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Thread: Improve Domestic Affairs?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Improve Domestic Affairs?

    While doing some remodeling I had the opportunity to think a lot about Domestic Affairs of the United States. What sparked the idea was the instant sense of comfort and community that I was able to experience as I started meeting some of my soon to be new neighbors in the elevator and the lobby. They were people from all over the place and a wide range of demographics, and the only thing that everyone had it common was the place that we lived. Yet it was enough to create a tremendous comfort.

    WITHOUT mentioning anything foreign including wars and what not, what can be done to improve things for Americans in America? What can be done so people can come together in pride because they share the location of residency? What can we as planners do to encourage this with development in our own municipalities?
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

  2. #2
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Universal Health Coverage.............

    I know that some people will groan about this subject but even if you don't agree with it there are some reasons why you might.

    For the last two years I have had no health insurance for the first time in my life. I pray everyday that I do not fall seriously ill, that the health issues I do have do not deteriorate any further, and that I do not meet with an accident. Two years ago I returned to school to finish my degree. The university I attended did not provide health insurance or health care beyond a nurse that would give OTC meds and a referral to a doctor.

    I worked two part time jobs. One employer did not carry health insurance and the county I work for does not provide insurance for interns. Private health insurance....if I were completely healthy, had never been admitted to a hospital or had surgery, and a size 6 it would cost me approximately $250 a month. But...no such luck....denied denied denied on the basis of BMI and asthma. Medicaid? Only for very very low income adults making under $750 a month, however my daughter qualifies for Medicaid coverage because she is a minor and does not have other health insurance.

    My current health care and medicine are provided by a sliding fee clinic that is open two days a week. Try schedule getting sick on two days a week. I fell ill over a weekend and the urgent care clinic plus medicine cost $225. Last year I needed stitched in my finger and it cost $900 for the ER bill and another $50 to get the stitches out.

    Why should every American care about insurance? Because you either have it or you don't. If you have it you are paying for those who don't through increased premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and taxes....yes taxes. The county I work for allocated $1 million for indigent services at the lone hospital in the county which has a population of 62K. I'm quite certain that this is the case in many places across the country. Add in all the lost time due to not being able receive care for chronic conditions that cannot be adequately monitored or unexpected illness and injury.

    Many speak out against the ills of socialized medicine and long waits, inferior treatment, etc. But from an uninsured persons standpoint it is better than nothing.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I think what happened to you is that you had an opportunity to meet your neighbors face to face. In a walkable community that is common. In a community based on driving, little more than nodding over the fence occurs on many occassions. People in those communities go about their day to day activities without the constant opportunities to interact with the other members of the community. These interactions build what Robert Putnam (see his "Making Democracy Work") calls "social capital" and a network of social connections builds a sense of community.

    When I lived in Washington DC and in Arlington, VA I lived in highly walkable neighborhoods. I knew my neighbors, I knew the merchants, and we all looked out for each other and cooperated with each other. Example: I was doing my laundry at the local launrdomat. It was getting late and the owner wanted to leave, but my stuff wasn't done. She gave me the keys to the place, and told me to lock up when I was done, and to hide the keys in certain place. That's the kind of thing that happens when you have frequent interactions. Unfortunately, today most people interact most frequently with people away from where they live, such as at work.

    So planners can help the building of socail capital occur by encouraging the creation of communities that foster these social interactions.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    What can we as planners do to encourage this with development in our own municipalities?
    The minute we do this, the righties and libertarianistas start calling us Social Engineers.

    But to answer your question, it's not an issue to be solely dropped on the shoulders of planners. To me, we need to bring more civility into our society. This is a responsibility of every single citizen, and it's easier to achieve for some classes in our society than others. With that said, in order to achieve a greater sense of civility, our country must adopt policies and sensibile appropriations that foster ideas of civility and create a more equitable & just society.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    But to answer your question, it's not an issue to be solely dropped on the shoulders of planners. To me, we need to bring more civility into our society. This is a responsibility of every single citizen, and it's easier to achieve for some classes in our society than others. With that said, in order to achieve a greater sense of civility, our country must adopt policies and sensibile appropriations that foster ideas of civility and create a more equitable & just society.
    I agree with you. But I am curious where you think this should start and how you think it should be implemented. Do we wait until there are policies to foster more civility and a more equitable and just society? Or should we as individuals act in a civil fashion as the means to promote this ideal?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Michele Zone
    Do we wait until there are policies to foster more civility and a more equitable and just society? Or should we as individuals act in a civil fashion as the means to promote this ideal?
    We do both.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Doing something to get people to get off their couches and out of the house and engaged in a neighborhood. It is amazing, even to me, how much people don't interact with each other. I am only 32, but as a kid every minute of my free time was spent outside running around, playing with other kids, getting into mischief, swimming, going to the neighborhood park, riding bikes etc. I have to beg my daughter to go outside and play, this summer seems to be a bit better because there are other kids at home during the day.

    I lived in a very walkable neighborhood in Oregon and there were always people walking in the evening and catching up with neighbors. Also where I lived it was near what I guess would be a lifestyle center....cluster of restaurants near a movie theater, etc all laid out on a plaza design and we would always see people we knew there eating, having a coffee, or going to a movie.

    Where I live now is so addicted to designing around cars it is pitiful. I think I live in the only subdivision with continuous sidewalks. We have a new shopping center that you can park the car and hit the restaurants, coffeeshop, bookstores and boutiques. Now they have started offering live music on Fri/Sat nights so we go there alot and meet up with people we know.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Quote Originally posted by kjelsadek
    Many speak out against the ills of socialized medicine and long waits, inferior treatment, etc. But from an uninsured persons standpoint it is better than nothing.
    You are uninsured because of socialized medicine. The USA has had universal health care since the HMO act in 1973. The result has been a stratospheric rise in bureaucracy and corresponding rise in insurance costs. You're unhappy because it's not socialized the way you would like it to be, but all collectivist systems are like that. I guarantee you the reforms you want will not happen the way you want them to and you will not be more happy in the future.

    If a rogue physician who refuses to accept insurance can offer medical care to the rural poor for 35$ a visit, the problem isn't the absence of socialized medicine.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    We do both.
    I asked because of your comments earlier today in this thread. In my experience, social pressure can be a constructive means to reign in the bad behavior of an individual but, more often than not, the social environment merely throws gasoline on the fire. I'm not happy with the situation with jaws. I think he has acted as a trouble maker in many ways. But the fact that people are ganging up on him like school kids picking on the new kid in school or picking on the geek or some other class of "outsider" strikes me as an extremely uncivilized manner in which to address the problem.

    My experience is that most people would like other folks to be civil to them when they are feeling misunderstood or like "an outsider" in some way or otherwise having friction with a group, but they very often don't feel any compulsion to extend such curtesy to someone else and are highly inclined to simply blame the individual who is at the center of controversy and feel they "deserve" to be treated that way. To me, this is a "lord of the flies" culture and I generally want no part of it. Although Cyburbia has improved in the time I have been here, it still tolerates and even actively encourages just such behavior. I continue to be on the receiving end of it fairly often. I am in many ways "an outsider" and the details of my life mean that I am likely to remain "an outsider" in the eyes of most groups that I join. As Maister once noted, I seem to be the exception in every poll posted.

    So I am wondering where this utopian ideal begins if people who wish to promote it as a value cannot act upon it in day to day life. Jaws has one thing right:
    "If the small, the annoying, the disruptive problems never find a solution, the solutions to cataclysmic problems will not come more easily."

    In my life, wrestling with kids who have multiple handicaps and wrestling with my own personal burdens as well, I find that the small, consistent actions are generally a far better solution than the Heroic actions which Americans generally prefer to focus upon.

    My apologies for singling you out. You are certainly not The Reason that this forum tolerates ganging up on people. And you have often been kind and supportive to me personally when others have ganged up on me. So you are one of the reasons I have repeatedly chosen to stay and give the forums another chance. Perhaps I hope that you are, thus, more equipped than most to see that the actions of one individual do matter and can make a difference, for good or for ill.

    Peace.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    I think that there are several good points listed here and I want to thank people for their ideas and thoughts on this confusing topic.

    The more that I think about this topic, the more I realize that we can not look at this in a bubble and need to think of this on a global scale and take in consideration the influence of foreign factors such as the global economy and the inherent lack of understanding and knowledge about how people live in various parts of other counties.

    Personally, I don’t have the answer. But I think that we could look at this at different scales to see why people have pride in the neighborhoods or communities that they live in, the colleges and universities that they attend, and in the states that they reside in. I do however think that part of the problem is globalization in that many things that were strictly “American” are now as common as McDonalds in Russa or Wal-Mart in Japan.
    "A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong, gives it a superficial appearance of being right, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. Time makes more converts than reason." - Thomas Paine Common Sense.

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