Monday, December 10, 2012

threadbare patriotism?

Hugo Chavez, the president of oil-rich Venezuela, is headed for Cuba and an operation on the cancer that he has.

Hugo Chavez
Nor is he alone as a powerful and well-heeled man whose illness is addressed in some foreign land. There are plenty of other examples that I am too lazy to look up ... off to Cuba, off to the United States, off to the UK, off to Austria ... for medical treatment.

And yet such well-heeled and powerful men and women, when given the podium, may be the first to extol the fact that their country is the best, the most enlightened, and the best-ruled (they are frequently the rulers) in the world.

How can a country as rich as Venezuela count itself as the firstest-with-the-patriotic-mostest when it has made inadequate provision for first-class hospitals? In the patriotic story line, how does this compute?

I don't suppose this is the most stunning bit of governmental hypocrisy available, but it made me wonder if it weren't one useful yardstick ... if a rich country's poo-bahs go abroad for first-class medical treatment, aren't we looking at a second-rate governance?

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