Sunday, June 12, 2016

America is a backward nation.

My daughter was out at a club last night, hosting three young musicians from Scotland who are recording songs at my partner's studio.

I am incredibly lucky we are not in Florida.

Someone else's children died last night, however. Many parents are grieving today. Many partners and friends and siblings are grieving.

When the Scots arrived, they looked at us and said, "The one thing we don't understand about America is the thing with the guns. What is that about?"

We couldn't tell them. What I could tell them is there is a tourist destination in Arizona called Bullets and Burgers. I kid you not. You can pay a fee and shoot any kind of gun your heart desires...and have a hamburger when you're hungry.

These musicians are in university. They go for free and are expected to pay it back in small, affordable increments tied into their income. Their housing is also paid for.

Health care in Scotland, they say, is "amazing."  Not okay, not better than nothing: amazing.

One of them had to go to an American emergency care center in New York City during his last visit. He was appalled.

"It was so primitive," he said. "It wasn't even clean."

I was born in this country and I used to believe the hype - America was leading the world.

Let's stop lying to ourselves.

I listened to a discussion of the presidential campaign on NPR the other day and heard David Gregory, who used to be a network news reporter and now hosts a podcast, dismiss questions about universal health care.

"It's not going to happen," he said. 

He told his guests they should discuss things that are possible.

Free healthcare for all is impossible here. Free higher education is impossible here. Ironclad laws to protect Americans from being slaughtered in school or in a club are impossible.

If that is true, and it may well be, let's admit the truth. America is a backward nation. 

And this election isn't going to change that.

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