I try to avoid politics not related to healthcare here, as I tried writing about politics in a previous blog, and it didn’t get me anywhere. But I’m not sure how to react to the election, really.
If I just look at everything from my own perspective, I’ll be just fine. I’ll be able to continue medical school, I’ll get a residency. Sure, some things may change, but I’ll have a job, I’ll have health care, I’ll be able to put food on my table. (No marriage in Ohio, Mississippi, or 8 other states, but I wasn’t planning on relocating there anyway.)
I can’t conclude so optimistically for many other people in the country, however. The number of uninsured will go up, not down. Abortion will go back to being a state issue. The environment’s done. The international community will start to bypass us. We’ll continue to lose jobs. US soldiers and Iraqi civilians will continue to die in Iraq. Ashcroft will take even bigger bites out of civil liberties. In California, no employer-mandated health care, no fixing of the 3-strikes law for non-violent offenders, no emergency services funding, but yes for government collection of your DNA. Mental health services and stem cell both passed, so that’s good.
I’m conflicted here. On one hand, I’m so ready to say “Good going, America. You voted, you spoke, so whatever happens in the next 4 years, we deserve what we get. I wash my hands of this.” Screw you guys, I’m going home. I give up, you win. We’ll see what a mess we’re in for in the next four years. It’s Nader’s philosophy: we’ll only change when things get really, really bad. Maybe I’ll just join Trent and become a libertarian convert. Or move to Europe. Or become a libertarian in Europe. Yeah.
But the other side of me can’t give up so easily. Even if America spoke when it voted, it spoke wrong. People were co-opted by the right’s social issue scare tactics (see What’s The Matter With Kansas); they were misled. And even if they weren’t, there will still be people that need help. There will be even more people that need help. I’m priveleged by my place in society; it’s my responsibility to speak up for those who can’t. I guess I’m just conflicted. How do I maximize my ability to make a difference? Keep spinning my wheels here, or go work where there’s an even greater need? On one on hand, I remind myself that Martin Luther King didn’t give up when the times were tough. But on the other, am I just wasting my precious time? It seems fairly pointless to begin work on another single-payer animation right now.
I just hope things don’t go as poorly as I expect them to for the rest of the country. I don’t worry about myself, I worry about everyone else.
We’re doing the pelvis this week in anatomy, and yesterday our professor talked about “back in the old days, when abortion was illegal, septic abortions using coathangers and knitting needles punctured into the pouch of Douglas.” The students cringed and gasped, now that they understand uterine and rectal anatomy. I guess it’s a good thing we’re still mentioning the point in class, we may start seeing peritonitis like that again.