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Alex Villa
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Cognitive Dissonances of International Wellfare

December 26, 2020

A Bird in Berlin's Tiergarten

My richest learning as an immigrant so far has been opening up to valuing quality of life and peace of mind from a baseline of common wellness and certain restraint. All countries are flawed, Germany is no paradise, but I surely like and appreciate the community-oriented shared values. I won't say it is better, but caring for contributing to making life more bearable for others who don't have the same privileges aligns better with my heart than the principle of personal wealth accumulation that comes from a self-made-man myth that is more common in North American countries.

It makes sense that even the CDU (the christian German right-wing party) may come across as a communist party for some right-wing people in North America.

Personal wealth and unbalanced economical power are not as highly regarded for people in all countries of the western world. Yeah, extreme nationalism, racism and xenophobia are existing problems, and subjects for another time.

There is plenty of cognitive dissonance on my head because of this. First of all, I still work (as a contractor) for an American company, earning American money thanks to American values (even if the company is highly ethical, I'm talking about the big picture of my circumstances).

Yet, my biggest cognitive dissonance is becoming a piece of a puzzle in a system that favors sharing wealth with a society where every single person has the same right to health care and baseline human rights regardless of their wealth. I am at peace by distributing a big percentage of my earnings on this. This is not the problem.

Even my best friend, an extremely left-wing, atheist German, chooses to pay Church taxes in order to help the church because he knows they actually invest that money back in helping others, instead of in accumulating the income on their personal wealth.

The existential dread enters when I correlate this with my ties to Mexico. My sister and I made it out to have decent steady, higher middle class income (we both were the first generation in our family to reach access to public University education). We still need to work for companies to make a living, but our relationship with personal wellness is deeply different to the reality of our parents.

My parents are still trapped in the lower end of the class spectrum. No matter how much my sister and I try to care for them and put money on their health care: it's still not enough to make up for the systemic disadvantages they live.

We can’t buy them apartments or retire them steadily. I am an immigrant leaving a comfy middle-class in Europe, but my disposable income is not there.

Additionally, both of our parents have their own ties to yearning for their personal financial independence, tied with a lousy public health care.

This health care system lacks any culture of prevention in medicine (because of a lack of resources). This is a public health care that owns the hospital where I was born and my mother got sick, the hospital where I saw my Godmother die in front of my eyes in an accidentally unplugged machine with no one around her noticing. She wasn’t the first close relative I saw dying cruelly in a public hospital with few resources.

It make sense that during a pandemic, my anxiety levels about the safety of my family are peaking.

My cognitive dissonance goes beyond my family fears.

I’m reading Twitter threads where the only two ideological paths that Mexico has created are fighting on an endless void:

The populist “left center”, a crew of supporters of the Mexican president, AMLO, defend the fact that the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines is not in the hands of private market, while the resistance to the president’s populism, a resistance that identifies itself as “right-wing” and believe themselves to have access to financial freedom, fight for the ideal of the vaccine being available for buying at stores for people who can afford it, because everybody should have the resources to afford it, and those who don’t, deserve it for having supported the wrong parties.

While I strongly believe that the Mexican left is supporting a false mesias whose objectives are more related to power than to common-well and don’t come from a truly intellectually informed place, this time, I agree with them.

This Quora question from an American yearning to live in Europe, with the highest voted answer being for a Mexican-American woman who couldn’t stand the fact that she wasn’t able to amass a significantly higher amount of personal wealth made Europe a sad place to live, also shed a lot of light on the capitalistic ideals that have consumed North America:

Access to health care, to welfare and common basic rights is more important than wealth accumulation.

The pictures of the first public COVID-19 vaccines coming from Mexico and Germany being published in the same day do shed a lot of light on my heart.

May the access to the vaccines be as fair, seamless and disconnected from capitalist intervention as possible around the world.

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