I am going back on my word. Somewhat.
I said in my 19 April 2020 post “My Last Post” that I was not going to write about the coronavirus pandemic anymore. However, I read a NewsOne article highly critical of political commentator and former presidential advisor to former President Barack Obama, Van Jones (pictured above) for saying the following with regard to why the coronavirus pandemic and the disease that the virus causes, COVID-19, is hitting the black community harder than other Americans:
Black people must take more responsibility for the health disparities in the Black community. Diseases like hypertension, diabetes, asthma and obesity make the virus far more deadly. And African American communities have those illnesses in numbers that are way out of proportion. Black people are more likely to have these underlying health conditions; Black people tend to work challenging jobs that pay less and offer worse health insurance. That’s a recipe for bad health right there.Van Jones (in CNN op-ed)
You can read the rest of the NewsOne piece at the link below:
My only quibble with what Jones said is that I take exception to the term “black community”. I won’t delve too far into why this term is problematic, but it implies that there are homogeneous, monolithic enclaves in American society that have problems unique to them based on skin tone. It is a disingenuous way to support a victimology narrative.
That said, three thoughts…
Firstly, Van Jones is not wrong in his assessment. In fact, I find his commentary quite illuminating. Far too many people in this country are vehemently opposed to the truth and even more opposed to being told they have to take responsibility for things in their lives. People simply do not take responsibility for their health in this country. Again, my only problem with his statement is that poor health is not unique to black Americans. For that matter, poor health is not unique to low-income Americans.
Perfect segue to my next point…
Secondly, for those still confused about why free healthcare is a central issue in this country, one of the major reasons why is that many Americans want the freedom to eat garbage, consume massive amounts of alcohol, lead sedentary lives in front of the television, throw caution into the wind in their sex lives, and be protected from the consequences of their lifestyles with “free” healthcare (hint, hint: free healthcare is not free).
Lastly, the underlying conditions that Van Jones mentions that make COVID-19 deadly instead of merely inconvenient and uncomfortable (diabetes, obesity, and hypertension) are completely preventable and reversible through lifestyle changes. The exception is asthma which can have genetic causes or develop as a result of occupational hazards.
My family has a history of diabetes and hypertension. At age 50, I do not have these issues because I took responsibility for what I put into my body and I endeavor to take care of myself. In other words, I practice positive freedom. Positive freedom is the freedom to control and direct one’s own life. Positive freedom allows a man to consciously make his own choices, create his own purpose, and shape his own life; he acts instead of being acted upon.
Point being, no one is going to look out for your health better than YOU. This is all Van Jones is saying.
-The Rational Ram