Ah, yes, it’s a perfect example of why Americans remain so ignorant of their history, so oblivious to the realities that have shaped their lives, Alzheimer’s Nation.
LA. Times article, “A conservative who didn’t budge,” noting that Jesse Helms, “the former U.S. senator from North Carolina who for half a century infuriated liberals with his race baiting campaign tactics and presidents of both parties with his use of senatorial privilege, died Friday. He was 86.”
In the second paragraph, where everyone is sure to read it, President Bush is quoted, “Jesse Helms was a kind, decent and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called “the Miracle of America.” So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July.”
People who don’t remember Helms or don’t know history will read that and think, Gosh, a decent, kind, humble man.
No wasn’t. Jesse Helms was an arrogant, bigoted, jingoistic ignoramus whose policies and votes did real harm to real people and real harm to the U.S. He was a shameful blot on the Senate.
It isn’t until you get to the jump page, A 19, waaaaaaaay deep into the story, where few will ever read it, to find this, “When Helms announced his retirement in 3001, Kevin Siers, the editorial cartoonist for the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer, depicted the news with a drawing of a Confederate flag at half-saff.
Just as striking was the comment from Skip Alston, president of the North Carolina chapter of the NAACP. “Jim Crow Sr. is about to retire after spreading his venom of racism and hate for almost 30 years. Jesse Helms’ only legacy will be one of prejudice and mean-spiritedness.”
And there follows, waaaaay at the back of a long story, where almost no one will read it, are examples of Helms typical bigoted nastiness.
Decent? Kind? Humble? No. But guess what myth will now arise for Saint Helms, and that myth will become “Truth,” and in most American’s minds pass for “History.”
And you wonder why we keep making so many appalling mistakes. Not only to we not read history, we’re fed bunkum by our commander in chief, phony twaddle about a disgrace of a Senator who should have been given the boot out the senate door years ago.
The Finest Medical Care In The World
People who oppose any kind of single-payer national medical program constantly tout our health care system as the finest in the world. Apparently people from Canada are flocking across the border to get help from our system. Heck, even people from France are supposedly fleeing here by the millions to access themselves of our splendid health care system.
I bring this up because I got a 5:30 a.m. call from an old, old friend of mine. I knew her from Art Center School. She introduced my husband to me. She and her husband were the Golden Couple, smart, talented, creative. She had her own dress design atelier, the perfect life. Until adult onset paranoid schizophrenia set in and destroyed it all.
Year in and out I will get odd notes or phone calls as she cycles through a legal and medical system that believes she has a RIGHT to be insane and sleep in a gully somewhere out in the desert. That’s the problem both with schizophrenia and our system of health care. Treatment and medications either don’t work for long or have terrible side effects so the patient stops taking them, and then the madness returns and they fall through anything resembling a safety net. Since she’s an adult and has a RIGHT to her insanity, her parents (doubtful if they’re even alive) can’t help her, her friends have no legal standing to force her to get the help she needs, and so she slips into and out of madness, into and out of jail, into and out of often poorly regulated board and care homes, into and out of the streets.
And every year I wait for a phone call from a police officer somewhere telling me my phone number was found on her body, which was found murdered somewhere in a homeless encampment.
Thus do we care for the sickest among us in a system that isn’t really designed to help people insane enough to think they’re “well.”
Yep, those Canadians have it right. Welcome to America. And if you have your wits about you, say a thankful prayer and hope to hell you keep them.