I don’t know-I guess it could be a million dollars. I remember a time when a million dollars was a great deal of money but for some these days it’s ‘chump change.’
Yesterday, as I was sitting in a parking lot in the little town I live in, a man came up to me, using a walker, and struck up a conversation with me about how he was looking for work but no one would hire him. I found out later, from him, that he had lost a leg to a medical condition from mid thigh on down. He looked to be dressed in every piece of clothing that he owned (that would be my guess anyway) with a toque on and an old baseball cap under a hoodie. He had the bluest eyes I have ever seen and a white beard that had been growing for a year or two. He seemed very mild mannered and articulate. We talked a bit more and then he said-“Say you wouldn’t have any spare change would you?I’d like a hot chocolate from Timmy’s and today seems like that kind of day.” So I honoured his request and off he went. When he had shuffled out of sight I wondered what has to happen to a man-a human being-to live a life like his?
Of course my mind took me to several different scenarios but always returned to this one: I do understand that there are many folks who genuinely care about others and do what they can to make those others more comfortable on the planet. As a complete community, however, we don’t spend much time thinking about people like this man and his story. We are too busy making money or struggling to keep what we have or have made it our mission in life to collect all the money we can before we go.
Then I get to thinking about the enormous disparity between those who get paid far too much to do what they do and those who work so hard for peanuts. How does A-Rod make 25 MILLION dollars per annum to be an also ran ball player now? How does Lebron James make 30 MILLION dollars per annum to run up and down a rectangular piece of flooring bouncing a ball? How does a guy by the name of Jay Cutler-anyone else heard of this guy-get nearly 20 MILLION dollars per annum for throwing a old pig skin full of air to some guy who can run like the wind? And what do the franchise owners say?–there is no money in owning a sport franchise. Don’t tell that to Jerry Jones who owns the Dallas Cowboys. They are currently valued at 4 BILLION dollars and rising.
But the story continues. We have big pharma who has managed to inflate the costs of some life saving medications to a level that no ‘ordinary citizen ‘can afford to pay. If you can’t pay well that sucks to be you because someone else will. How about some physicians (not all thank goodness) who were caught with their little hands in the big cookie jar recently and then had the audacity to complain about being investigated. ‘He doth protest too much me thinks.’ So much for universal health care. Tough idea to sell with a healthy 2 tier system in place now.
Then we have those big Corporations who can afford the top bean counters. The best they could do was come up with the idea of banking in Panama so their employers would NOT have to pay their fair share of taxes for the privilege of doing business in Canada. So much for patriotic gestures and a growing sense of nationalism. Profit margins are just not BIG enough I guess.
We have lobbyists in Ottawa who get paid millions of dollars to convince the government of the day to screw over the little guy in favour of the bigger guy in the name of ??? making more money while a whole group of folks are literally dying in our streets not to mention the travesty in the north with First Nations Canadians. Shame on us. It seems that for some to make a fortune there has to be those who don’t have enough. Governments have resorted to sanctioning gambling as a method of raising tax money legally. They are in competition for the public’s funds just like the casinos.
The one thing I do strongly believe is that healthcare should never-ever-be for sale. The least the government can do is to provide top level health care for everyone based on availability and possibility and not some predetermined value of what a life is worth today made by a group of people who will never have to worry about their health care plan being inadequate. What you need is what you get. Period.
Our priorities have changed and so has our perspective and, in my opinion, not for the better. At a time when churches are closing–they used to be the guiding light back in the day of ‘do unto others . . . ‘ and schools are closing because fewer folks are seeing the value of educating their kids and preparing them for the new world of business. GREED is the new director of the day with no sign that that fact is going to change any time soon.
Anyways, that’s how I see it. All the best, Jim
Comments are always welcome–contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org OR jimcloughley.com
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