What an amazing time we live in!

Please pardon the unbridled enthusiasm.

Today, two major rulings were handed down from the Supreme Court, and both are just amazing, considering the political climate. And it just seems like almost anything is possible in the U.S.A. I have this weird urge to yell “Yes, we can!” at random passersby in Pittsburgh.

First, the Gay Marriage ruling which affirmed our faith in humanity–though at only a 5-4 majority.

http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/26/politics/supreme-court-same-sex-marriage-ruling/index.html

This is a truly weird argument to even be having in a first world country as developed as the United States of America. We have essentially been refusing constitutional rights to a segment of the United States because we find them weird or strange. It’s quite frankly always been absurd, and watching this happen over the past decade or so has been at times frustrating. But I can still remember when Ellen came out, and I remember what it did to her over the short term (she certainly rebounded). And it has been amazing to watch so many prominent people come out to the public and deal with the mixed bag of reactions and show so much perseverance in the face of such opposition.

I cannot imagine what this decision does to the many LGBT citizens of the United States. I cannot imagine how it feels, but I hope they feel as hopeful as I do. Just amazing.

As a person born in the South, I know this is not the end of the bigotry, insults, and ignorance regarding the LGBT community in the United States. But I am so enthusiastic about what is going to happen to the USA over the coming decades. I hope, so strongly, that our next generations can look past this type of petty bigotry and focus on the real problems and bright future of this country and our species, really.

Second, the ACA (ObamaCare) ruling.

I’ve read and been exposed to many opinions on the Affordable Care Act. Some are reasonably unbiased, such as those that try to break down the pros and cons at sites like this.  However, the majority of opinions I’ve heard on this are polar and extreme, and the “repeal Obamacare” crowd have been really disturbing.

This is a country of possibilities and one that tries to reward hard work. While I can understand some of the motivations and quite frankly the jealousies of people who dislike “handouts”, I find it utterly disturbing that reasonable health care to prevent much of our population from dying unnecessarily is so vehemently fought against.

I have had people try to convince me that the system rewards the undeserving. I have had people try to convince me that the system taxes too much. I have had people try to convince me that it is a downward spiral into communism and anti-Americanism. And all of these people have been conservative Republicans.

Here’s the reality of the United States:

  1. In order to accomplish the American Dream, we almost universally have to go to college in order to get degrees. This has been made more expensive by political party initiatives to defund campuses, which have been setup by conservatives as adversaries of conservative policies and ideology. Massive defunding of grants. Massive defunding of subsidies and massive burdens on the American citizens hoping to better themselves and their prospects. The result has been an enormous debt load that many students will struggle to pay off for decades. This causes extreme pressure on entrepreneurial activities because people under extreme debt are typically risk averse, which means less new companies, less innovation, and less pursuit of the American dream.
  2. We have one of the lowest tax rates of the developed world.
  3. These low tax rates are honestly burdening our long term strategies for developing our future generations to be productive members of society. We are cutting education and science budgets, and we are setting ourselves up for failure. We are banking on an economic model commonly referred to as “Trickle Down Economics” that has repeatedly shown itself to be ineffective at generating economic stimulus, while models that drive consumer spending have always been shown to be successful. Essentially, if you want to kickstart capitalism, you need to make sure economic benefits are not being hoarded. You want money flowing throughout the economy, and this means getting money into the hands of consumers (i.e., by getting them better jobs and kickstarting new innovations and items that will entice spending)
  4. We have a political system so polarized that it actively turns citizens against each other over religion, abortion, or whatever else will galvanize mostly ignorant people to turn up at the polls to protect some hyper-inflated sense of doom, despair, and paranoia.

ACA enables the United States capitalistic machinery by lowering the barrier of entry into the market place for all fields, across the board. Wait… what? Medical care remains one of the most expensive industries, and it is also the most mandatory for our survival. You get cancer without medical insurance, it’s a death sentence. You get an infection without medical insurance? Probably going to die there too. And every person will run into a health problem at some point in their life. Just like car insurance, medical insurance helps alleviate societal burdens, especially on the impoverished, to ensure a functional economically productive system.

The concept of subsidized health insurance may seem “communistic” or “socialistic” to some, but like public roads, automobile insurance, or most other subsidized or government-sponsored programs, the end result is lowering the burden on American families struggling toward the American Dream. It is penicillin for retarded economic growth. It is saving lives–many lives that may influence our economic activity in ways that may not seem immediately obvious.

“The world needs janitors” is always going to be true, but so is the fact that those janitors can only keep doing their jobs if they are alive and healthy. Additionally, the offspring of those janitors may also have huge potential to change the world for the better, and you want them to survive too. Someone under ACA could be the person that eventually cures cancer. Someone under ACA is likely to be a future President. Someone being treated under ACA may give birth to the person who launches us into space mining, interstellar travel, neural repairs, or any number of ideas that will fundamentally change America and the world for the better. Someone struggling through life may finally be able to afford to participate in the American Dream and have a little more hope.

These are the types of promises that Americans clung to when Obama was elected. Hope and change. And we just got confirmation on two of them. More equality. Better lives. A better place to live and raise our children.

What an amazing time to live in!

About Rex Jameson
Rex Jameson is the author of the three novels in the Primal Patterns series and half a dozen short stories. An avid history buff and an unabashed nerd with an appetite for science fiction and fantasy, he loves to create complex speculative fiction with layered characters. He earned a PhD in Computer Science at Vanderbilt University and researches distributed artificial intelligence in robotics at Carnegie Mellon University. Rex and his wife Jenny live in Pittsburgh where they enjoy hosting family and friends.

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