It's about our community and our spirituality!

Palestinians, Hamas, and Elections

Hamas Wins Election

When Hamas was democratically elected as the ruling party in Gaza, Palestine last summer President George Bush went livid. Never one to speak very well to the American public off the cuff, he held a press conference to voice the official position of the people of the United States. In the press conference, Mr. Bush listed all the problems with Hamas. The President actually stood in front of the podium and said that Hamas was trying to provide educational opportunities and improve the economic infrastructure in order to provide opportunities for the Palestinian people. All these efforts of Hamas providing for their citizens were undermining America’s interest. Hamas was actually running Palestine in ways that were contrary to the goals and desires of the American people as well as the people of Israel.

When I heard the President make his news conference I had to bust out laughing. Mr. Bush was upset that the people of Palestine, who voted for their leaders in a democratic process with the utmost integrity, didn’t elect the party that was sure to toe the line and fold to every Israeli and American indulgence. The people of Palestine were foolish enough to think that they should elect the party that they felt most capable of protecting their interest and not the interest of others. In order to appear acceptable in the collective opinion of the people of the United States, Palestinians should have elected an administration that would favor our interest.

However, the more I thought about it, the more I had to realize that the people in the United States have been duped into voting and supporting policies that make the rich richer and keep the poor poorer. The United States is a land of opportunity, sort of. If you build a better mousetrap and you can find someone to help you bring your better mousetrap to market, and they don’t do anything to legally cheat you out of the rights to your invention, then you too can reap the benefits of an economy made for the few. Or if you have a talent like playing a sport or acting or singing, and somebody wants to pay you well for your talent, you too will do well.

But many people who aren’t even close to doing well, people who can actually benefit from social programs or whose family could benefit from social programs, are actually advocating the failure of any effort to implement things such as universal healthcare, a living minimum wage, a much more equitable distribution of educational and employment opportunities, and the like.

The number of average people who walk around promoting an end to this universal healthcare nonsense is truly staggering. People will say something stupid like universal healthcare would mean higher taxes. But how much would people and corporations save in health insurance premiums. I know when I was given a price for insuring a family of four with healthcare coverage, the cost was an astounding fourteen thousand dollars a year. How much would it cost me if we all simply paid taxes for it and dispensed with the expense of having to pay the insurance company to hire an enormous staff of clerks, investigators, and lawyers to find any and every reason to reject claims and protect profits. The idea of taking profits out of the equation sounds too much like socialized medicine and that’s automatically a bad thing.

Nobody complains about social programs when we pay taxes for police and fire protection. Nobody complains about paying taxes for social programs that maintains a military so large all the other countries in the world combined can’t match their budget. Just think how much in taxes we could save if we sent an aircraft carrier or two to the scrap heap. People are more apt to pay for a new, shiny B2 Stealth bomber at one point five billion dollars a pop before they’d raise taxes for a child to get a school book. Too many people are willing to play the old mantra, nobody paid for my education so why should I pay for America’s future to be educated?

Although education is a social program, it has a direct benefit to the nation. An educated work force is able to get better jobs and pay more taxes. The investment in our future will have a positive return for the country. But that’s just too socially oriented. Every man and woman for him or her self is the new American way. An army of one? You damn right. One for all? Not in these turbulent times. All for one? I can do that, as long as I’m the one getting helped. Too many people plan for the future thinking they are going to be the one living large and benefiting from the lack of a national social conscious.

But the truth is the vast majority of us are just one small crisis from falling through the social cracks. It doesn’t have to be a devastating illness. Anyone of us could walk into work tomorrow and be told that the business is closing and moving overseas to be more competitive. Educated people might be able to find a job quicker than the not educated. Some of us might be able to afford healthcare on our own. If we had social programs that helped all of us we wouldn’t have to be so focused on keeping none of us from getting any benefit from it. It’s in our best interest. Unlike the Palestinians we don’t think much about that when we vote for our government policies.

Sunday, September 7, 2008 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black People, Life, Thoughts |

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