You know, George Carlin once said “My job is to think up goofy shit”. I loved George, and I miss him. Now more than ever. I could use some “goofy shit” in my life, because the obvious facts are just so depressing. I think the problem is that I spend too much time wondering where the America I dreamed of as a kid has gone.
My Dad worked for AT&T, back when they WERE the phone company. And in the late 60’s, he told me about the “visiphone” that would be out within 10 years. You know, where you can SEE who you’re talking to. But he died before it came to be – about 10 years before, and almost 30 years after he told me about it. Can you believe, they had the idea and the beginnings of a way to do it 40 years before it came to fruition – and not by a telecommunications giant, but by a computer company.
And as Labor Day passed, I was reminded of Jerry Lewis, and the Muscular Dystrophy Telethon – and how, after all those years of giving, they just threw him aside – like an old piece of luggage. I believe the reason was that he just “wasn’t the right image” for their cause anymore.
And this got me thinking – about Cancer, MD, MS, and others. About all the money that’s been pumped into these “charities” over the years – at least 50 years that I can account for. And what do we have to show for all that time and money? Nothing near what I would have expected. And I ask myself – is the problem too difficult for America (or the rest of the world for that matter)? And the answer I came up with was “Hell No!”
In a world where we could harness the atom, finding a cure (or an answer why there isn’t one) can’t be THAT difficult. But it is. Just as finding alternative fuel sources is. Just as much as any major world issue is – when the treatment is more profitable than the cure. Have you ever asked yourself – when you donate to the Cancer Society, MS, MD or and of the other charities that do research – where is that money spent?
Are you like I used to be, and just picture some huge research facility, with doctors and technicians in white lab coats working endlessly to find a cure? Well, I’ve got a new picture for you – imagine a room with men in Brooks Brothers suits, working to figure out how to profit from your loved one’s misery. The last thing they want is a cure – what they want is a large variety of treatments that THEY provide, at a huge mark-up, all in the name of “discovery”. They ARE the Pharmaceutical Industry.
You see, they use all the “public” research and information that you fund with your “charitable donation” and develop medications to “treat” the problem. Not cure it mind you, that wouldn’t be in the best interests of the “stockholders”. Nope, just expensive treatments that make it LOOK like they’re making progress. All thanks to you, the donor.
Back in the 50’s and 60’s, America had a dream – men and women had fought and died for it – the dream of living in a world mostly free of disease, with everyone having at least the basic of needs (food, water, shelter) to ensure that we never had to go to war again. Unfortunately, as Eisenhower predicted, people realized that war meant profits (most recently, Haliburton). And that’s when everyone jumped on the bandwagon. The war on drugs, the war on disease, even the war on poverty means that someone is lining their pockets at the expense of others.
Now, as Americans, we can put an end to these “wars”. We did it with Vietnam, and we can do it again. But it’s going to take a lot of work, and I’m sad to say that I don’t think today’s apathetic America is up to the task. Which really is a shame, because I’d love to see a cure for cancer, MD, MS and others in my lifetime, just as we were promised way back when…