Sunday, December 19, 2010

What I Want for Christmas

I don’t celebrate Christmas, and I don’t believe in Santa Claus, so Christmas presents are usually out of the question for me. But this year I am making an exception. I still won’t celebrate Christmas and I still can’t bring myself to believe in Saint Nick, but I’m hoping for a Christmas present all the same.

What I want for Christmas is a big foam #1 Finger. You know, the big yellow foam glove people wear and wave at sporting events to say their team is number one even if it isn’t.

My team is the good ol’ US of A. And we are number uno. We have the best education system on the planet, and the best health care in the world. These affirmations have nothing to do with the facts, of course, but that is why I want the big finger. The lower we fall in the rankings, the louder we should chant “We’re number one,” and the bigger the finger we should wave while doing so.

According to the most recent OECD Programme for International Student Assessment which measures the knowledge base and reading skills of 15-year-olds around the world, the United States ranks 14th out of 34. “We’re number 1(4)! We’re number 1(4)!” Now I have to wonder why we are even paying attention to a study that can’t even spell the word “program” properly, but still the number is the number, and we need to celebrate our mediocrity with flair. So how about that finger, Santa?

Similarly, in a study of health care systems conducted by the World Health Organization [by the way if you are a doctor working for the World Health Organization, can you call yourself Dr. Who? How cool is that!], the United States ranks #37 out of 190, just behind Dominica and Costa Rica, and just ahead of Slovenia and Cuba, but way ahead of Burundi (take THAT, Burundi!). If you add the digits of 37 together you get 3+7 which equals 10, and if you add those digits together you get 1+0 which equals 1, so, you guessed it! “We’re #1!”

You can see where this is going. On all matters except military spending the USA is falling behind. The only thing we are really number one at is our capacity to kill people. Now don’t sneer. We can move from #37 to #35 in health care just by bombing the hell out of Costa Rica and Dominica, so all our bombs might come in handy. But I am not ready to go to war with Cyprus (#24), and I don’t even know where Andorra (#4) is, so I can’t even pretend to bomb them (though I think we killed their life-giving Tree of Souls in the Avatar movie, which may have been the government’s way of preparing us for a real attack in the not so distant future).

Anyway, I’m not ready to go to war with Andorra or Costa Rica, so let’s not consider that. And I’m not ready to raise taxes on anyone, let alone the rich, to improve our educational system. And I don’t want the federal government to run expensive death panels when Arizona is running their own death panels at a fraction of the cost, so let’s not consider true single-payer health care reform. Nope, I want to leave things pretty much the way they are this Christmas, which is why I need the big finger.

If we are going to settle for being Mediocristan the least we can do is pretend we aren’t. We are number one in that. So, Santa, how about giving me the finger this year?

8 comments:

eashtov said...

Shalom Rav,

Say what you may about healthcare here in the US but the statistics you quote with the US coming in ahead of Cuba, put the lie to Michael Moore's movie "Sicko."

Let's also remember that when world leaders of other countries need medical treatment not available in their own, they come here and not to Dominica, Costa Rica, Cyprus or Andorra. Why is that?

The half truths in your second to last paragraph are legion, but then again I must remember that the whole post may be humor.

For another point of view about the US of A, one that
actually finds good and nobility in this country, checkout Rabbi David Wolpe's recent post.

http://bit.ly/hRq7Gk

Merry Christmas to all of us.
Biv'racha,
Jordan

Dawn said...

I love it, Rami. Thank you!

Rabbi Rami said...

It is true that the rich from other countries may prefer US medicine to their own, but most of us can't afford the healthcare provided to the uber-rich, foreign and domestic.

eashtov said...

Shalom Rav,

You wrote: "It is true that the rich from other countries may prefer US medicine to their own,"

Not "may prefer" but prefer with no modifiers. They most certainly aren't flocking to Canada which is so often cited as an example of well done national healthcare. And once again why aren't they going to Dominica, Costa Rica, Cyprus or Andorra, which the WHO ranks above us? If you were to need serious treatment for an illness or accident, would you choose to go outside the country assuming you could afford to do so? If not, why not? Real and serious questions here; no humor intended. You continued:

"...but most of us can't afford the healthcare provided to the uber-rich, foreign and domestic."

There is a problem with healthcare in the US. Recent elections have demonstrated the reality that the US is politically a center right country. These election results have unmistakably shown (among other things) that the voters don't believe US Healthcare answers will be found in what's commonly known as Obamacare. The country simply can't afford it. The economies of countries that have attempted this kind of centralized control of healthcare are in shambles. Where will the new Congress and our seemingly politically reborn President take all of this... we'll all know more in the fullness of time.

Biv'racha,
Jordan

Rabbi Rami said...

I hope Jordan is right and things improve with a new congress. I am not so optimistic. I think we have an oligarchy in this country (of the rich, by the rich, for the rich) and the congress just dances to the rich of one stripe or another. I suspect the entire left/right debate is a distraction to keep the people from realizing who is really in charge.

Barry said...

"Obamacare?" Please turn off Fox News and get a life, Jordan. People talk about taking away "choice" in healthcare. Now that I live in a rural area, I can ONLY get Blue Cross as my provider and it's bad. Thank Krishna (joke) I live in California, where no Republicans won statewide, and even our Republican governor and Democratic attorney general won't appeal the overturning of Prop 8.

And we can't afford anything because rich people refuse to pay their share of taxes or pay Americans a living wage.

eashtov said...

Shalom Barry,

You wrote: " 'Obamacare?' Please turn off Fox News and get a life, Jordan."

Am i sensing that you're labeling me? You continued;

"Thank Krishna (joke) I live in California, where no Republicans won statewide, and even our Republican governor..."

Your state along with mine (Illinois) and a number of others are poster children for out of control spending with the resulting ballooning multi billion $ deficits. This is the result of an "entitlement" mindset that robs people of their self reliance.The only difference between them (the states) and the country as a whole is that the states can't print money. Barry continued:

"And we can't afford anything because rich people refuse to pay their share of taxes or pay Americans a living wage."

The top 1% of taxpayers are paying 40% of the taxes. The bottom 50% are only paying 3 %. So exactly who is not paying their fair share?

Ahh... the class warfare card. The voters told their elected officials in no uncertain terms that that tactic won't work anymore. And I don't think it will regain its one time efficacy any time soon.

Rabbi Rami wrote: "I hope Jordan is right and things improve with a new congress."

Actually I didn't venture an opinion on which way thing will go. I did say, "Where will the new Congress and our seemingly politically reborn President take all of this... we'll all know more in the fullness of time." Rabbi continued:

"I think we have an oligarchy in this country (of the rich, by the rich, for the rich) and the congress just dances to the rich of one stripe or another."

Sounds like the Ned Beatty character in the movie,
"Network"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3BVqIjKyJh0

Wholeness,
Jordan

Barry said...

Jordan , you don't mention what percentage of the national income is obtained by the top 1%, or the fairness of asking people with nothing to be "self-reliant." The problem with California is not out-of-control spending. We have more billionaires than anyplace in the world, probably, yet our public schools spend as much per student as Mississippi. Again, it is the tax structure that has ruined this state. Feel free to respond, but I see this blog has moved on to other topics, and so will I.