The Nuclear Option

“For God, for Family, for Country.” – Summa Theologiae, St. Thomas Aquinas

In 1945, scientists detonated the first nuclear bomb 100 feet over the New Mexico desert. Civilization entered the Atomic Age. More nuclear destruction was on the horizon. The dissolution of the nuclear family was nearly complete by the end of the century.

Post-WWII affluence and the rapid expansion of the industrial economy, increasing intrusion by government, changes in tax and finance laws, public school oversight displacing parental responsibility and mandatory childhood vaccinations meant that mothers entered the workforce in numbers never seen before. Working moms became the norm. No entity benefitted more than the Federal coffers. Double the workers meant double the taxpayers. Consumerism did the rest. Every household needed higher income to acquire luxuries now deemed necessities. (Try to find a two-car garage in pre-war homes that isn’t a converted carriage house.)

Birth of an industry. No one was home during the day and that changed everything. For all of human history, it was common that three or more generations would live under the same family roof. Human longevity fit nicely with that pattern. As new family generations arrived, the older generation was on the wane and was commonly cared for in the family home until shuffling off this mortal coil.

The current Covid / nursing home disaster can be traced directly to Social Security. With the Social Security Act of 1935, the federal government took tinkering with the nuclear family to a new level. Provisions were made to “relieve” Americans of caring for elderly family members. Uncle Sam would subsidize private institutions for longterm care of old folks. It didn’t help that the Great Depression was splitting families apart, too. Private companies were assured a designated clientele that could pay with government checks.

The bigger change came with amendments to the Social Security Act in 1950. Government checks previously sent to old folks could be sent directly to private care facilities, bypassing the taxpayer. What could possibly go wrong with that? Nursing homes grew from less than 6000 nationwide to almost 18,000 by 2017.

In it for the money. Caring for a family member could arguably be seen as the most natural, holistic act a human can perform. Historically, regardless of financial or social circumstance it was what families did. Elderly had a real function in a family for an extended period of time, even as they aged. Then younger family members cared for the older ones in the crepuscular years.

Today, in the panic over a viral infection, elderly who have been removed from family homes and placed into for-profit institutions are in far greater peril. Whether by gain-of-function design, by a genetic mutation or by the dynamics of confined living quarters — whatever the cause — anyone in a nursing home is at elevated risk. They also become elevated profits for those companies. When a virus-positive resident is in a nursing home, the government check to that nursing home is up to four times greater than for a non-Covid patient. (1)

With 70 percent of U.S. nursing homes for-profit, the reader can decide if bigger checks create incentive. (2) When news reports clearly indicate that thousands of elderly were kept in or returned to confinement in nursing home facilities even though it was known early on that they would be placed at higher risk, the profit motive cannot be overlooked.

I know for a fact that nursing home caregivers with whom I have spoken are emotionally stricken by the events of the past year. The information that has come to me is that the corporate owners make the final decisions. The web of evidence is far-reaching. The money trail is documented. (3) And it has been for a long, long time. This is not news.

Rebel, Rebel. Thomas Aquinas was a rebel. He railed against much of the common thought of the day. His family chastised and even imprisoned him when he displayed extraordinary thought. Ironically, in his landmark work, Summa, he venerated the value of family and the allegiance we as humans must cultivate. He argued it was only natural; holistic if you will. “God, family and country,” he said. How many in 21st century America fully value any of the three? Yet, just the slightest pivot toward a return to the nuclear family would provide an option to nursing home disasters.

As of this writing, 174,000 U.S. nursing home residents or staff have died associated with the virus. Imagine how many fewer would have died had government officials not mandated policies that endangered them. Imagine how many fewer would have died had we kept family as family and institutions had not been streamlined for profit. We know names and faces of the culpable, both in the public forum and in the mirror.

Be well.

Heartland Healing is a metaphysically based polemic describing alternatives to conventional methods of healing the body, mind and planet. It is provided as information and entertainment, certainly not medical advice. Important to remember and pass on to others: for a weekly dose of Heartland Healing, visit HeartlandHealing.com.

2021.03.23

1) https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-05-03/coronavirus-nursing-homes-financial-profits 

2) https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/nursing-home-care.htm

3) https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/may/26/andrew-cuomo-nursing-home-execs-immunity 

4) https://www.aarp.org/ppi/issues/caregiving/info-2020/nursing-home-covid-dashboard.html


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