Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Social Commentary from Andalucía, II

In which Eagleheart muses and then takes on socialized healthcare, socialized education and the European Union...

Haven't written in awhile.
My apologies.
Been enjoying my time here. Visited the Alhambra last weekend...three hours after coming back from a night out. I still had fun, though. Seeing the city from above (got to experience the same sight several days later from the opposite side of the Alhambra, in the neighborhood of the Albaycin. Photos available on my facebook, since I can't be assed to put them up in photobucket. Not right now, anyway. Stupid connection issues.

Speaking of connection issues but not really, Lady Gaga is going to Houston this summer. And I SO SO BADLY WANT TO GO.
Anyways, where was I? Oh, yeah. Albaycin. Or Albaicin. Spelling is really up to the user. Something I haven't said about Granada before, is that it's an old city.


Well, yeah, BUT. There's some pre-Roman stuff here. Not a lot, but it's here. To the history buff, meaning me, this place is wonderful. I’ve also visited the Capilla Real, where Fernando of Aragon and Isabel of Castilla (and Juana la Loca and Felipe I de Castilla and the infant Miguel de Paz) are buried.
It’s interesting, to consider the what ifs.What if the rulers of Granada had not decided to fight against each other when the Reconquista came?
What if Columbus had been turned away from the Catholic Monarchs, too?
Some would say that if it wasn’t for the fall of Granada 1/2/1492, millions upon millions of native Aztecs, Tlaxcaltecas and Huastrcas would have survived and the Mayan codices would not have been burnt and we’d all traveling the Empyrean in Mayan spaceships.
Or we’d be speaking English.
It happened.
Mexican race came out of it, so I can’t complain too much. ,)


Every one in Spain is entitled to healthcare. Even tourists. If I fell sick, I could get treatment.

Yeah, there’s private care available, too, but it’s just as good and it’s by the same doctors. America, how hard could this be to understand?I understand restrictions for certain things like plastic surgery.

I mean if you’re Juan and want to be Juana, you shouldn’t chop off your Johnson on the government’s dime. Ditto boob jobs and facelifts. Anything that is purely cosmetic (and not a result of severe burns) should not be covered on a comprehensive healthcare package. Anything else, why not?I mean, it’s not like we’re not wasting money on other fruitless ventures like working to pad the former Vice President’s stock portfolio or stupid research grants.

Just do it, America. Doctors here make some pretty mean cash. There is no starving doctor.

But hey, I understand, some American doctors just HAVE to have that yacht and that Spyder. Not saying all of them are like that, but, still.

Lines won’t be too long. If you run into the ER with a gunshot wound that could be mortal you’ll be treated right then and there. And if you need a transplant, yeah, there’s lines and yeah, you could get a quicker deal with a privatized agency BUT it's not as obscene as it's painted to you by your local tea-party mouthbreather (the hypocrisy of these jerks will be discussed in later events) AND it evens the playing field. It means that if Paris Hilton and I get medical treatment, mine will be just as good as hers.

“Why do you hate America, Eagleheart?”

I don’t. Rich people are no better than poor people and viceversa. And there’s none of this multiple hundred dollar price tag just for a doctor to tell you “Oh. You have a cold.” If that doesn’t convince you, here’s an excerpt from the United Nations declaration on human rights:

“Article 25.(1)

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”

The U.S. signed this.Then again, we know how good they the U.S. is at adhering to promises ;)

Moving on!

Socialized education

I’m still undecided how I feel about it. I think it’s great that education is free and that even for college will be relatively (as in…there’s ways to get it for free if you fill out the right forms) inexpensive.

But what happens when you have two-three decades of this? Everyone’s got their master’s, everyone’s got their bachelor’s. The only thing that sets you apart from the herd is your score on the placement exam…which is neat.

I could argue for it screwing over people who aren’t good standardized test-takers but that’s just a cop out when you get down to it.If you do well on that exam, you could do fun things like go into medicine.If you don’t, well, you could major in the humanities or something like that and hope you find a job somewhere.

In the United States, it’s not like everyone has a bachelor’s degree or something beyond that, so the more terminal a degree is, the more employable you are (in certain professions) Would I like to see universal education? Yes, most definitely. Everyone deserves a fair shake.

But I would rather fix the broken and bipolar education system first and then I can get a little bit more comfortable. Health care first.

In any case, there are many parallels between this system and the American system. If you don't like public schools, you can pay for private schools. Merit-based scholarships are numerous here, too. However, race-based scholarships are rare. So are the"Oh, my grandfather's great grandfather once shook hands with an Indian" type of scholarships.

However, education in the private and public sectors is great and the only key difference is that going throug private school means your kid probably doesn't get to hang around as many immigrant children. But it's still pretty good. Most European countries learn all about the world, learn proper history, and possibly pick up another language or two. The ERASMUS grant discussed in the previous commentary also gives them a distinct advantage.

Back in the States, there is an unfortunate disparity between the public schol and private school systems. I do not believe the school makes the student. I believe a smart student is just as likely to succeed in either environment. However, with the horrible deficiencies propagated by lying textbooks and teachers who have to teach to a flawed TAKS or state test, I'd say there's more risk in public school there than here.

What’s next? Oh, the European Union.

So I’m in class, right, and we’re going over some laws about the European Union. So then the professor starts talking about the organization of the EU and then he kind of casually, matter-of-factly, talks about how the following is entirely possible:

· Any member of the EU can go to another country in the EU and have passive and active suffrage in municipal elections. Active suffrage meaning they can vote for a candidate, and passive suffrage meaning they can be voted for.

· If I don’t like the way a criminal or civil court treats me in Spain, I can appeal it to the higher courts of the European Union.

What the fuck? I mean, I think it’s great to have free travel between national boundaries.

But…to threaten your national autonomy like that?

Oh, sure, let me rob a bank in Barcelona but then when I get arrested I’ll complain that I was unfairly treated and with a good lawyer I stand a sure-shot of appealing a ruling against me.

Just think about the possible ramifications of that. It would make a mockery out of existing extradition rules.

In the United States, it would probably lead to good things like the destruction of the border wall in the southwest and the legalization of marijuana throughout the northern frontier.

But Mexico and the United States, while being historically linked (no Mexican session = no United States. No Santa Ana = frontier ends in Louisiana) are two very different countries in about everything else.

Europe was like that, with several nation-states duking it out and each kicking ass in its own terms. Now it’s moving slowly towards being a single republic again. Crazy. And don't get me wrong, I love the Euro, and I understand it brought back several economies from ruin. This is good.

What is not good is that combining the other factors, you begin to seriously undermine your own nation's autonomy. Now just wait until the Turks (who still haven't recognized the massacres in WWI) get brought in.

That's all for now, folks. Time to enjoy my last few days in Andalucía.

No comments:

Post a Comment