Rubén Rivero Capriles

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Marches and Protests in the U.S.

As an outsider observer, it disturbs me a bit that protest marches are becoming more popular in the US. This reflects a wider disconnection between people and their government. In my Venezuelan case these kinds of marches have occurred nonstop since the very beginning of this twenty-first century and nothing beneficial has been achieved for any of the parties involved. I see marches as a waste of time and resources, as a new source of mass entertainment that eventually leads to mass exhaustion. The recent protests in the U.S. are portrayed against health care but they are also against inflation, taxes and huge spending by the federal government. The marches could even include paid propaganda as well. People are paid all the time in third world countries to protest against or support any number of things. Which is then a good way to protest against economic mismanagement? Another popular way of protesting is having lots of similar-minded people posting their protest in narrow-niche web pages only read by their supporters. It seems to me that there are more ways to protest than ever before but their effectiveness with respect to a beneficial change in public policy are slim.

Paragraphs throughout this article include juxtaposed, edited and isolated views from a number of people, including Mary Los and her friends, Kyrriell Noon and his friends, and E. Varick Wettlaufer. Their input is not necessarily transcribed in context. Editing these sentences and deciding their order within this text was actually a minor nightmare for me. I just limit myself into concluding in the final paragraph that the current US polarization is widening to everyone's dissatisfaction.

Many Americans do not understand why the need for reform on health care and health insurance is debatable. They argue that even if a person is sitting pretty and has no personal need for better public policy, access should not be denied to other, less fortunate people. In their opinion, health care should be considered a right of citizenship, and the responsibility should be on all Americans to pay their fair share. The claim is that the fortunate ones need to learn to live simply in order that others may simply live. Despite the fortunes spent, many Americans have not had health care due to their inability to afford it. Many other industrialized countries have state-funded healthcare and the system is believed to function successfully, so theoretically the new United States healthcare system should be able to function as well. The left claims that the right is terrified of all the sociological changes they are powerless to control. The left claims that the right lashes out in impotent rage, shouting "Fire!" in a crowded, dilapidated, depraved theater, and that the right does not have a leg to stand on, no evidence of claims, and no alternative solutions.

There is also wide support behind the naysayers of healthcare reform. According to their view public money for healthcare will result in a system where patients will be waiting for hours at understaffed state clinics with lousy service. There is also the brainwashing issue, probably agreed upon by several on both sides of the political spectrum. Most people in the United States are said to be happy to believe what they're told. How many genuine free-thinkers are there in the United States? Anecdotal exaggerations estimate in 5% the population that makes the effort to think for themselves, so the rest get fed thoughts by the TV networks, which in turn get fed content by whoever pays their bills. Masses then sit around to absorb meaningless messages. Further anecdotal evidence suggests a rise in American expatriates holding permanent residency visas abroad, as they see their country increasingly heading into the wrong direction.

One reader of my recent tax and spend vs. don't tax but spend just as much article asked, "what credibility does a Venezuelan commentator have when commenting on the American political scene?" At that time I replied to him that I have as much credibility as the care I took when compiling the research from many sources. I lived in the United States for almost seven years and I am well versed on United States issues because I always keep myself informed over the internet.
I did not intend then, and do not intend now either, to supply any prescription or prognosis. That is left out entirely to the reader. However, on this occasion I can confidently respond a little further. Having experienced similar plights during the last decade, a number of Latin American individuals, as opposed to our similarly inefficient governments, can elaborate with expertise on United States issues today. What nation doesn't benefit from the opinions, perceptions, and analysis of outside observers? The unfortunate experiences of outsiders should serve as an example to spare US citizens from further political madness.

Rubén Rivero Capriles, Rivero & Cooper, Inc.

Caracas, September 17, 2009

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