Aren’t there really three certainties in life…?
Besides Death and Taxes, there’s When-You’ve-Got-It-Flaunt-It. America has no landed aristocracy to set the standard, so how and how much we spend our cash has become the unofficial standard. But if this be true, you’ll be amazed when you scan the national ledger.
Americans spend $203 billion each year on entertainment. Movies, television, theater, symphonies, concerts, Netflix, streaming etc. A figure that seems neutral enough until you check the ledger to find that’s virtually the same the nation invests in health-care each year. New hospitals, new equipment, new staff, new research etc.
Entertainment is modern society’s icing on the cake, but the cake itself is still our capacity to live a healthy life. Front seat tickets to a Broadway hit or a McCartney concert are great, but not hardly indispensable. Say like that new MRI or vaccine or surgeon can be to save the life of someone you love.
The point here is obvious. Priorities.
Try this test. Track the week’s news reports to compare the number of interviews with the doctors and nurses who just saved more than a dozen lives in last night’s local ERs with the number of interviews with the film and rock celebrities who breezed through town on their PR tour. OK, OK, you can feel my bias! But consider why, for heaven’s sake, the million-dollar pop star gets the klieg lights [and at the end of the year gets the national television awards program] when these under-paid, over-worked ambulance drivers and interns get…well, maybe a family member sometime actually comes back to thank them.
Has society publicly thanked them…? Have you…? I ask only because I have. And I can sadly say their utter surprise was no surprise to me. What’s wrong with us?
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