Last Friday the Tennessean posted an unsigned editorial excoriating the overweight. I refuse to link to the piece, but others have, so if you’d like to read it, feel free to follow the rabbit trail. The shortened version is that people are whining about how bad health care is, but a lot of their problem is caused by themselves because they are lazy and won’t exercise or stop pigging out.
And this right here is why Universal Health Care makes me break out in chills.
Civility exists in only the thinnest of veneers to begin with. Once people who are already stressed and oppressed by their bills and the lack of money to pay those bills start looking for someone to blame for their situation, that veneer vanishes entirely. It’s happened countless times throughout history. When Rome burned, the government looked for someone to blame and a new religion followed by slaves and foreigners seemed as good a target as any. Christians ended up as snack food for lions. Those who didn’t flee from their homes or die in the arena languished in prisons where they were tortured and starved. When Mary
, Queen of Scots Tudor reigned over England she blamed her father’s Protestant religion for her parents’ divorce, her mother’s death and the general ill health of England’s economy. Protestants died by the thousands–until she died and her very Protestant half sister Elizabeth took over. During Elizabeth’s day in the sun it was the Catholic folk who hid or died.
There are many other examples throughout history–some overused, some underused–which show how a certain group has been made to blame and subsequently forced to pay for everyone’s problems.
That article in the Tennessean is not unlike the comments I’ve seen all over the internet, on TV talk shows and even dressed up in special reports on news programs. The Overweight are costing society bunches of money. They are only overweight because they can’t control themselves. They eat too much, exercise too little and suffer myriad health problems. In these before times, arguing over federalising health care, the discussions range from patronising to mean-spirited. The costs to others “because of lazy fat bastards” is hard to quantify in arguments padded with anecdata.
But I cannot see how a country where open hatred of the obese is already thriving plans to have Universal Health Care without creating a permanent outgroup of scapegoated overweight folks. I cannot see how the overweight will be allowed the same status of health care when everyone is paying for it. I can hear the arguments now–“Why should I, a healthy thin person, be forced to pay for that lazy fat lardbubble’s diabetes medicine?”
It already isn’t pretty out here for us fat folk, and I can only fear how much more ugly it will be when the rest of the world blames us for their financial woes.