Friday, March 26, 2010

En elevs perspektiv... A student's perspective

3 uger siden fik min elev en opgave fra mig i forbindelse med John Steinbecks The Grapes of Wrath, som vi læser sammen nu. Deres opgave står her:

(Det er vigtigt at du forstår deres opgave før du læse hendes brev...)

3 weeks ago one of my classes had an assignment from me in connection to our study of John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath which we are currently reading. Their assignment is explained here:

(It's important to understand the assignment before you read the letter below...)

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Jeg blev færdig med deres opgaver få dage efter Obamas sygesykring plan var valgt på.... Så mine elever skrev med det håb af alle ting som hans plan kunne gøre.... MEN efter alle kommenter denne uge, spurgte jeg en af min elev hvis jeg kunne bruge sin opgave på min blog... Så alle kan læse en 18 årlig dansk elevs perspektiv om det..... Jeg tror at hun udtrykker sig selv godt og sin besked er meget provokerende.....

I finished reading and editing all of the assignments just a few days after Obama's healthcare bill passed... So remember, my students were writing these assignments with the HOPE of what the bill COULD do.... But after all the discussion and comments this week, I decided to ask one of my students if I could use her paper on the blog.... so we all could read the perspective of an 18 year old Dane about this issue.... I believe she expressed herself incredibly well and that her message is quite provocative...

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Being a big spender or surrender to/for the society?


To me it’s a mystery how the American population is handling Barack Obama’s healthcare package. First they’re happy about it, but when they find out that they are going to pay a bit more in taxes, they go berserk and start demonstrating. Are you people just too selfish to pay a little part of your own salary each month to make sure everyone has the opportunity to have surgery if they need it? Is that just too much to ask? So do you think that if a person is poor he actually doesn’t have the same rights as you do; he isn’t good enough because he is making less money than you? Is it fair that the rich people get the goods and the poor get… NOTHING?

The healthcare package which Barack Obama has tried to introduce to America has been thrown away by the population of the United States[1].

Oh yeah, they believe that God has to decide who dies and who lives. So if you’re in great pain for several months or even years before you die, you will find comfort in that, and forget all the pain because you know that God has a purpose in this. What kind of blasphemy is that, to blame God for your lack of insurance? This picture proves my point exactly. Look at the man sitting next to this woman. When he gets ever fatter than he is in this picture and the lady by his side has to take care of him with no help from the government, then will she just stand there and look him dead in the eyes and tell him that this is God’s work and that there is nothing to do about it? I don’t think so. The problem is that people don’t think of anyone but themselves and if it turns out that they’re okay, then why help others?

‘Preachin’ is tellin’ folks stuff. I’m askin’ ‘em. That ain’t preachin[2].- I guess that is the case: If you want progress, you’ll have to tell people what the consequences are and ask them what they would do if they were the ones without insurance, if they were the ones to see their children suffer from tuberculoses, just watch them die slowly, not being able to help them because of the fact that; they do not have insurance because they live in poverty. Then ask them if that would be fair. Who is going to ask the American people this question, to make them listen?

I can’t stay here no more, I got to go where the folks is goin’. I’ll work in the fiel’s, an’ maybe I’ll be happy”[3] This is what the preacher Jim Casy says, when he and Tom get to Tom’s old house, where they find all of the houses empty. First of all, they’ll have to leave plus they have to leave and go where everybody else goes. Then what will happen? Maybe you’ll be happy? Well, you might not be. The thing with society today and back in the 1930s in America is that there was no help to get, and there was nowhere to go, but with the steam. Nobody knew what they were going to see, when they came to the Promised Land. They just hoped.

It’s the same case with the rescue workers that Michael Moore is taking to Cuba to help them get medical help. They hope to get help, but it’s a dangerous journey that includes the possibility of getting blown up by mines. That is the risk they’ll have to take and they are willing to do it. This just shows how much the welfare is needed in America- both now and then. In the 1930s they had to move from their homes, they had to leave everything behind and just go to the Promised Land and hope for something better, even though the journey was long and in some cases did cost lives.

‘A good compromise, a good piece of legislation, is like a good sentence; or a good piece of music. Everybody can recognize it. They say, 'Huh. It works. It makes sense.'[4] – This is a quote by Barack Obama himself. He expected the American population to accept this proposal of healthcare and welfare, but it wasn’t going to turn out the way he thought, unfortunately. The people have elected the president themselves because they thought he was the person who could do the best for the whole country, but when it comes to giving up some of their money, they just ban and shut out what is going on around them and start grumbling and protesting.

As I said in the beginning, this situation and attitude from the people in the U.S.A. is a mystery to me. Are we going to keep on being this selfish and just look away if/when something terrible happens? I think the American people need a wakeup call, and if Michael Moore’s SiCKO didn’t work for everyone, then the media, the news, the newspapers and every factor in the government has to take action and convince these people, that welfare contains healthcare – No matter the cost!

[1] last visited on March 2th at 3.18 pm

[2] Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath 1939 p. 122 l. 4-5

[3] Steinbeck, John. The Grapes of Wrath 1939 p. 121 l. 18-19

[4] last visited on March 2th at 6.54 pm


Caution/Lisa said...

I don't necessarily agree with your student, but I do like the assignment very much. I love the way you teach!

United Studies said...

Very interesting, and I know what Danes feel about it all, because I'm married to one! However, even Peter doesn't agree with this health care bill, so that should tell you something.

However, one note. I don't think those in other countries understand how corrupt our government is. I firmly believe that the government should help the poor with expanded Medicaid coverage. However, we cannot trust the government to spend our tax dollars wisely, so I am always cautious about tax increases. For every $1 that would go to Medicaid coverage, $3 would go to earmarks!

Kevin said...

Wow. Well said. I'm impressed.

LadyFi said...

I agree with your student - which is why I live in Sweden.

Although the health care reform is not perfect and perhaps money should go more directly to the poor, I really do believe that one of the stumbling blocks is people's attitudes as described by your student: I'm OK Jack.. so I don't care about you.

I also think it is hypocrisy that no one protests the huge amounts of money going to war and war efforts, yet no one is willing to pay for health...

Skogkjerring said...

Very well written, we could learn a lot from the younger generation...I hope when it's their turn to run things we haven't left such a huge mess they'll never be able to fix....

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I think that people are looking at this from the wrong perspective. They're looking from the bottom up, ie the "I don't want to pay for people who are too lazy to contribute".

How about looking from the top down? The cost of the wars that the US is involved in have cost over 976,000,000,000 since 2001. And there's an arguable chance that had the US handled the aftermath of 9/11 in a different manner, those costs would be much, much less.

The US Healthcare Bill will cost 940,000,000,000. I know what I'd rather see those large amounts contributed to.

So, instead of blaming "the neighbour" for being lazy, and not contributing, how about blaming the previous powers that were in the US, that have spent way too much on unnecessary causes.

Mandy said...

As an American (born and raised) living here in America, I totally agree with this post 100%. I love your blog because your post always hit's the nail on the head on topics like this :)!

Lars said...

It's raining on a Sunday so I decided to start reading your blog from the bottom 'n up and came to this.

That is one brave and smart student you had there. I hope she'll go on to do great things.

Had I read this earlier today it would have helped me in my debate with your mom. I hope she's not too upset with me ;-)