I Got Mine

Drum, firing off a spicy little morning rant against an editorial in the LA Times in which its author, L.J. Williamson, whines about part-time cafeteria workers in Los Angeles schools who have the temerity to want the district to provide them with healthcare benefits, says he would "happily pay for universal healthcare just so I never had to read an op-ed like this again."

It's not that Williamson doesn't have a point, it's just that this beggar-thy-neighbor attitude is enough to make me retch, and I see it all the time. I don't get dental coverage, so why should grocery workers? My copay went up last year, so why shouldn't everyone else's? I don't pay for healthcare for my housecleaners, so why should I pay it for school cafeteria workers? Our wretched private healthcare system has turned us into a nation of spiteful and small-minded misanthropes.

…[T]heir annoyance would be better directed … at the mahogany row executives and conservative politicians who pretend that the only possible use for the mountains of cash generated by decades of economic growth is to give it all to mahogany row executives and the billionaires who contribute to conservative politicians.
Spot fucking on. But instead, we see workers turning their ire on one another, with the despicable underlying attitude that "everyone else only deserve as much as I've got and no more." We see workers who would rather see other people denied a benefit they don't have than see as many benefits extended to as many people as possible.

And, worse yet, we constantly hear Social Darwinists with great benefits pontificating about how workers in crap jobs with crap benefits are only getting what they deserve—and if they want better, they should work harder. Because it's just oh-so-easy to say that people deserve what they get once "I got mine." And once "I got mine," then it becomes all about protecting "me and mine"—and oh what an extraordinary capacity the Social Darwinists have for suffering all manner of indignity being imposed upon others to preserve themselves.

Sending other people to fight and possibly die in a war of choice is fine. Wiretapping other people without a warrant is fine. Holding other people indefinitely without access to an attorney or due process is fine. Torturing other people is fine. Maligning other people for dissent is fine. Cutting federal funding for programs that benefit other people is fine. Rewarding corporations for moving jobs filled by other people offshore is fine. Using other people as a wedge issue is fine. Denying bodily autonomy to other people is fine. Disenfranchising other voters is fine. Destroying the environment for other generations is fine. Letting the infrastructure rot in other places is fine. It's all just fine and fucking dandy as long as it's not being done to me and mine, and you tell me it's keeping me and mine safe.

What generous souls, to sacrifice the rest of us for their zero-sum American Dream, in which one's success is contingent upon others failing—or, at minimum, having less. But who cares about those losers? I got mine.

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