Sure, Gribbit has never chosen his battles, his words, his positions or his sources wisely. But he’s now sunk to making occasional posts in his one-wingnut echo chamber accusing a peripubescent Canadian teenage pop star with strange hair of talking out of his ass when it comes to the U.S. healthcare system.
Granted, when searching for informed opinions about complex socio-political issues, the cognoscenti generally don’t rush to give the words of people like Justin Bieber, or any 16-year-old (okay, 17 now) a lot of weight. But for better or for worse, people like to know what celebrities think about issues they perhaps do not, in fact, think about much, and so when Bieber was asked whether he wants to someday become a U.S. citizen, he opined:
“You guys are evil. Canada’s the best country in the world. We go to the doctor and we don’t need to worry about paying him, but here, your whole life, you’re broke because of medical bills. My bodyguard’s baby was premature, and now he has to pay for it. In Canada, if your baby’s premature, he stays in the hospital as long as he needs to, and then you go home.”
This doesn’t quite mesh with Gribbit’s report that Bieber “decided that he has some sort of input into the affairs of the United States,” as it’s generally considered fair to express a simple opinion about something without an accompanying desire to uproot it, but then Gribbit has always presented himself as something of a fascist. But Gribbit’s sole concern here isn’t Bieber, but a baby from Canada with a terminal illness who has gotten a lot of attention thanks to his unfortunately soon-to-be-over life becoming another tug-of-war between right-to-life types and doctors, or in this case the respective healthcare systems of the U.S. and Canada.
Compare this CNN story about Joseph Malaachli and his family to Gribbit’s speculation-laced gripe focusing on Canada’s “communist” ways and ignoring the sad but simple fact that this baby is going to die and that keeping him alive via mechanical means is merely prolonging the inevitable, a la Terri Schiavo. (Remember that name.)
Now, Gribbit seems to think his stance has been vindicated, because–fancy this–an anti-euthanasia, anti-abortion religious organization from the U.S. agreed to pay for all of this child’s medical expenses so that he could be transferred to a St. Louis hospital and die at home in the care of his parents after a tracheostomy that would prolong his life, if not its quality. Gribbit is obviously confused or in denial, as he seems to think that the baby is receiving treatment in the potentially curative sense.
In some ways this is a tough call. I can understand the parents’ anguish and wants here. But to frame this in terms of competing healthcare models rather than focus on the medical and ethical realities is asinine, and a column in the St. Louis Dispatch by a former G.W. Bush speechwriter and “traditional marriage” drone embodies this perfectly. It’s not about healthcare to people like this. It’s about a dogmatic belief rooted in broader religious convictions and nothing more.
Indeed, Canada’s system is different from the Unites States’ in that the courts can and do function essentially as medical decision-makers in cases like this one. But really, it wasn’t the government’s refusal to pay for a necessary procedure that’s at issue here. It’s the baby’s doctors having made a difficult but eminently justifiable decision based on the baby’s health and chances of truly living on. And if people like this guy get to be front in center in situations like this one, it demonstrates nothing other than the fact that lives can be prolonged in utter futility as long as someone with questionable motives is willing to pay for it.
One last wonderful tidbit from Gribbit, the king of all irony-meter-slayers:
Justin should stick to what he knows.
On second thought, Justin oughta just shut the hell up because he doesn’t know anything.