Oprah Care

Personally, I do not care for Oprah's show. We have completely different political views which make it impossible for me to be a fan. I used to occasionally have her show on in the background, but since she has become more blatant in pushing her political agenda while consistently using subtle techniques to express those views, I can't seem to tolerate it at all. Which is why I was so frustrated after watching 20 minutes of her show today. Flipping the channel can be very dangerous in this political climate.

But I was so curious after I saw she was interviewing women in other countries. They were sharing their views on consumerism, taxes, government, child care, health care, religion and happiness. I thought the interview with the women from Denmark was very interesting and infuriating at the same time. Of course, these women were hand picked because their feelings toward their way of life in Denmark lined up with Oprah's goal of the show which was to get American women thinking and hopefully believing that Socialistic governments are not in fact Socialistic but "civilized."

My intent is not to bash Oprah or mock her. Focusing on the content of her show today, here are my thoughts just a few hours after watching:

1. The women that were interviewed were very attractive, had nice homes, and the overall image was, "they have a great life."

2. Most of the women agreed that they don't need a lot of stuff or don't want it. Oprah thought this was just fabulous. I couldn't help but seeing the irony of that one. How many houses does Oprah have? How much stuff does she have personally?

3. Denmark has government run health care. The women said it was civilized to take care of the old and the poor. Can we not take care of the poor and the old with privatized health care? Can we not reform the current health care system to make it more affordable?

4. Most people think government run health care is free. In Denmark it is not free. You have to be in the working class to get government benefits. What if a stay-at-home mom prefers to stay at home and not go to work? Will she have the liberty to choose that lifestyle or will she be forced to enter the workforce to receive health care? How much will it cost if she is added to her husband's plan? These are all questions that need to be addressed and debated if the U.S. is going to follow suit, but our senators don't have time to read the 1,000+ page bill.

5. Denmark has free daycare for 1 year old children and up. The mark of Socialistic and Communistic governments is controlling education. By the time these kids are 5, they will have already been in a government run daycare and childcare for 4 years. I looked up the stats in Denmark and in the year 2000, 56% of 0-2 year old's were in government run daycares and 92% of 3-5 year old's were in nursery schools. The government is taking the place of the family.

6. Denmark has a progressive tax system where the people pay up to 60-68% of their income in taxes. Wow, and they think free education and health care is worth that?

7. The ladies from Denmark said they are known for being the happiest people in the world. Well, if Denmark is so happy and they have a Socialistic government than it only makes sense that America should turn away from our Capitalistic government for a more happy Socialistic one. The "pursuit of happiness" is no longer good enough; we need to guarantee the end result is happiness.

8. Sipping their coffee at an outdoor cafe, the group of ladies from Denmark said they are the least religious country. Their churches are empty. They do not believe in God.
Oprah asked several times, "Don't you believe in a higher being?"
The answer was still, "No."
"Well, maybe you do, you just don't realize it. It's more of a spiritual thing instead of a religious (one)..." Oprah trailed off.

Hmmm... Denmark, the happy, spiritual place of the world. No thanks, I still believe that America is the greatest country in the world with God as the highest authority in my life, then my family, then the government. That's my happy place.

Comments

  1. What's with the socialistic/capitalistic thing???
    1) They were not exceptionally attractive, but not ugly, come to Denmark, have a look.
    2) Yes that is ironic.
    3) Government run works for us, it might not for you, good luck with the private version it works in many Western European countries so why not in the US.
    4) You do not have to be working in Denmark to receive free (or tax funded) health care, that's what universal means... of course if you're not working it basically is free health care. Btw, unemployment is around 4 percent, up from 2.
    5) Day care is from 6 months guaranteed, but often women will stay home longer for the sake of the child. It is not free but it is subsidized. Second, with a 37 hour work week, the family has quite a lot of time together, so no, the government as you puts it does not take the role of the family. Furthermore it is not the "government" it is day care professionals, lovely people who are warm hearted and good at what they do.
    6) Yes it is worth it, and you would have to have a really high salary to be paying 65%, but yes it is the highest tax rate in OECD. It will go down next year as part of a stimulus deal/reform.
    7) The happiness indexes do not measure happiness, what is that anyway, they measure satisfaction and in those the danes come out on top, slightly ahead of other countries, the US really isn't that far down the list and probably state by state some US states would come out ahead.
    And it is not a socialist government, it is a highly capitalist government with low tax rates, facilitated business environment. The government takes care of people so businesses won't have to. They pick people up when they're fired, pay the medical bills so employer insurance is not needed (although many do get it for the employees to get faster treatment of non lethal illnesses) and make sure that young people have access to education at the level suitable to their intellect, not their wallet, since education is the one thing we have going for us.
    8. Denmark is not spiritual, again, the measure is satisfaction, and while many Danes are atheists, lots are agnostic and or christian. They don't go to church since well, Martin Luther made it clear you don't need a man between yourself and God, and politicians do not have to showcase their religion at all times, you might even say they should not, ever.
    But it is great that you love your country as I do mine, just don't demean another country to feel good about your own. My country has it's issues as I'm sure yours does as well, but maybe we can learn from each other. Denmark has been looking to the US for decades with admiration. We've joined you in your wars and have lost a lot of good men in Afghanistan and Iraq and to me that is OK, that is what allies do. They don't start demeaning each other for doing things differently.

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  2. Joakim,
    I think if you read this again you will see that Melissa did not once "demean" your country. Here in the United States we have something called the United States Constitution. The first Amendment to the Constitution goes something like this
    "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

    So, Joakim, Melissa is just exercising her rights to have and express her opinion of the direction OUR country is going. You see, as citizens and taxpayers of this great country we, according to the afore mentioned United States Constitution, have a say in where our tax dollars go and what doctor we can see and whether or not we choose to seek treatment for our terminal illness and so on.
    Now, you sound quite happy; excuse me, "satisfied" with your Government Structure in Denmark. So, if Wanted to get on your blog and compare your government with ours or another countries to say that you don't want yours government to adopt a system similar to ours because you don't think it upholds the values and ideals that were the foundation of your great country than I think that would be appropriate in non-offensive.
    Especially if your blog post indicated, not a grievance against our country, but a distaste for the wealthiest, most famous and one of the most influential talk show host in your country using her influence to achieve her political agenda, and not to promote her book club.
    Joakim, it’s like you said in your rebuttal towards Melissa’s point
    1."....Come to America and have a look"

    Come have a look from the perspective of a Woman who is married to a man who serves this great country in the United States Military, Who is the daughter of a man and woman have run their own business for 40 years,
    a woman soon to be the mother of children who will grow up in this country, OUR country.
    Then read this post and I bet you will not longer see any "bashing" of Denmark.
    You will only see an intelligent woman posting her thoughts about, as I mentioned above, the irony of a powerful very wealthy woman who claims to be quite the centrist who is using her position to achieve her very left-sided political agenda.

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  3. P.S. Oprah has at least 7 mansions and her salary last year was two hundred and seventy-five million.
    That is more than five-thousand two-hundred and eighty-eight times the U.S average median Income of $52,247.
    Also, I wonder if Oprah knows that the breast cancer survivors that she celebrates on her show would likely be at least 10% less in number if you average the survival rates of other countries with similar healthcare programs as the one she is promoting.
    This percentage may be less than some of the dramatic percentage changes in cancer survival rates you have heard in socialized vs. privatized healthcare. However let's suppose our survival rates do decrease by only 10%
    That would mean that 19,399 MORE of the women that were diagnosed with breast cancer, in this year alone, would die in the next five years.

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  4. Yes the post is mainly about criticizing Oprah, which is fair and probably much needed, and yes it is an intelligent post which asks some relevant questions, but here's the demeaning part:
    We do NOT have a socialist/communist government or society, we do NOT leave our children squarely in the hands of the governnment for indoctrination, as a father of two small children I find that statement offensive.
    To hear our country demeaned as socialist which is how I understand the statements under 5 and 7 is degrading when we've been squarely on the side of NATO/US for 60 years against the commies. Our system is a capitalist system with a different take on what the government is supposed to provide for for whatever reason.
    Just because there is a lack of faith in the government in your country (it may be justified I don't know, it's not my government), it does not mean that government involvement in a citizen's life is socialism. For anyone remembering the Cold War and the fear of the East which I at least grew up with, being called a socialist provokes a reaction.

    Yes your constitution is a wonderful document, and the first amendment especially so, but it is not unique except in being oldest. The freedom of speech in Denmark is unrestricted as the Mohammad Cartoon crisis was an example of whatever you may think of the cartoons themselves. I don't question the OP's right to say as she does, but hey, calling me a socialist/communist will make me excersize mine.

    I have every respect for the OP's husband's service and am full of admiration for the US Armed Forces. I am also a soldier although in the army, not the air force. While it goes to show the love of country I can relate to it does not make the statement about our system more or less true.
    As I said in the post, I have no wish for my way of life to be yours, it works for me, maybe not for you, I'm also quite sure the opposite is true.
    I understand and appreciate the desire to speak out against a show like Oprah's advertising a political agenda by showcasing a country like a fairy tale which it is not, and claiming XXX makes us more happy, when she does not know that, and when other countries with similar systems rank somewhat lower in those surveys. That is propaganda, unfortunately of a sort quite common these days.
    But please, while I understand that at the moment everyone and their uncle can be called a socialist or a nazi (not by you), don't say that it is not demeaning.

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  5. PS: Good point about the breast cancer. I saw Glenn Beck's comment on prostate cancer, looked it up and was horrified to see that he was right. It's not about treatment but detection. There is a tendency in your country to diagnose prostate and breast cancer much earlier making survival much more likely. Is there a system of yearly check-ups, or how often do you get checked?
    While cancer survival rates at least in Denmark have been going up the last 10 years they are not at all high enough. What that stems from is the question however, since for some reason one third of women age 50-69, who are offered a mammography every other year in Denmark refuse it. Personally I don't nearly enough about the way these cancers are treated and diagnosed to say why we die from them and you don't, but I sure do want to find out.

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  6. Joakim,

    From your response I gathered that you were upset because you felt I had bashed the way your country does things and therein was bashing your country. In your latest response, it seems you were offended because I had called your country socialistic. I admit I was surprised by this - that you don't see socialistic tendencies in your country, but the ladies in the interview did not call the policies of Denmark socialistic either. Socialism advocates the "governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods." It is also "distinguished by unequal distribution of goods and pay according to work done."

    Socialism has the attitude that the plans and goals of the State is above the liberty of the individual. One of our former Presidents who shared a Socialistic attitude said, "We must demand that the individual shall be willing to lose the sense of personal achievement and shall be content to realize his activity only in connection to the activity of the many."

    Your insane tax rates, government run health care, and subsidized child care are contrary to my values and beliefs for America and go against a capitalistic society in that I don't want to pay high taxes for someone else's healthcare. That is where I see the correlation to the definition of socialism as the "unequal distribution of goods according to work done."

    But I am not going to argue with you, my argument is not against you or any other Dane. If you are satisfied with your government, than I wish you all the best. My argument is with my country and those who seek to change the principals on which America was built. Our forefathers believed in small government because they knew that government would always seek to grow and grow. They warned us to discourage it, restrain it, and to be vigilant lest it consume us.

    I assure you I will not mention Denmark on this blog anymore in my political posts and you will not have to worry about defending your government from my claim that it is Socialistic. But from the little I've read on the internet about Denmark it seems you have your work cut out for you.

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  7. Hey Mel, thank you for that reply,
    Saying that increased government involvement in some sectors, care (health, children and elderly) and education, really gives socialism too much benefit, making it a viable form of government in many European countries, which the Eastern Bloc experiment showed it was not (They were only in name communists). That may be why so many Americans when polled currently think it is a realistic alternative.
    Socialism is not government control of some sectors, it is control of all sectors, down to owning your house. Most of our economy is private and market based. We've had very beneficial conditions for private hospitals as well for a while, to give them a chance to grow. They bring competition to the public system which is good, if the public system can't deliver fast enough, the patients can go to the private sector paid for by the government. Competition is good.
    As for child care, if I wanted to take care of my own children, that subsidy would go to me. My children are not in some huge institution for indoctrination, the little one spends her day playing with 7 other kids her age and 3 adults. The older one with 19 other kids, still playing all day between 8am and 4 pm. The child care policies were not formed to increase government, but because women in the 60s and 70s demanded equal opportunity to a career.
    While capitalism puts the liberty of the individual very high, it still limits it in one way or the other, that is why there are laws. The true placement of the individual above society would be anarchy.
    Capitalism is a strong form of government in that it is flexible.
    And yes, compared to your way ours has a very large government involvement, most other developed nations do, but I think there are at least a few reasons we entrust it with more responsibility.
    For us government is not some distant annoyance in far away Washington, the country is too small. We don't have the disconnect between our politicians and the people, a 25% congress approval rating would be a catastrophe here. Personally I think that we are helped by not having a 2 party system, since the feeling I get from a lot of news shows (fox and msnbc both) is people want a third party. (and a fourth)
    A lot of people can't feel very well represented in your congress, since up to 49% of each district does not have a representative, and many will have to vote for a candidate who only represents a small part of their beliefs, because there are only 2 in the final election. A system, where democrats get around what 52% of the public vote, but 60 senators, does not make sense to me, but that is of course in your constitution. It also seems to me that when so few people (often just 1 or 2 senators end up deciding yes or no) are controlling so large sums of money the system gets primed for corruption or suspicions of it. (for comparison Transparency international lists Denmark Sweden and New Zealand as least corrupt, the US is no. 18).
    I saw on your blog that you or your husband went to Washington on 9-12. I suppose that is because you also feel you are not being listened to? The tea-party movement is often dismissed as astro-turfing, which is obviously not the case.
    We don't have that as much, since you only need 2% of the vote to be represented in parliament, which I am sure libertarians or greens for that matter would be able to get.
    Those are some of the reasons we have more faith in government, others will probably present others.
    I understand if you are really not terribly interested in a small country like Denmark. I am only trying to convey, that the socialism tag is not fair on a country that ranks as one of the best countries to do business in according to Forbes, or one of the most competitive by WEF (just after the US and Singapore). You value personal freedom and small government, that is understandable, most Americans I meet do, so why the need of the socialism tag?
    /rant off sorry it got so long...

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  8. PS if you want me to stop replying all the time just let me know...
    PPS I really am interested in the doctors check-up frequency, but if you feel it is totally inappropriate, I understand...
    (2 posts due to length, shame on me for writing so much blather)

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