United We Fail

One sign of the advanced illness of our democracy in the United States is not just the inordinate importance of “lobbying” (i.e. bribery), but the fact that the second most powerful lobby after business is the American Association of Retired Persons. No offense, but the elderly are both the most economically privileged age group, and people over 65 already have national health insurance (Medicare). Hence, the lobbying leadership of the AARP can’t help but be a generally harmful thing, whatever small achievements it may include for working class seniors.

Consider the AARP’s shockingly wrong-headed and ill-timed “Divided We Fail” advertising campaign. Coming at a moment when pressure for national single-payer health insurance could, with enough public pressure and genuine leadership, have a real effect on an incoming Democratic President and Democratically-dominated Congress, the AARP chooses instead to push for the preservation of “bipartisanship.”

When asked why she couldn’t possibly create single-payer health insurance if elected, the walking disease Hillary Clinton avows that “you have to include” the Republicans “in the process.” Why? If you are the President and have the votes, why not pass the needed legislation?

The real answer to why money-oriented “leaders” make such Orwellian statements is that, beneath their constant claims to the contrary, corporate shills like Clinton and the AARP are utterly hostile to universal health insurance. The only way to get that is single-payer, and the only way to get THAT is to flip the middle finger to its opponents.

The record is as clear as day: In Congress, “united” we fail. To stay “bipartisan” is to insist on the status quo of staggering unfairness, irrationality, and inhumanity in our medical system. To hell with the AARP for obscuring that blatant fact.

P.S. It’s also rather interesting to see that the Service Employees International Union is one of the “Divided We Fail” campaign’s major co-sponsors. This supposedly maverick AFL-CIO breakaway union is now, post “rebellion,” lobbying for bipartisanship! Orwell couldn’t make this shit up. Despite 50 years of worsening betrayals of labor, the shrinking AFL-CIO has been an increasingly subordinate wholly-owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party ever since the early Cold War purges of political unionists. Now, rightly complaining that the AFL-CIO is a dying parody of a union federation, the SEIU is stabbing boldly even farther to the right…

As MLK said, “this is a sick society.”

4 Replies to “United We Fail”

  1. hey micheal,

    All leaders whether union or political express the views of the capitalist elite. what is needed is a movement that will force some leaders to jump in front of.

  2. Right on!

    Obviously, the AARP as a whole is quite asinine. As if their attempts to send me (a person only beginning to embark on an entry-level career) an invitation for membership weren’t bad enough! The articles found on their website definitely pushed them over the edge and into the realm of senile and outdated, like our friend John McCain.

    I love your comment, “…the elderly are both the most economically privileged age group, and people over 65 already have national health insurance…” True, and true. They will never fight for equality and health care for all, like their website claims, because they have and will continue to benefit from a system that they will ultimately destroy for the rest of us.

    This is not to say that age discrimination toward Baby Boomers isn’t happening on some level. But to feature an article on the increasing problem of age discrimination toward Baby Boomers seems incredulous to me. Many of the Boomers I know are doing just that, booming. They’re living it up, collecting their public employee retirement system checks while working for “personal fulfillment” or freelancing in the private sector.

    Let’s be serious about this. Boomers outnumber every other generation in the work force and “thanks” to modern medicine they’ll be around for a hell of a lot longer. They are the higher ups who are doing the hiring, firing, etc.

    The, “…advanced illness of our democracy…” perpetuated by common bribery is ridiculous. It makes me sea sick just thinking about such organizations steering a boat that unfortunately, I too, happen to be riding in. Woman overboard!

    Forget bi-partisanship, including Republicans means that nothing will be accomplished. Grandma and Grandpa need to take their framed pictures of George H.W. and Barbara Bush off of the family room wall and stop being so selfish, because things have to change.

  3. Well, it’s important not to start treating the elderly as the ruling class. Old people are very diverse, and many are abjectly poor, though because class is so strongly correlated with survival odds and also health/energy for elderly politics, it’s a tempting idea. But it is quite misleading in some ways.

    But it is true that, insofar as they join together to deny their class divisions, ala AARP, the old should butt out politically, other than arguing for SS, which we all like anyway.

  4. As wild as my ranting, I agree. They are not “ruling” us. My actual thought was that they do at least assert their opinions and authority by their voting numbers, which is more than can be said for a lot of younger voters. However, I hope that more who have futures at stake will participate in large numbers in the future.

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