We willfully submit ourselves to the new bondage, antiseptic slavery.

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It is easy to be pessimistic in these times where most have acquiesced to an insidious form of bondage I refer to as antiseptic slavery. I am optimistic that grassroots action is the answer.

Antiseptic Slavery

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A few years ago, on Christmas day, my mother-in-law sat motionless, with a blank stare on her preferred sofa at our home. My daughter, a then third-year medical student, recognized what was happening. Grandma was having a stroke. She told us to call 9–1–1 as she did some preliminary checks. The firetruck came in a few minutes, followed by the ambulance. And that is where the savagery of our system became more pronounced.

Before taking grandma to the ambulance, the main concern of the two paramedics was whether she had insurance and by whom. We told them she was on Medicare. They wanted a card with account numbers and the works. My wife rummaged through grandma’s purse to find the information. So here we are, distressed and concerned about a loved one having a stroke, and we had to first think about money.

My daughter has subsequently had two strokes caused by a birth defect, an AVM. She had insurance with her University in DC that covered most of the bills that exceeded half a million dollars. This strong young woman completed all of her courses even in her disabled state and is back home recovering. Of course, no private insurance will provide her with insurance, so she must go on disability/Medicaid.

As someone who has always had insurance, where I have paid north of $20,000 a year in today’s dollars, it pains me that we-the-people tolerate the exploitation by the few. I have had policies that cost me north of $1200 a month with a $10,000 deductible. In effect, I was just given my money to those big multimillion-dollar paychecks to insurance executives.

Most Americans want Healthcare-for-All. Most Americans want family leave. Most Americans want a livable wage. Most Americans want affordable childcare so they can get a reliable job. Most Americans want a clean environment. Yet, we are unable to get our Senators of either party to provide the policies we all want under the pretext that it is extreme and too expensive. How is it extreme to support what most Americans want? How is it too expensive when we have a growing number of the super-rich who earned that wealth on all of our backs?

At least 80% of Americans are in a type of bondage that they believe they must endure. I call this form of bondage antiseptic slavery. Why? During the brutal form of slavery that blacks endured, they were considered property. The slaveowner owner who only cared about capital had to keep his machines, slaves, productive. They had to clothe, feed, and provide them with healthcare. Today’s masters, the corporate executives, have made the new slaves and employees expendable and replaceable. It is a system more efficient than slavery. While its brutality does not leave physical scars, its economic damage is permanent.

So why do Americans tolerate this when there are examples around the world of systems that work better where people are demonstrably happier? Too many either believe that is how things are destined to be, or they believe they have no recourse.

I have written ad-nauseam about the fraud that is our healthcare system, education system, and economic system as a whole. But the wealthy, the plutocracy, and the oligarchy have a huge megaphone. It is well-funded by a ruling class that presents a beautiful face of philanthropy as they hurt us behind the scenes using many of our institutions. An informed grassroots movement using geometric progression is our big megaphone. Let’s activate it. Let’s use it.

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