The repugnants have a buzzword. You can hear it spattered throughout Washington D.C. and in various state level legislatures. The buzzword in question is: access. Whenever they want to sound as if they are willing to actually take care of people they make statements along the lines of, “everyone will have access to.” It makes it appear as if they care and that they are genuinely going to work to provide for those whom they have been elected to serve. All the while they are concealing their true intent.
Today while watching a clip of Senator Sanders questioning Senator Tom Price about how he will act in the position of H.H.S. Secretary the buzzword raised its ugly head. As they discussed drug prices in this country the buzzword made an appearance. Mr. Price stated that he would ensure that everyone had “access” to the medications that they need. Sanders then continued with his questioning about healthcare and asked whether or not healthcare was a right simply because a person was an American. Again Mr. Price tossed out the word access by stating that he would work to ensure that everyone had access.
Sanders’ response was what really started me thinking about that word. He came back with a quip, “I have access to buying a 10 million dollar home, but I don’t have the money to do that.” Just because someone has access to something doesn’t mean they can actually afford to act upon that access. That is the reality of the word access. A reality that was summed up in a single sentence tucked into a round of questioning for the potential cabinet members.
My personal reality is that I have access to a great many things, just as anyone does. Access is open for a trip to some of the most beautiful destinations in the United States or world. I have access to resorts and hotels. I have access to exquisite cuisine in some of the finest restaurants. Access is wide open to stores where a single shirt would cost just a mere $1,000. However, I don’t exactly have the money to take advantage to that access. We all have access, but whether or not we can act upon that access is a completely different animal.
I don’t begrudge anyone that I don’t have the money to do any of those things. My financial situation is based upon the career I have chosen and the life I live. I am not angry about the fact that I can’t actually afford to go dine in a upscale restaurant and face the $500 price tag for the evening. I don’t write from a place of hostility over my lack of means. Let’s face it, most of us can’t actually afford those things on a regular basis. We might be able to splurge for a vacation of a lifetime after years of saving or we might be able to add that extra bit of luxury to a car as we justify the few dollars more a month in the payment. But generally we are tied to average lives within our means.
What I do begrudge, however, is that the repugnants and their Tangerine-elect have developed a master skill at throwing around that word access as if it were a badge of honor. They see themselves as somehow redeemed in the eyes of the world if they state that everyone has access to something. Just as long as that access is on their terms. Look at health care. For the last eight years they have been fighting tooth and nail to repeal the ACA. Each and every time promising that they would put something in its place that would grant access to everyone. But if you are paying attention you catch on to the fact that doesn’t mean that everyone will actually be covered or taken care of by this new plan.
All you have to do is sit and watch the repugnants speak for any period of time. You will start to hear that word jump out at you. DeVos is declaring that she wants to ensure that parents have access to school choice. Price wants to make sure that people have access to health care. Ryan has stated multiple times that he wants to allow seniors to have choice and access to quality health care by privatizing Medicare. The reality is that they don’t want to ensure that everyone actually has those things, they only want to make sure they have access to them.
Sadly people have fallen for this rhetoric. They are often left shocked when they find themselves unable to take advantage of the access provided. Faith is lost when a person realizes they ended up with the short end of the stick. They feel the fool for believing the lies, when in fact, they were simply misled.
Personally I think it’s time for the public to start reminding these politicians that we don’t want access. We want substance. We want to hear detailed descriptions of what the palpable outcomes will be when they make a promise. The next time a politician gives an answer guaranteeing access, we need to call them on it. What kind of access? Will this be something I can afford or is this simply another one of your rhetorical situations?