This is not a ‘victory’

Every two to four years, we the people are given the opportunity to vote. This is our claim to living in a democracy.

However, we have a problem. Our choices ultimately are which of the two candidates will do the least harm to us, the people, who work to keep this nation running.

In other words, we choose the lesser of two evils . . . one candidate seen as very evil while the other is not so evil.

This past election, we had to choose between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. When Trump won, many were devastated, thinking that the greater evil was now the president of the United States.

These two candidates were probably the most unpopular candidates that ever ran for the presidency. If Hillary had won, would we be in better shape or would we now be at war with Russia and Iran? Would she give us single payer healthcare or would she make sure the profiteers continued to profit from our suffering? Would she make certain that there was affordable housing for the people who have to decide whether to pay their rents or buy their medications? Does anyone think she would challenge the landlords? Where would we be better with Hillary Clinton as president?

The point is the lesser evil is still evil and Hillary has a lot of baggage that she carries with her. We, as a people, can no longer be content to fight against the greater evil and feel victorious when we are successful.

While Trump is brash and in your face and obnoxious, Clinton is subtle and would not hesitate to stab you in the back. Is that a better choice?

Monday, the Senate rejected Trump’s healthcare bill. People are rejoicing, feeling they have won a victory. Exactly what have we won? We have successfully kept the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in place, an act that, from the very beginning, was an inadequate response to the severe healthcare crisis in this country.

Granted the ACA provides several improvements but keeps the private, capitalist, profit motivated corporations in control of the healthcare system. It should then be noted that there was no mechanism to control the cost of premiums. Predictably, many, after a few years in the program have had to drop out because they could no longer afford the rising premiums. Let us not forget that the ACA still left millions of Americans without coverage.

The ACA did not solve the problems faced by millions of Americans. It placed a Band-Aid on the hemorrhage and thought the people would be placated and accept this legacy attributed to Barack Obama. They were right, the people claimed a major victory and backed away from the fight for a single payer program.

Everyone who has honestly thought this problem through and has no personal interest in maintaining the status quo, knows that the only solution to the healthcare problem is a single payer or Medicare for All program.

So, I draw a parallel between the lesser of two evils elections we have every few years with the lesser of two evils healthcare proposals. The ACA avoids confronting the most crucial aspect of our society . . . the myth that influences us of the need to privatize everything because privatization is “more efficient.”

Basic human needs should certainly not be in the hands of private, for profit corporations. I am including housing, pharmaceuticals, education, or the running of the prison system as well as healthcare.

So, when we evaluate the Senate’s rejection of Trump’s healthcare bill, I do not see victory because we have not won anything. We have just stopped the capitalist pigs from imposing more hardships on the working class in order to maintain or increase their profit margins.

Victory comes when you have succeeded in making change to how you live your life. Stopping the capitalists from making life harder for us is important but far from being a victory because we remain under their control.


Dave Alpert has masters degrees in social work, educational administration, and psychology. He spent his career working with troubled inner city adolescents.

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