January 24, 2013


Last night I had the opportunity of discussing health care with someone from a few counties away. The particular topic was the expansion of Medicaid coverage under health care reform to low income working people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

The person in question, who was uninsured, underpaid and appeared to be a candidate for diabetes, hypertension and/or heart disease, didn't think this was a good idea. Apparently, some unworthy people might receive coverage as a result.

I remained polite, of course, but inside wasn't sure whether to laugh or cry. Folks with this kind of attitude were referred to by the Industrial Workers of the World or Wobblies as "Scissorbills," meaning someone who would cut off his or her nose to spite the face (think duck bill). Joe Hill wrote two songs about such people titled "Scissorbill" and  "Mr. Block."

The second song is better known these days Here's the chorus:

Oh Mr. Block you were born my mistake
You take the cake
You make me ache
Go tie a rock on your block and go jump in the lake
Kindly do that for liberty's sake

(Note: I only quote that for the sake of historical and cultural relevance. I don't actually want such people to jump in lakes. At least not when it's this cold outside. Ask me again in springtime.)

The discussion reminded me of a dark saying that I think was said by Theodor Adorno to the effect that domination is perpetuated by the dominated. That may sound shocking but it is a basic axiom of the theory of nonviolent action that systems of injustice would be unable to function if people didn't cooperate with them. If that cooperation, sometimes called the "pillars of support," is removed, the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Alas, that's easier said than done, although here and there it has happened. Some folks may not get there this time around.

1 comment:

Hollowdweller said...

That's funny as hell. About that dude.

A lady I work with is old, really hates the job and mgmt is fKing with her.

Wants to retire but worried about affording insurance since she is not yet eligible for medicaid.

She is a huge Fox fan and when I told her that she could get low cost insurance when the ACA kicked in she didn't even want to hear me and refused to believe me.

The invincibility of ignorance.