Wednesday, March 18, 2020

#78 / Never?

I don't much cotton to someone telling me that something can "never" happen. I continue to be committed to "possibility" as our most important and defining human category. Possibility is the category that best describes the nature of our human world. In the Natural World, the laws that govern how things work are perfectly descriptive of what must happen. The "Law of Gravity" brooks no contradiction. That's not the way our own world works.

In our own world, in the human world we construct by our choices and our actions, the "law" is not descriptive, but prescriptive. We tell ourselves what we think we should do. Then, we can either do that, or not. It's up to us. The choice about how to act is always ours. The "possibility" that we can do something new, and different, something we have never done before, is always before us.

Because of my commitment to "possibility," and because of my rejection of statements about what can "never" happen, I was automatically in opposition mode when I came upon Eduardo Porter's column in the March 15, 2020, edition of The New York Times. Here is the title on Porter's column, as it appeared in the hard copy version of the newspaper: "Why America Will Never Get Medicare for All." 

Never? Really?

Besides insisting on "possibility" as the defining category of our human condition, I bridle at the idea that our role in life is simply to "observe." While paying attention to current realities is obviously very important, "action," not "observation," is the task to which we are called. Karl Marx got it right. I never tire of quoting him: 

The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it.

All this said, what Porter is talking about is "racism." That is the obstacle that Porter identifies as an absolute bar to "Medicare for All." Like any other human reality (this one having been all too "real" on this continent for over three hundred years), racism is not "inevitable." Maybe, just maybe, the current coronavirus pandemic, and our absolute need to confront the fact of global warming and climate change, will finally convince us that we are, truly, together in this life. 

Maybe we will finally open our eyes, and understand that there is only one "race" we need to acknowledge: the human race.

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