President Obama, who seems genuine in his desire for carrying the American democratic experiment to its full fruition, represents to me the last chance in a lifetime to show that capitalism's ills can be reformed. And the last chance's decisive moment is here.
If Congress passes a health care "reform" bill that does not include a vigorous and workable public option, then the lesson is that greed is too powerful, too intractable to stop merely with debate and deliberation. Mentally, if this happens, I will begin to pack my bags for some other planet.
From what I have seen, I can't imagine any corner of the Earth suitable for me other than the United States.
Canada is too cold and Britain is heading into another dark night of Thatcherism -- as are France and Germany, whose languages I can't speak well enough to work there. Australia is rife with prejudice. Spain is mildly prosperous, but expensive since its entry to the EU. Spanish-speaking Latin America is too poor, too unjust.
The USA has been slouching toward Brazil over decades of conservative misrule; now phones no longer work, domestic cars that are a wretched disaster and the heartland is in thrall to methamphetamine. The favelas, or shantytowns, of Rio de Janeiro have notably improved over the past 30 years, while New York and Los Angeles is developing uniquely American versions of the vast Brazilian citadels of poverty.
There is one last chance. Now. Press Congress to enact a public health care option worthy of the name in order to prevent a financial and health catastrophy and to show us that our government cares for all of us, not just the wealthy and their lobbyists.