the one. The one that is all happy and bragging when his team is winning, but the moment that they start to lose he takes his ball and goes home in a huff. Government and politics have become like that.

As people begin to drop out of the race, gone are the days of graciousness. No, instead they are threatening to vote for the other party…go independent…or encourage their supporters to stay home in November. And we are not just talking THAT one. People who once ‘refused’ to engage in dirty politics are now playing hard ball…and taking theirs home.

And least you think it is some ‘American’ thing…the UK too is facing elections for mayor of London as well as whether or not to leave the EU. In fact, last night there was this double decker bus going down the street blaring music with a sign about ‘London for ALL, not just those with the gold.’ Of course, it was so considerate of them to disturb the quiet evening…especially of those with disabilities and the elderly. Makes you wonder what type of London they would really offer, don’t it?

And to top it off…I received a letter from NHS yesterday. Refusing to offer us services. Why? Because I complained about their lack of understanding and refusal to accommodate an autistic child. So rather than take the feedback of an informed and articulate CONSUMER of their services seriously…it is easier to refuse to serve them.

That is the problem. That is what prompted me to begin this series of ‘political’ articles to begin with. The fear that this election will see the rise of even bigger and more powerful government….one that impinges upon the rights of individuals and that limits options for those who need it the most.

You see the biggest problem is CHOICE…OPTIONS. And if you think they are bad on the candidates…just wait until you see what they are like when government becomes that playing field bully who takes his ball (services) and goes home if you don’t play by his rules.

Now, I am not saying that America is perfect…no place is. BUT what you don’t realize is the freedom and choice that you have under the current system.

Having raised special needs children in both the US and UK, let me tell you…without the option of second and third opinions…you are SCREWED. Whether that is medicine or education or social services, when government has the monopoly and is the only game in town…the REAL losers are the poor and disabled…the ones that these changes are supposed to help.

You see there is something that you are not factoring in. It is called charities or the third sector in the UK. I know because I worked in it in both countries.

In the US, it is vibrant and picks up a hell of a huge chunk of the load that government does not. Whether it is autism, epilepsy, or just about any other condition, American parents have options…even the ones who cannot pay. You get online and Google it. You discover Professor XYZ at ABC medical school, who is doing research on your child’s condition. You email him/her, begging and pleading, and often your child will get seen. Sometimes you have to beg/borrow/steal, but more often than not you get in through research or insurance. You see they are always looking for new ‘subjects’ for their studies. I know…I have done just that.

And where is that money coming from? In the US, 80% comes from individuals and trusts and 20% or less from government contracts. This means that those research facilities and doctors have greater freedom on whom they see and treat.

Yes, I know loads of that money comes from drug companies too, but trust me…there are loads of parents, whose children are alive today because they were in some study. Something about not looking a gift horse in the mouth.

Contrast that with the UK and ‘socialized’ medicine. You get ‘doc blocked’ by your general practitioner, your pediatrician (who in this country is a SPECIALIST and only really sick kids get one), and even if you are ‘lucky’ enough to make it to ‘that’ world famous children’s hospital…you have to fight tooth and nail to get tests that at standard much earlier in the diagnostic process in the US.

And once you are there…there is NO WHERE ELSE TO GO. No second opinions. You take what they offer or they take their ball and go home.

The difference is that third sector or charities. In this country, even charities receive 80% of their funding through the government. They become nothing more than government contractors. And it is reflected in their attitudes towards patients. They are NOT independent resources at all. And anyone who does not do it ‘their’ way is once more left with NO options.

I have had American friends say to me…But Dr. So-n-so is there, surely you can get better care. No, folks. Do you know how Dr. So-n-so operates? He/she hardly ever sees a real live patient. Instead, he collects data of junior doctors and analyzes that. She is a statistician, who maybe sees a handful of patients now. MAYBE.

And trust me…there is ZERO chance of getting to her. He won’t even respond to your email…unless you have the money to be a private patient…yes, in socialized medicine the wealthy still can get better care than the poor. And if she does respond, it is with the name of some junior doctor in your area that you almost certainly have already seen.

And that, folks, is the cold, hard truth about the way that BIG government works. If you want to play ball with them, you let them win. Because if you don’t then like that playground bully, they take their ball and go home. And the referee and rules are ALWAYS stacked in its favor too.

That is the frightening reality that no one is talking about…because of that ‘other’ craziness. It is like the magician’s slight of hand that distracts you from what is really happening.

The key maybe in the balance of power, folks. Something that the UK system does not accommodate. You see overhear the Prime Minister is selected by the ruling party. So in essence the same party controls two of the three branches of government…and the 3rd is weak. No real equivalent of the Supreme Court…well no power behind it.

2016 VaderOur Founding Fathers had the right idea when they ensured that there were three separate and distinct branches of government. So I suppose my warning is…stop looking at just the Presidential elections. Your true power is not in who is or is not President, but in your Congress people and Senators. Focus upon making certain that they have more damned sense than those buffoons vying for some silly White House.

Make the system work through checks and balances…it is the only way to keep government smaller and power in the hands of the people, who do a damned sight better job with it through charities that can and do respond more compassionately to the individual.

But that is just my crazy Transcendentalist bull shit…that believes in the basic good of man…except when corrupted by government, religion and society. That is why I took my ball and went home…I am NOT voting in a system I do not believe in. Instead I vote for you and me…to do right by one another.

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