Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Rights Are For Healthy Folk
In the United States of America, when our ancestors declared our independence from Great Britain, they said that all citizens of this land have the rights to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” However, I believe that without government-guaranteed healthcare, these “rights” become empty promises to a vast (and growing) majority of our nation.
When someone is stricken with a debilitating disease such as cancer or Alzheimer’s, and they do not receive the proper treatment, these illnesses can quite literally strip away this individual’s life and their liberty to pursue happiness. If these are genuine rights of the land, then how can we, as a society, look at someone battling any of these illnesses and tell them “Sorry, you can’t afford the proper treatment. You can’t afford that right.” It is absolutely deplorable that we are telling sick people that they cannot afford to live, or to at least be comfortable in their final months of life, in the case of terminal illnesses.
So why are we still allowing this to happen? Many people in positions of power who may be able to do something about it simply “Who’s going to pay for it then?” That same question was asked before we fought a war to win our independence. Some others say “It’s just not feasible; society isn’t ready to make the changes necessary to accommodate this.” That argument was made during the Civil Rights movement, and yet we have made leaps and bounds in that area (though there is still much work to be done). And continuing the parallel of Civil Rights, it is important to understand that this work will not be done overnight, and more importantly, it takes the voices of thousands of individuals to stand up and demand the rights that they are promised in this land.