In “Reverse Lightning” the destitute character Piano washes up on Mexican shores.
He is surprised to find himself recovering in a hospital. On the streets of his hometown, he’d have been left for dead.
When he recovers and goes back to Jeffersonia, he has a startling message, delivered to his fellow down-and-outers.
It is possible, he informs them, to have a society in which people take care of one another.
Like many Americans, I watched in dismay as other nations, many less wealthy than we are, developed systems that delivered health care for all. And eliminated the cruel absurdity of medical bankruptcies.
Over the years, American public opinion has gradually shifted in favor of some form of universal health care. Here’s a link to a good set of graphics from the Kaiser Family Foundation.
But the back pressure comes from a variety of lobbying groups, and they spend a lot of money propping up our current system.
This kind of thing I saw as the fatal flaw in America’s success. The status quo is so wealthy, so powerful, that it will stunt the changes every society needs to make as it evolves.
“Reverse Lightning” imagines that America’s biggest mistake was clinging to fossil fuels as other nations developed green energy resources.