I always feel like I missed the bus when it comes to living in the era that best fits me. Old professors used to talk about taking over various school buildings in New Jersey and I used to think – man I wish I’d lived in that time. I read about the spanish civil war and hemmingway, and even though Im a pacifist, I thought to myself – man, I wished I lived during that time. I read about Big Bill Haywood when he helped found the IWW and teach workers from all over the world about their collective power and rights, and I thought to myself — Man I wish I lived in that time.
The same feelings haunts me in Europa as I look at the dismantling of those grand ol social systems. For my entire brief adult life they’ve been privatizing, cutting, selling off, converting, or reversing. I hate most of the words, especially when they refer to this great health system, or rail system, or social security. Of course, I never lived during those days, so I live off the second hand stories, and whether they’re accurate or not, I get starry-eyed and daydream of what it would be like to live in old Europe when social services were operating at full speed with the full support if their countries.
And so tonight I sit staring at kiesbeter.nl, a site that helps me to choose which health insurance plan is most in line with my needs and FINANCIAL situation. That’s right, national health in the netherlands is not so national anymore. A dear friend and wise frisbee throwing woman assured me it was better this way, because there are more and different options for people. I trust her judgement, but I keep wondering about the old days and the old system. Was it not world class and great that everyone was covered collectively? Am I missing something? Does anyone else have a bad feeling about all this?
I’m sure somebody will comment about how it was too expensive and inefficient. I suppose those who share that opinion are in the majority now, and I’m just some daydreamer, romanticizing a system I never got to properly take part in. And when Im sick and under-insured and lacking social security, I’ll be sure to cough on everyone, turn to a life of old-person crime, and tell stories no one will believe about how social services used to be nationally run.