I Can’t Imagine

I just read the most horrifying and sad story that I’ve seen in a long time. A little 4 year-old boy, Angelo Mendoza, JR., was attacked by his father, who proceeded to eat the boy’s eyes. It’s a horrific tale and I was especially affected when I read little Angelo told the police “My daddy ate my eyes out.” I can’t get over that. It’s just rolling around in my head like some kind of sick earworm.  The father isn’t going to prison because, apparently, he’s not fit to stand trial and little Angelo is regaining sight in his remaining (!!) eye, but still. Good lord, that poor child…

This could, of course, turn into a rant against child abuse. I could explain why I’m so thin-skinned and emotional when it comes to stories about child abuse. I don’t like to hear babies cry, I cry when children fall down, and all kinds of other stuff that generally doesn’t make sense. Instead I’m going to use this spot to give thanks to the social workers and other professionals who had to see Angelo and take care of him and help him. They signed up for their jobs and these people face these horrific situations all the time. I think that anyone who voluntarily signs up for that kind of job is a hero of sorts. They have the heart of angels for taking care of these poor children without running home and hiding from the horror.

Angelo needed someone to take care of him before his father destroyed his life, that’s true. But laws favor keeping the family together, blah blah blah and it didn’t happen. So, Angelo suffered and someone had to go in and pick up his pieces. Those folks volunteered for their jobs to take care of children (and adults) with whom they have no personal relationship, but who desperately need someone to care for them. Witnessing this kind of child abuse could send anyone over the edge and I know I couldn’t deal with it. I can’t deal with it right now as I’m just thinking of Angelo and what he endured at the hands of that monster. I can’t even imagine being the paramedic or cop first on the scene. I can’t imagine being the person to actually hear the little voice say his daddy at his eyes out. I can’t imagine being strong enough to hold myself together to be able to help that little guy. And these folks do it every day. Bravo to them.1

One piece of this health care “debate”2 is the opposition saying that there won’t be doctors to take care of folks, because doctors will somehow stop caring about people when the government pays their bills. The opposition says that doctors will retire and run for the hills. Or that’s it’s unfair to the doctor’s “liberty” to force him/her into working on people who use the public option (I’ve heard this argument when I say I believe health care is a human right). “It’s unfair to the doctors”, they say. “Who will do their job?” they ask. Each time I see this I think of:

  • Fire fighters
  • Police officers
  • Health inspectors
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers
  • Road crews3

There are more, I know, but that’s my list. All the professions on that list are occupied by people that have volunteered to do the jobs. Every one of them. The people that arrived after a 9-1-1 call, to take care of Angelo, were paid by the state to come. They were paid by the state to wrap him up and take him to the hospital and to make sure he found a good, decent home to be released to. The people that took care of Angelo after his father tortured him were working off the public dole. They work in socialist programs. And they should be applauded for volunteering to do those jobs. No one forced them to suffer the trauma they must have suffered when they took care of this little guy. No one forced them to take up these careers and yet they did. Why? Because they care about people.

Why do people expect that doctors will suddenly stop caring about people because those people aren’t paying $1000 a month for the premiums? Why do people think that the doctor’s will suddenly become enslaved, lose their liberty and run for some other profession? Maybe we’d lose the doctors that are only in it for the money and to them I say “Good riddance”. Those that are left will perhaps feel a little restricted by government oversight, but not any more than they are with the insurance companies. Imagine being forced to deny a girl a liver transplant because your hands are tied by the insurance company4. Imagine watching a cancer patient die because the insurance (and hospital) bureaucrats won’t allow treatments due to lack of insurance. These doctors—most of them—care about the people they treat and they want them to be well. Just like the teacher wants to teach and the police officer wants to protect. Sure, there are idiots in all of these professions, but the majority are good people trying to do good in their communities.

They volunteer for their jobs and so will doctors and nurses and all of their staff—even when the government cuts the pay checks. That’s the gist of my argument here, by the way. Giving us public health care won’t cause the doctors to run for the hills, just like having public schools didn’t cause teachers to go on permanent vacation. I actually can’t find any valid arguments against public health insurance, but these that cry that it’s unfair to doctors, especially, are asinine. I can’t imagine a world where I can’t get help via 9-1-1 and I’d like to feel the same way about being able to afford to go to the doctor.

Someone had this analogy recently:

If you get into an accident on the highway, the police will rope off the area to prevent further accidents—at no cost to you—and the fire department will use the jaws of life to remove you from your car—at no cost to you—but the minute you’re strapped to a gurney you’re charged $1,500. What’s wrong with that picture?

I’m grateful that tax-payer dollars were used to pay the people who helped Angelo and who work every day to help other people. And I thank all that’s good and holy that those people and the millions like them, step up and voluntarily work in those positions. Now I think it’s time for my tax-dollars to pay the people who voluntarily work in the medical field to take care of more than just a tiny portion of the population. Medicare for all and all that jazz.

  1. Angelo will be fine, considering the circumstance and that’s wonderful []
  2. Or Shout Down, if you will. []
  3. Doesn’t fit with the helpful civil servant theme generally, but someone’s working on my street right now and it’s in my head. []
  4. She was later approved after a public uproar, but too late to save her. She died. []
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I like geeky stuff, politics, squirrels and monkeys.

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