Monday, November 1, 2010

Can we talk about Mary Harney for a minute? I'm really torn about this:

So Mary Harney is Ireland's Minister for Health and Children. Of course, it's a nation-wide joke that our Minister for Health looks about as healthy as Jabba the Hut. Now, as a feminist, I have a natural inclination to want to support women in politics. But politicians, well, they're politicians. As far as I can tell, Mary Harney seems to be one part robot and one part Orc. I mean, just look at her face. It's stoney and heartless. And that's pretty much how she rolls. The proposed cuts on the Health Service Executive (HSE), which is how I have a medical card -- the only way I have access to any health care at all -- are between 600 million and 1 billion euro. (For American readers, 600 mil is like 834 million dollars.)

Basically what's happening here in Ireland, as far as I can see, is that in trying to make fiscal ends meet, the government is trying to skimp on services from the bottom (the poor, the elderly, the disabled, the mentally ill, public sector workers) instead of demanding that the country's wealthy (and I mean wealthy, not middle class) pay more in taxes, or... any taxes. Mary Harney is essentially a demon right now as hospitals either close or are over-crowded with not enough staff.

So on one hand I think YEAH! I love the sight of Mary Harney, hands covered with the (symbolic) blood of people who will die from not receiving health services as a result of these cuts. But on the other hand, I'm just sad and discouraged. It's like eating that delicious chocolate eclair -- it feels good, but is it ultimately good for us? Will Mary Harney, or anyone else for that matter, suddenly come around because she was attacked with red paint? From today's interviews on the radio and online, it only seems to have made her feel all the more that it's ok to discount her critics. And I think god, how degrading it all is.

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