United States Healthcare and the Public Option

Abron Toure By Abron Toure, 25th Jun 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Politics

Learn how much the Public Option means to U S Healthcare. Learn what is a Camelot cycle.

Will America Find Its Holy Grail in a Healthcare System for All?

In Search of the Holy Grail: Has America Lost Its Will to Resurrect Camelot

“I can’t remembered if I cried . . . When I read about his widowed bride. . . But something touched me deep inside . . . The day the music died. So bye-bye, miss American pie. . . Drove my Chevy to the levee, but the levee was dry. . . ."

The above Lyrics are taken from one of the most profound and prophetic songs of our times the 1971 classic by Don McLean, “Bye-bye Miss American Pie”.

What is Camelot? When most people hear the word Camelot they think about 12th century medieval mythology, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. It speaks of a realm governed by a noble king with progressive and lofty ideals. A kingdom governed by justice and equality where the rule of the day is honor and nobility. It is a place where the strong protect the weak; a place where the concept of chivalry was born. There have been many attempts to locate the real Camelot on the isle of Great Britain. Yet most scholars regarding the subject agree Camelot is a fictional place drawn up in the minds of poets to teach us certain values, the most basic being that it is incumbent upon a civilized society to reach for high principles in order to make a people great.

Camelot speaks directly to this. The fable uses the lives of it characters by emphasizing great leadership. The promise is that true statesmanship evolves for the better and works for the advancement of the citizenry towards what some might say is a more perfect union. It speaks to victory over selfishness and what happens when the kingdom succumbs to corruption. When the people are betrayed by its nobility or sovereign, so evil and great is such a sin that only the purest form of sacrifice is able to redeem the society from damnation. Nowhere was this more obvious than in the symbolism behind the search for the Holy Grail.

The concepts around the search for the Grail are no less significant than the parables, imagery and ideals surrounding the stories about the rise and fall of Camelot. The one is not complete without the other. In addition, just as significant as the symbolism of Camelot and the search for the Holy Grail, was what they intended to do once it was found. The objective was to use the Grail to heal the land.

It is interesting the author uses the term “land” in an all-inclusive sense. One such quote: “A king without a sword is like the land without a king.” The poetic reference to the word land in this phrase rises to an inspiring context similar to the word sword. There is flexibility. The word sword can be taken literally yet the significance is more in line with the phrase: “The pen is mightier than the sword”. The poetic context is for certain the more appropriate. Having broached the subject as to what is required to cure the land, in this case: the Holy Grail. It would be remiss not to mention what constitutes the illness and to elaborate on the land being the patient in need of the cure.

Therefore, stated plainly, to say that the land needs healing is a powerful declaration, because it leaves nothing out. The implication is that everything and anything is tainted by corruption when the leadership falls from grace, and everything finds itself a tool of evil or under the spell of corruption. Generally, the diminution of the morals of a society is evolutionary and takes place in cycles and over many generations. The interesting thing about Camelot is that the birth of the great society, its destruction and resurrection or redemption with the finding of the Holy Grail--the full cycle--is accomplished during the span of one generation. I suspect this is the author’s prerogative.

Considering this complete cycle with the same characters helps us understand the importance of not what we were but what we can become. It becomes a lesson as to how we can cyclically fall from grace and what is needed to repent. For example, when considering the impact of greed, hypocrisy and vanity, the Grail is not that which is behind us. We need not look back! We need only look ahead. We need good leadership to place our feet on the righteous path. This is why the statement was made, “There is no greater evil (than) when the people are betrayed by its leaders (sic)”. As a result, the entire land becomes corrupted. Thus there is more merit in a society where the leaders are in fear of the people, rather than the people being in fear of their leaders.

The Holy Grail is larger than life. So the figures who are drafted to resurrect its powers must also be larger than life. Is it a wonder the story of Camelot is filled with strong spiritual characters like the courageous and reverend Sir Lancelot; the virtuous Sir Galahad; someone as determined as Parsifal; having a wise spiritual leader behind the throne worthy of the title "Wizard" like Merlin; having a symbol of beauty and loyalty with the stateliness of Queen Guinevere; and last but not least the beneficent leader of them all, the altruistic and noble visionary King Arthur with his infamous sword Excalibur, the sword symbolizing his military strength wrapped in righteousness that afforded him countless victories in the fight for good against evil.

So when such a realm as Camelot becomes victim to corruption at every level it takes a herculean effort to pull it out of the mire and place it back on the righteous path. The quest for the Holy Grail is the emblem for such a monumental task and redemption is its ultimate ambition. Is it any wonder to guess at the true nature and powerful significance of where the Grail gets such moral authority? Its roots are traced back to the most unimpeachable source western society depends upon?

As a result, portions of the Holy Grail story have their origin derived from the cup Christ drank from at the last Supper. The wine cup is at the heart of the transubstantiation account, the changing of wine into the blood of Christ, being the ultimate representation of redemptive power by which the whole of humankind was given a second chance at life. The cast of characters are indeed a powerful lot: Jesus the Christ as King; Mary Magdalene a pictogram of beauty and loyalty; Peter, the first to draw his sword in battle; Matthew, a redeemed tax collector; Mark, an educator; Luke, a healer; and John, innocent but wise. Again, excellent leadership is key, and the idea of incorruptibility is at its core.

Well, there wouldn’t be a point to the story if it didn’t have a moral to it with a contemporary analogy. There may be many, but let’s start with an era in American history so many have thought is a parallel to the Camelot story, the Kennedy Administration. The thought still remains that we might look at this specific time period as the rise and fall of a Camelot cycle or the advent of an end to such a stage here in the United States. This also brings us somewhat full-circle to our title and the opening lyrics of Don McLean, “Bye-bye Miss American Pie”. There is the obvious inference that the assassination of John F. Kennedy, on November 22, 1963, was the result of something sinister which had happened to the psyche of the country. The song writer describes it as the day the music died. In some sense it was the end of innocence, the end of Camelot.

There are two points to be made here. The first is to identify and reference a point in American history which most have equated to the Camelot concept. The second is to briefly make reference to the leadership at the time to address any issues of a standard and whether or not those in power rose to the level or at least resemble the Arthurian characters. I suspect to compare the Kennedy administration to Christ and the twelve apostles would not only be a stretch but many may find offensive so we won’t go there. Just as a reminder, here is the cast of a few of those characters: President, John F. Kennedy, Jacquelyn Bouvier Kennedy, the First Lady; Vice President, Lyndon B. Johnson; Secretary of State, Dean Rusk; Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy; Secretary of Defense, Robert S. McNamara; and for the wise man behind the scene I’m going to go with Martin Luther King!

The Kennedy administration, as the song writer says, marks the end/beginning of a cycle. If we believe that since that time the country has been in a search for the Grail, the question we need to ask ourselves is: how does the land need curing? Which leads us to a contemporary rant or a bit of social commentary. So here is a stab at the ills. In the American tradition, to equate the concept of promoting the social welfare with socialism is dishonest and at the least disingenuous. There are some things that were once and should always be non profit. For example, the idea of a public health care system is not socialism but is rather an attempt by its proponents to take the profit motive out of the process and bring it back into alignment with true American ideals. This doesn't mean that people in these industries or specifically the health professions should not make a good or even excellent living at what they do; what it means is that these industries can not deny services or conduct business under the umbrella of fraud, corruption or profit--which is business as usual. If the United Sates keeps on its current path with insurance companies dominating this business, the following is an analogy of what we have and will continue to get: can you envision the military, police forces or fire departments one day being run by privately held companies? Can you imagine these institutions where the decisions to respond to the public’s needs are based on the action taken or service provided, and whether it is profitable or not?

The above comments in no way advocate the dismantling of capitalism and the profit motive but those institutions and industries serving the public, like the Congress and especially the Senate, should be non-profit. Other industries that should fall under the non-profit genre are medicine, education, government, the military, the prison systems and religion--to name a few. I am not asking us to look back, but to look forward in the finest of American tradition. The Grail will grant the country life over death. Turn away from the crimes of the past and build a new future, one based on justice. Again, can you imagine the police department or the fire department deciding they are not going to serve a certain community because it is not profitable? Think hard; are were there yet? This should not be an option in any of these professions. Where is the magic that was once America? Where is the love?

This brings us to the current administration. We need to ask ourselves, do they meet the Arthurian litmus test? Here are the cast of characters: Barack Obama, President; Michelle Obama, First Lady; Joseph Biden, Vice President; Robert Gates, Secretary of Defense; Eric Holder, US Attorney General; Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State; and I am going to go with Bill Clinton or Ted Kennedy or John McCain as Barack Obama’s "wise man" Martin L. King (or Merlin) but I must admit the verdict is still out because such a talent has yet to really reveal him or herself. If this current administration can not bring us the Grail it saddens me knowing the American people have done their part to move us towards the resurrection of Camelot with the election of Barack Obama but has the leadership fallen short?

Here is the positive note: the American people have been consciously and unconsciously struggling to push back evil ever since the “Day the Music Died”. To a great extent the music has been subverted, but with the election of Barack Obama the American people have shown a hint of their resolve. Some might say the use of the word "hint" is not generous enough, but to put President Obama’s election as the first black man to hold the post in its proper perspective with the daunting task of finding the Holy Grail and the healing of the land, resulting in the resurrection of Camelot, then the word "hint" is not understating the relevance. It just puts in context how far we as people still need to go if Camelot is indeed going to be resurrected in this great country.

For here is the kicker: the American politician does not fear the people. This could not be more self-evident in the cavalier way in which government officials accept millions and millions of dollars which are no less than bribes, the height of corruption in the form of lobby money to do the contributor’s bidding, which is the greatest threat to the will of the people and undermining democracy as we know it.


Camelot, Holy Grail, Public Option, Us Healthcare

Meet the author

author avatar Abron Toure
Abron Toure has a BA in Philosophy, Brandeis, a BS in Chemical Engineering, Northeastern, MS Administration, Boston University. worked for Raytheon, Lam Research and Tokyo Electron Limited.

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