Tuesday, October 26, 2021

UFT Must Support Single Payer and New York Health Act

There's something profoundly disturbing about our opposition to the New York Health Act. We are, in effect, opposing single payer health insurance for the entire state of New York. It's not just that we're hindering something much needed, a veritable moral imperative. It's not just that we are slowing down potential progress toward ending the national disgrace that is our health system. In fact, we are doing both those things. These things alone could qualify as profoundly disturbing, but we've gone beyond that. Here's why:

The reason we haven't got national health insurance, unlike every non-third-world country, is there are wholly artificial barriers that separate us. We can have that, but you can't. You won't know how to handle it.

Watch Fox News someday, if you can stomach it, and you'll see how we are artificially separated by Rupert Murdoch's propaganda machine. There's a caravan of immigrants coming in to ruin our country. There are people marching, shouting Black Lives Matter, and that must mean yours does not. The Biden administration, evil bastards that they are, are trying to vaccinate everyone, and in New York City, that awful place with all those immigrants, they want to vaccinate the police. (Who cares if COVID 19 has become the number one cause of death among police?)

You, of course, are supposed to be angry, and express it by voting for Donald Trump, or whatever GOP hack is protecting you from things like national health insurance, or union, or vaccinations, or women's right to choose, or whatever other atrocity the evil left and Antifa is trying to foist upon you. Those things, as you know, are communism, socialism, or even fascism, which are bad, unless it's Donald Trump acting as fascist, because alternative facts.

The important thing is to have a scapegoat. Look at those lazy people who don't want to work for $7.25 an hour. Worthless bastards bitching because they have no health insurance, no pension, will never own a home, cannot afford higher education, and essentially have no future. It's because of them that you have no health insurance, no pension, will never own a home, cannot afford higher education, and essentially have no future. So you'd better vote for the GOP, or even the corporate Democrats, because only they will make sure that Jeff Bezos pays no taxes and can afford to send William Shatner into space.

This is not racism, of course. You don't hate these people because they're black or brown (even though you may as well and likely as not you do), but rather because of their work ethic, or lack thereof. Yeah, that's the ticket. If only they'd stop marching around claiming their lives matter, perhaps yours would matter more. The fact is, though, that as long as those people are kept down, so are you. And your hatred for them, for whatever reason, actually means you are stuck in the same place they are. Of course, Tucker Carlson will give you a million reasons why that's not true, and he's on for an hour every night, so if you don't want to believe this, just watch him instead.

Here's the thing, though--our lives are entwined, whatever color our skin may be, whatever religion we may follow, and wherever we come from. If we separate working people, we are not stronger. Now I do not believe UFT leadership is racist. I do not believe they have bad intentions. What I do believe, though, is that by pitting us against working New Yorkers, we are unintentionally perpetuating the awful system that kills our brothers and sisters when they are afraid to visit a doctor or ER because of the cost. 

We are union, and the bigger our union, the more power we have. By cutting ourselves off from most New Yorkers, we ultimately make ourselves weaker. I honestly don't know exactly what benefits we have that we would not if there were to be a single payer system. Whatever they are, though, we should work to incorporate them into the state system. Short of that, we could work to keep them for ourselves and later add them to the state system. 

Opposing health care for all is not only morally indefensible, but also fundamentally anti-union. We owe it not only to ourselves, but also to our brothers and sisters around the state to find a way to support this. We need New Yorkers and Americans to know that union is a force for the good of all, not just us, and we need to inspire them to form unions of their own. That's the only way we're going to create a system that rejects racist, xenophobic, misogynistic anti-union demagogues like Trump, Tucker, and all the other lunatics who hate us and everything we stand for. 

There's one thing that Fox, and the GOP and the corporate Dems want us all to forget, and that is this--we are ALL in this together. As unionists, it behooves us to remember that, always.

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