Long-time Allentown, PA area radio personality Carl Baker died this past weekend.  Carl was my friend and co-worker at stations Q-100 and WEEX in the 1980’s and ’90’s.  We also appeared on locally televised professional wrestling shows together.  I was hoping to be able to travel back East this summer (I currently live on the Oregon coast) and visit with him.  That will not happen.

Carl is dead because he had the misfortune to be an American.  Allow me to explain.

Carl was a diabetic.  Because of his health concerns, he didn’t work much in recent years.  As a result, his income was low.  This past winter, I got an email from him in which he told me that, because his heating bills were so high, he would have to forgo buying insulin that month. 

If he lived in any other industrialized nation on Earth, he wouldn’t have had to make that terrible choice.  In any other country, he would have been a member of a national health system which would have made the medicine he desperately needed available to him, regardless of his income level.

On a personal level, I have become disgusted with politicians who talk endlessly about how “compassionate” and “caring” America is while they work behind the scenes to deny American citizens like my friend Carl vital medicines and access to medical professionals because a national health care system would conflict with the interests of the wealthy corporations that fund their election campaigns.

Any politician who won’t support a national health care system should be run out of public office, especially if he accepts money from the pharmaceutical or medical industries, in my opinion.  Carl Baker was just one of the thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Americans who die before their time each year, thanks to the bottomless greed of our immoral politicians. 

I will miss the discussions Carl and I had several times a week via email about current events in the Lehigh Valley and nationally.  I will miss his funny rants about the injustices he perceived in society.  My friend was taken away because rich, powerful, greedy people lie when they tell us how much they care about us.  They don’t.  They care about themselves first, foremost and only.  This MUST change.

I miss my friend.

I shouldn’t have to.