Henry Rollins: America Is Not Designed to Be a Nation of Healthy People
Heidi May

Henry Rollins: America Is Not Designed to Be a Nation of Healthy People

President Obama tried to get his fellow citizens access to affordable insurance and to be part of a health care system. Obviously, that wasn’t what his many opponents had in mind. After a sustained, multiyear effort, it looks as if they will finally be able to put into action the much better plan they have no doubt spent countless hours crafting, to make things extra excellent because they love us all so much.

Paul Ryan’s plan is meeting resistance from a lot of places, perhaps some even he didn’t anticipate.

Anything with numbers and charts quickly goes over my head. It has always been this way. To try to get an understanding of governmental maneuverings in the USA, I always look at the country’s history and its streets instead.

When you look at how the country was founded and quickly rose to top global shot-caller, it is easy to see that there is not going to be a health care system that will deliver on the promises of any president. It would be bad public relations for the slightly nicer Spicer to tell the press corps the truth about health care — that no matter what bills are passed, America is simply not designed for a great majority of the population to be healthy.

It sucks that the entire economy is based on dependency, financial insecurity, lifelong debt, incarceration, prolonged global conflicts, bad health, poor personal care and lethal foodstuffs. Remember what all those beansprout eaters were called decades ago? Health food freaks. That’s the gastrointestinal equivalent of “Looks like we got ourselves a reader ...”

If America really wanted to lower the cost of health care, it wouldn’t be cheap and it wouldn’t be overnight, but it is possible. It would take a generation or two, but it would be possible to wean the citizens off diets that are hard on the body and give little in return. Michelle Obama tried. Sarah Palin called it a “war on dessert.”

Nothing in this country is easy, besides things like falling into credit card debt or ending up in prison. Good food is expensive. It is, in fact, out of the price range of many families clinging tenaciously to the lower rungs of the middle class. Cheap food is plentiful, but it’s cheap for a reason.

The pharmaceutical industry doesn’t make its profits on health, just as weapon manufacturers don’t earn their keep when there’s an outbreak of peace. A lot has changed since the days of landed gentry, indentured servants and slaves, but a lot hasn’t. Health care, like justice, is for those who can pay for a favorable outcome, at least for now. Everyone else will ride the wild.

Humans, for all their admirable traits and abilities, are one of the least suited species for life anywhere on the planet. There is not one square mile on Earth where humans could live in relative comfort, by Western standards, without a lot of help.

Homo sapiens is the ultimate anti-nature species. We battle it on every possible front. We redirect rivers and chemically induce soil into artificial states of fertility to accommodate an animal that seemingly has no concern for sustainability.

Nature has it wired. Cancer, plague, viruses, parasites and other grotesque, microscopic killers are there to thin the herd. Of course we fight back. This being the case — along with other factors such as our inability to always play well with others — not everyone is going to have a long, healthy life.

American capitalism is a blade. It’s going to disembowel someone. On a good day, it’s not you.

Ironically, it’s the Republicans who see this most clearly. But they lack the spine to tell their supporters that, for many of them, it’s going to be a needlessly painful ride, rife with purposeful inefficiency and swollen costs, usually reserved for, you know, those people.

President Obama’s plan, called “a disaster” by comrade Trump, was offensive to those who profit from the poor health and diet plans that everything from tradition to poverty to ignorance encourages.

I figure that any health care plan that can truly serve vast amounts of people in America isn’t in the cards. It would have surfaced decades ago.

Living in this country is like having a wolf for a roommate. It’s beautiful but it’s not your friend. You cannot convince me that I will receive one penny back from what I paid into the “safety net.” I simply do not believe it. There is no evidence you can show me that the government will keep its word. I’m not mad about it; I just know who I keep company with and always plan for bad weather.

America’s government wields a big stick, but not as big as the ones held by the corporations who eat its lunch on a daily basis. Your elected officials, whether you like them or want to see them gone yesterday, serve these titans of industry first. You and I live in the spin. This is why most politicians will rarely give a straight answer to a direct question.

I don’t enjoy America. I survive it as best I can. I get my health care at the grocery store and in the gym. It is as much what I do as what I don’t.

Freedom is a tricky motherfucker. In a game that has been rigged from the very beginning, to not factor in the inherent risk of living in a coast-to-coast, for-profit environment is just plain bad planning.

You don’t hear me whining about the harshness of it all. I’m not trying to be insensitive but since I was in my early 20s, I fully understood what was up. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else but I don’t have any illusions about how the sausage is made.

America is full of nice people. You will find them in every single state. Generous, decent beyond all measure. America just isn’t a very nice place.

Look for your weekly fix from the one and only Henry Rollins right here every Thursday, and come back tomorrow for the playlist for his Sunday KCRW broadcast.


More from the mind of Henry Rollins:
White America Couldn't Handle What Black America Deals With Every Day
Bowie's Blackstar Is on the Level of Low and Heroes
No Matter Who Wins, America Is Only Going to Get Angrier

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