Edith Rodriquez, 42, died in a hospital, writhing in agony on the floor of the waiting room at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital. For 45 minutes this woman lie dying as passer-bys called 911 on their cell-phones, complaining that the hospital staff would do nothing for her as she vomited blood on the floor. The hospital maintenance team made sure that the bloodied vomit was cleaned from around her, but the woman was another matter. The staff just let her die for no other reason than that she couldn’t speak English and maybe that the people with her did not have enough clout to get her treatment.
This is not just another tragic story of crossed communications; it is another story of murder by class. Edith was Hispanic, overweight, and the people with her couldn’t speak the language that they were “supposed” to speak. If she would have been a white woman, accompanied by a man in a business suit that spoke the Queen’s English, I can just about guarantee that Edith would still be alive today. Even if she had died, she would not have died on the hospital floor, she would have died on an operating room table or a hospital bed recovering from surgery, but the floor? Not a chance. The waiting room floor is reserved for immigrants and poor people. 911 wouldn’t even act on the call because she was already at the hospital. (Oh those crazy Chicanos’, they just can’t get it right).
This is about Edith, bless her soul, but it isn’t just about Edith. It’s about all of the people that die before their time from lack of medical care or from just plain poverty right here in the United States of America. This America in the 21st Century has two classes of people that live inside its borders, the people that matter and the people that don’t really matter at all. I’m one of the people that don’t matter at all. Most of my friends don’t really matter; in fact most people in this country really don’t really matter at all. The only time we matter to anyone that runs this country is when we don’t pay our taxes, or we don’t pay our fines or when we break the law, or when we rock the boat. Otherwise, we are just props for their world. Game pieces that they can move around. Statistics that they can use to back up their latest money making scheme.
I’m so sick of the way this whole country is going. Shows like “Survivor” and “The Apprentice” revile in how to be a scheming ball-buster of a human being, readying the world to accept what the “ruling” class will dish out to us serfs because somehow they have become the “winners” in this game that we call life. I don’t look at these people as the “winners”. I look at these blood-suckers for what they are, parasites that suck out all the goodness and hope from life so that they can fuel their private jets and their limousines, This generation that I see that are growing up watching and rooting for the biggest cutthroat, will be the same ones that cry foul when they enter adult life and find that their work and ideas have been stolen by people that will only pay a dime for a dollar.
The fact that Congress can’t pass a minimum wage increase is proof to all that our government has failed us miserably. I’m not talking about a welfare state here. I’m talking about a dime for a dollar. If I go to work I want to be paid a living wage. If I get sick I demand medical care for both myself and my family! I won’t accept my mother dying on the floor of an emergency room while the janitors clean the blood around her! The people responsible for this should face criminal charges! The people that let companies take benefits from their employees while they pay their executives hundreds of millions of dollars while at the same time their companies are losing money, and they go to their workers and tell them that they cannot afford pay raises.
During all of this, Americans have turned their back on the Unions because they have done nothing but lick the boots of this class of elites’. People that are making a mere pittance of what their parents made, adjusting for inflation, think that they are still living in the land of plenty. This sure is the land of plenty. Plenty of abuse from the credit card companies that charge usurious rates for a late or missed payment. Plenty of foreclosures from banks that let poor people think they have reached the dream of home ownership while after a few years the banks “adjust” their mortgages to 10% above the impossible so that their houses may lay “fallow” until the housing market picks up.
So many Americans think that they are living the “good” life while in reality the good life is certainly not reflected in American wages that have dropped over 8% in the last decade. Just who the hell do they think they are kidding? Americans work more hours than any other industrialized country in the world! Listening to the corporate owned media, they would have you believing that is some kind of virtue! Meanwhile schools and parents toss the blame of kids not getting enough supervision at each other because mom and pop are both working 60 hours each to put food on the table. This so that they can get them the latest plasma screen TV and pay for the kids’ cell phone bills. Meanwhile the stores are actually pushing credit on families that are overburdened and under paid and the cycle goes out of control. It’s now almost impossible to go bankrupt; our loving Congress has fixed it so that the credit card companies don’t get hurt. About the only way to get a fresh start in this country is to sell everything you’ve got and move somewhere else.
Meanwhile the mainstream media glorifies the people that have got it all as if they were some kind of new royalty. Will Paris go to jail? Good. While they are at it, they can take every one of these spoiled snot-nosed kids and put them in with her. That won’t happen though because there is a two-tiered legal system in this country, one kind of justice for the rich, and one kind of justice for the poor. With the rich, they get a lawyer, go through a bail hearing, get out on bail, and fight the courts while they sleep at home every night. For the poor, its jail, maybe bail. They go to court and the judge tells them to accept what he gives them and avoid a trial where or he will hit them with the maximum. A legal aid worker that’s underpaid and barely staffed tells that person to take what the judge gives them because it won’t get any better if they go to trial. They then take “the deal” and they go on probation or go to jail. Don’t tell me that this isn’t what happens; I have seen it happen more than a few times. If you are poor in this country, you are guilty until proven innocent; “Law and Order” is a fictional show on TV. Paris just decided to push the limit and they made an example out of her. Just because she went to jail, the court system feels sanctified for another few years.
Can I prove this? I sure can. Look at Amnesty International. We have more people in jail for non-violent crimes than any other nation on this planet! It’s all a con game. Every state, because of this wonderful War on Crime, gets Federal dollars for every day a person is held in County jails. The more people in jail, the more money the Counties make. The same goes for State Penitentiaries. The top industry in Florida isn’t their tourist industry or their citrus crops; it’s their prison system, same for Texas and Michigan.
This country is thriving on the backs of the working class. Meanwhile we are dying on the waiting room floors in hospitals, dying in prisons, dying in the deserts of the Middle East, all so the rich can get richer. The system is broken, the top 10% of Americans control 90% of the wealth, and it’s getting worse. Cuba has a better health system than we do. Almost every industrialized nation in the world has national health care. Meanwhile, these things never seem to be resolved. The same promises are given by every presidential candidate since I was old enough to understand; national healthcare, better wages, more prosperity and a government that listens, but they never come through.
Edith Rodriquez will be remembered for a few short days until another story comes along. You can bet however, that the news media won’t be banging their heads against the wall trying to find out how many more Edith Rodriquez’s there are out there. Meanwhile, life will go on, everyone pushed to the limit so that we can buy the latest “People” magazine to see what kind of new digs Tom and Katie will move into. This is class warfare, and I’ll bet you didn’t even know you were a part of it.