Letters from Americans are kept on the American Perspectives page.
Your government, not to mention your political system, has failed you. George W Bush has failed you. There are many reasons why I feel that your government has failed you, I hope I can clarify why during the course of this letter.
Your government has failed you at the most basic level. The overriding job of any government is to protect its citizens. That is a fundamental foundation of any civilised nation. Sadly, your government has chosen not to protect its citizens. Instead, it has decided to cut you loose and see if you sink or swim. Inevitably, it is the poor who sink. Take for example the recent legislation rejected by President Bush. Bush had a chance to ensure that every section of society was given the ability to swim. When presented with a bill to extend health insurance to millions of children, he could have chosen to embrace American society and ensure every member of the society was given an equal chance in life, regardless of their financial background. However, he chose (for the fourth time in seven years) to reject this legislation and ensure that millions of the poorest children will be left to sink, to disappear from mainstream society and remain a part of the so-called ‘under-class’. From birth, it would appear that the American government has chosen not to protect its citizens and thus renege on its obligations as a civilised nation.
It is not just in terms of healthcare, the American system (particularly under Bush) has displayed a blatant disregard for the ordinary working man/woman. Many Americans were proud of their achievement of being the ‘Most Productive’ workers, according to a UN report. But this reputation has come at a heavy price. Once again, the political leadership had a choice: protect the citizen, or allow them to sink. Once again, Bush chose the latter. Despite their reputation, the American worker suffers intolerable working standards. Unionisation is practically obsolete, with only 12.5% of workers owning union membership in 2005. Under Bush’s watch, the minimum wage has dropped from $5.84 in 2000 to $5.15 in 2005, the median family income dropped by $1,000 between 200 and 2004 and the lowest quintile saw its annual income after tax decrease by $200, while the top 1% saw their incomes grow by $53,000. The workers have been left to sink by Bush, while the wealthy continue to swim at a healthy pace.
The Bush administration has also failed to protect the rights of the indigenous people of America. When given the opportunity to vote on a treaty that set out the rights of the indigenous people, including protection of their human rights and their land, the United States was one of only four countries to vote against the treaty. Once again, we see how the Bush administration fails to abide by its obligations to protect all its citizens. In fact, its treatment of indigenous people has also been condemned by Amnesty International. Amnesty has claimed that:
Native American and Alaska Native women in the United States suffer disproportionately high levels of rape and sexual violence, yet the federal government has created substantial barriers to accessing justice, Amnesty International (AI) asserted in a 113-page report released today. Justice Department figures indicate that American Indian and Alaska Native women are 2.5 times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than women in the United States in general; more than one in three Native women will be raped in their lifetimes.
Native Americans are, like many other sections of society, left to sink to the bottom. The Bush administration has washed their hands of them, much like the poor and the workers.
But it is not just internal affairs that the Bush administration has failed the American people and endangered them, foreign policy has put America at risk like never before. The sympathy spawned from the attacks on 11th September, has been squandered as the US government seeks it tighten its grip on the world. However, the tighter they squeeze, the more anti-Americanism will grow. This in turn will lead to greater difficulties on the world stage and America’s increased isolation from the civilised world. This isolation will make all Americans vulnerable and put them at great risk. If current trends in foreign policy were to continue, the entire nation will sink without a trace.
In short, the American administration has done its best to ensure that the poor and the dispossessed sink to the bottom, while the wealthy rise to the top. If America is ever going to regain its status as a respected, civilised nation, it needs to stop threatening sovereign nations of the world and start focusing on the needs of the poor in their own country. Martin Luther King once said:
I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal."
Forty-four years later, it remains a dream.
About the Author:
Website: Mask of Anarchy
I'll limit my letter to you to one tiny topic - the availability of nitrous oxide gas to labouring women in the U.S. You might think this is an odd topic on which to focus...but it's indicative of the insanity of the U.S. health care system.
From up here in Canada, it is shocking to discover that hardly any U.S. women have access to something that we take for granted. It's simple, cost-effective, and makes sense.
So, here's the stats:
In 2004, there were 4,115,590 births in the U.S.
The epidural rate in most U.S. hospitals range between 60 and 90%.
Each epidural, including the anethesiologist, costs between $700 and $1200.
If you calculate the cost, using the lowest rate and cost...that’s $1,728,547,800 spent on epidurals in the U.S.
Why? Because certain people (doctors, insurance companies, hospital administrators - take your pick...) made sure there was no alternative.
In Canada, and many other countries, nitrous oxide gas is available for pain relief in labour. No doctors orders are required for its use. No anesthesiologist is required for its use. There is no waiting period necessary. Its effects start immediately. It is cheap and simple.
With a portable system, a woman can remain mobile, even in the shower, and use the nitrous oxide gas, thus making her labour faster and easier.
In Canada, 70% of my own clients use nitrous oxide gas in labour and require no other pain relief. We save the medical system a lot of money this way. It just makes sense.
Now, tell me...why does the United States only have nitrous oxide available to labouring women in ONLY 2 birthing centres? That's maybe a few hundred, or even a few thousand women, who are given this alternative.
Why do the women in the U.S. get epidurals...or nothing? I think that's easy to answer.
It’s just one tiny example of a health system gone wrong.
Sorry, I can’t admire a country that places greed before logic.
Occupation: Birth Consultant
Experience With US: Visited the United States