The System vs the People

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  • #50789

    Robot X
    • Total Posts: 314

    One of my core beliefs is that any system should work. I work in a large metropolitan city filled with gleaming skyscrapers and luxury cars. Yet to get to my office I have to step over several  homeless people living in the most desperate situations.

    It obvious many of these people are suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues. While the homeless is an extreme example, it’s a clear demonstration of the “screw’em attitude” many people have with anyone who can’t perform at what they believe “the system” requires. They’re losers and junkies and get what they deserve. We have a system and they are not using correctly.

    My attitude has always been either the system is working or it isn’t. These homeless people didn’t fail the system. The system failed them. The system is a group of concepts that only exists in the minds of men. Like capitalism many people look at these systems as if they are laws of nature that can never changed or modified and to do so would heresy.

    My radical position is if the system isn’t working for everybody, it isn’t working. A system doesn’t laugh, cry, feel pain or joy, etc. People do. The idea that you can write off the lives of people because for whatever reason they can’t get the system to work for them is ludicrous. If people are on drugs, you get them treatment. If they are ignorant, you get them education. If people are hungry you get them food. If they are sick you get them medical care. Full stop.

    If one of your children has special needs you wouldn’t ignore them and let them suffer because you have system that your other children have no problem navigating. A system needs to meet PEOPLE where they are. Not where you think they should be.

    The school lunch program is a good example. Should parents send their kids to school fully fed with a full and complete healthy lunch? Of course they should but the reality is  many poor families do not have the resources to provide this. If the system works okay for all the kids on the rich side of town it should work just as well on the poor side of town and if it doesn’t, too bad? No. Schools are for education and children distracted by hunger cannot learn. So we provide breakfast and lunch at many schools.

    We’ve decided that children need education and to accomplishment they need full bellies. The reason they are hungry is secondary to the fact they need to be fed. We need this attitude for all of our citizens and all our social problems. Regardless of class, race, gender, age, sexual orientation, innate intelligence, etc. The idea that poor people deserve lives absent dignity, or gay people deserve aids, or anyone living their lives outside a 1950’s style nuclear family deserves every misfortune that comes their way is just wrong.

    If a system doesn’t serve everyone’s needs it’s a bad system.

  • #50797

    • Total Posts: 135

    Here’s another symptom of a bad system – finding it to be a good thing to incarcerate the mentally ill, but refusing to pay for mental health treatment.

    Learned about a situation my cousin is having in trying to get assistance for their significant other, M.  M had a traumatic brain injury in an auto accident a couple of years ago, and has struggled to get her life back on keel ever since.  She has epilepsy and periods of delusion with concomitant attempts at self medication, the combination of which led her to lash out when she felt under threat during one of her episodes.  The courts were “lenient” with her when sentencing on the resulting assault charge, giving her 3 years of probation and an order to get mental and substance abuse treatment at her own expense.  If M does not stay sober and out of trouble, she will serve those 3 years in prison.

    M had the savings to pay for in-patient rehabilitation and completed the program successfully, but is now dependent on Medicaid for health care.  Her psychiatrist retired, and the only replacement psychiatrist available in her area who takes Medicaid could not fit her in until over a month after the medications she had been doing so well with ran out.  Within a couple of days, she had a psychotic break.

    The good news is that the psychotic break allowed the emergency room to which my cousin drove M to treat her with the medications she is supposed to be taking.  The bad news is that they for some reason are not allowed to prescribe enough to fill the gap until the psychiatrist that accepts Medicaid can see M.  The alternative they recommended – pay out of pocket for a different psychiatrist or sign paperwork for involuntary commitment.  The details that would be included in that paperwork would, of course, end up with M serving time in prison.

    My cousin barely makes ends meet, which is true also for the rest of the family, but they are looking into the cost of private treatment.  We’ve seen Go Fund Me accounts for medical treatment, I wonder how generous the public will be for a mentally ill person on felony probation?

    The majority of mankind is ground down by industrial oppression in order that the small remnant may live in ease.
    —Helen Keller, 1911

    Joe Biden, you're no Jack Kennedy: "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."—John F Kennedy, 1962

  • #50855

    Ohio Barbarian
    • Total Posts: 8,677

    Great essay. You summed up the inherent inequities of capitalism in a nutshell, particularly how our system isn’t designed to help the most vulnerable among us, particularly the ill, mentally or otherwise, and children. This is what always happens when the guiding force in a society is a relentless pursuit of profit, a principle which cares nothing for anyone or anything else, and rewards sociopathic behavior with wealth and power.

    We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.--Franklin Delano Roosevelt

    With Bernie Sanders, we have the receipts. --Nina Turner

  • #50878

    • Total Posts: 3,776

    Nominated for the Daily Radical.


  • #50927

    • Total Posts: 2,765

  • #50938

    • Total Posts: 384

    Great write up and so true.

    This winter my husband and I worked at our warming center, this should be required. If it were you would see people taking time to advocate for the homeless.  So many of them are struggling with mental issue both large and small.

    I also serve on the board of a highschool that takes in kids for a variety of reasons who do not fit into public schools. If not for this school we would see most of them drop out,  and many become homeless.  These kids learn on a different level then most kids our school has small classes and they are able to help kids find away to graduate and become functioning adults.  They actually have a higher rate of graduation the our own state!

    I sometimes feel that people in this country have no empathy,  but then I see them step up in disasters.  I think maybe people like having someone below them, someone who makes them feel like a success? I dont know, but I always hear,  well they choose to be there?



  • #51018

    • Total Posts: 1,616

    Any system that denigrates children by design is by definition a bad system.  With public school resources based on the wealth of surrounding property values, each child from poverty starts their education with a leg down from children born to wealth and privilege.  And there is only one fix.  Collect all school property taxes across the country and divide those resources equally among all school districts.  That would ensure that those children that won the birth lottery would have no better education than those children, through no fault of their own, that were disadvantaged from the start.

    It is true that the system is broken.  And why it remains that way can lead to only one conclusion.  It is broken by design.

    "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable."
    - John F. Kennedy

    "In a Time of Universal Deceit - Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act."
    - George Orwell

    "They must find it difficult ... Those who have taken authority as the truth,
    Rather than truth as the authority."
    - Gerald Massey

    "It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
    - Jiddu Krishnamurti

    “Wisdom tells me I am nothing. Love tells me I am ever

    • #51025

      retired liberal
      • Total Posts: 1,688

      This sentence could be worded better:

      “That would ensure that those children that won the birth lottery would have no better education than those children, through no fault of their own, were disadvantaged from the start.”

      The above reads that the advantaged kids should be educated no better than the disadvantaged kids. It needs the other way around. The disadvantaged kids need to be educated the same as the advantaged kids.
      Too often the advantaged kids in the public schools are being educated no better than the disadvantaged kids because the public school tax money is being siphoned off for the private charter schools. So maybe you weren’t that far off reality there.

      We are an arrogant species, believing our fantasy based "facts" are better than the other person's fake facts.

      If you are wrong, it will be because you are not cynical enough.

      Both major political parties are special interest groups enabling each other for power and money, at the expense of the people they no longer properly serve…

  • #51366

    Mr. Mickeys Mom
    • Total Posts: 1,759

    Following the statistics on school lunch programs, you’d find that the criteria to meet “free lunch” has stayed the same, but the numbers of eligibles are growing. Too bad this is a fund balance that local governments only pass, and therefore, it isn’t shared on a national level, even though it’s obvious what’s happening to kids who struggle to have a decent breakfast to attend a PUBLIC school.

    We’re failing miserably.

    Hell, no... I'm not giving up...

    • #51457

      Robot X
      • Total Posts: 314

      What frustrates the hell out of me is the mindset that public education is some burden that we begrudgingly provide at the lowest level possible. Anything beyond the bare minimum is an undeserved give away to lazy poor people. If I was in charge I would locate community college culinary schools (sourcing food from local farmers) in every public school providing free breakfast and lunch to every student regardless of income.

      Win win creative solutions surround us but if your mindset is stuck in a punishment fetish where no opportunity to humiliate poor people can be missed, where making success as arduous as possible, and feeding school children quality food is somehow controversial we will forever read stories of cafeteria employees dumping the lunch of hungry kids in the garbage because they are 50 cents short.



  • #51558

    Cold Mountain Trail
    • Total Posts: 5,478

    I agree; the system is broken by design.  Nearly everything ‘public’ is broken by design today, the better to piece it out to private interests.  The fire sale at the end of history is already well on its way.

    “I sometimes feel that people in this country have no empathy,  but then I see them step up in disasters.  I think maybe people like having someone below them, someone who makes them feel like a success? I dont know, but I always hear,  well they choose to be there?”

    I think its easier for people to believe ‘they choose to be there’ because 1) that absolves them of any responsibility a/o b) they honestly don’t know what to do about the problem and prefer to believe its a problem of ‘the other’ rather than a deliberate choice of the ptb & a good proportion of ‘the people’.

    People do step up in disasters, even ‘the other’.   I have to keep believing, with anne frank, that people are basically drawn to help each other.

    • #51817

      • Total Posts: 3,043

      You are so right. It is by design. It is part of the overall Neoliberal strategy of pushing the wealth ever upward.

      I would like to remind you that U.S. health insurance companies do not contribute anything to health care. They are only a PARASITIC middle man receiving an undeserved cut of "FREE MONEY".


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